Billericay Put Romford Out From The Spot

Valiant Romford suffered penalty heartbreak after a thrilling stalemate against Billericay Town at Ship Lane, as Jack Cronin reports.

The visitors introduced a fast tempo to the opening exchanges, immediately applying pressure in their attacking third, with forward Goldy Capela shooting low into the gloves of the Boro’s Callum Chafer.

Romford’s Ayodeji Olukaga displayed potency in midfield, showing intelligence and great determination to distribute to the wings and create pockets of space.

Town were growing in urgency, pinning Romford back with extended passages of one-touch passing. However, the home-side were well organised and rigid in defence.

Latch

Hard work paid off for Romford when Asher Modeste gambled on a lofted pass, but before the midfielder could latch on to the through ball, goalkeeper Jack Giddens came rushing out and brought down the number 11 to concede a penalty.

Giddens atoned for his error with a fantastic save to deny Jamie Dicks.

The Boro began to flourish and enjoyed quick-fire attacking sequences as the game approached half-time. Jamie Age rifled a low drive only to be blocked by a strong hand from the Billericay number one.

The visitors started brightly after the break and deadlock was broken on the hour mark as Capela connected with a whipped-cross from the left to head home.

Dictating

Romford were worried they might rue missed chances but remained relaxed as playmakers Olukaga and Modeste were still dictating proceedings.

Town appeared galvanised in the later stages, maintaining an organised formation with pace in attack. However, with six minutes of normal time remaining, Romford’s top-scorer Chinedu McKenzie connected sweetly from range to bury the ball deep in the net beyond a helpless Giddens and make it 1-1.

Paul Martin’s side demonstrated gumption throughout, and were a credit to the 150-strong capacity crowd. As the full-time whistle blew, a shootout was on the way with no extra-time in the format.

Romford bowed out of the Essex County Cup, losing 1-3 on penalties but will feel hugely encouraged by a spirited performance.

‘Pleased’

Speaking to the Romford Recorder, Romford manager Paul Martin was pleased with his side’s performance despite the defeat: “I praised them after because they did everything I asked.”

Billericay face Brighlingsea Regent in the next round.