Billericay steal a draw after Frendo wonder goal
Billericay Town earned a replay with St Albans City in the FA Trophy after snatching a 90th minute goal at Clarence Park.
John Frendo looked to have settled the second qualifying round tie with a goal of the season candidate but Glenn Poole scored his second of the game to set up a return leg to Billericay on Tuesday.
City fielded a strong team with Ben Martin and Howard Hall returning from injury but the former was subbed after 10 minutes due to a hamstring injury and the latter taken off in the second-half after a so-so game.
Billericay looked dangerous from the start and took the lead after 10 minutes when Poole converted a penalty won by Joe Benjamin.
Benjamin then tried his luck from distance but only an brilliant Paul Bastock save kept the score at 1-0.
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As comical as City’s defending had been in the opening exchanges, Billericay’s back four was to blame for the equaliser. Chris Watters floated a ball into the box that everyone in a blue shirt left, allowing Mark Nwokeji to steal a yard and steer the ball into the net.
The visitors’ keeper then had to be on form to deny Lee Chappell who got in behind the defence. Soon after City should have led. James Comley’s free-kick saw Frendo, Nwokeji and Richard Graham all have hacked away.
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The second period kept up the breakneck pace of the first, and it wasn’t long before Billericay were back on top. Junior Luke profiting from poor defending to head in a corner.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Frendo linked up with Nwokeji, who touched it out of the keeper’s reach before squeezing a shot past him from a narrow angle.
Good defending from Wharton and James Kaloczi kept Billericay at bay before the best moment of the game. David Keenleyside floated a superb ball for Frendo at the back post. The striker set himself before unleashing an unstoppable volley from 12 yards.
Although, it was it becoming a worrying trend, City sat on their lead and in the end a mistake from Wharton cost them. James Robinson charged down the right and pulled the ball back for Poole who made no mistake from 18 yards.
The goal was followed by a nasty injury to Jeffrey Imudia, Billericay’s right back, to was taken to hospital straight after the game.
With 10 minutes of injury time to play, Saints poured forward as, with only 10 men, Billericay sat back and soaked up pressure but the referee played four minutes and brought the game to a premature end.
The replay will be at Billericay on Tuesday night, 7.45 kick-off.