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Billericay Town boss Craig Edwards proud of side after penalties heartbreak
12:33pm Thursday 5th December 2013 in Sport
CRAIG Edwards said his Billericay side can “all hold their heads up high” after out-playing League One Colchester United – but losing to them on penalties in the county cup.
The U’s side moved into the quarter-finals of the Essex Senior Cup after beating their Ryman Premier visitors in a sudden death shoot out at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday.
Town’s powerful striker Joe Benjamin, who had been impressive throughout, fired wide from the spot to send the hosts through after the tie had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.
Billericay boss Edwards said: “It was a disappointing way to go out and that’s how it’s been for us – I don’t think I’ve won a penalty shootout at Billericay.
“We’re not going to come any closer than we did but that’s the way it is, and I was so pleased with my players.
“We had five good opportunities to score and win the game but it’s gone to penalties.
“We scored the first four and we only had to score the next one to win it.
“It wasn’t a great penalty and the penalty we went out to was awful.
“But the boys were excellent – they worked well and they were organised and disciplined.
“It was disappointing to go out – it was the last cup competition we’re in and we wanted to give it a go. We did that and we were hopeful that we would get through but it wasn’t to be.
“But it’s been a great experience for the boys and it’s a great stadium, so they can all hold their heads up high because they’ve performed very well against a League One club."
A young Colchester side, which featured the likes of Dominic Vose, Mark Cousins and Tosin Olufemi, were pushed all the way by their non-league opponents.
The U’s took a 15th-minute lead when Sammie Szmodics pounded on a loose ball 25 yards out before planting a fine left foot shot past goalkeeper Billy Lumley.
They doubled their advantage eight minutes later through Nnamdi Nwachuku, who turned swiftly in the box to plan a fierce shot inside Lumley’s near post, after the visitors had failed to clear a corner.
Billericay reduced the deficit just after the half hour mark when Benjamin finished smartly from six yards after being picked out by Junior Luke’s short pass.
And they made it 2-2 eight minutes before the break when defender Richard Halle powered a superb header past Cousins.
Billericay looked more likely to score a winner after the restart but the closest they came was when Ricky Sappleton headed against the woodwork from five yards late on.
It went to a shoot-out and both sides missed spot-kicks before Benjamin slotted his penalty wide to send Colchester through to the quarter-finals.
Edwards said: “Joe Benjamin was fantastic for us all night and he’s been great for us all season. He did so well but I’ve never seen a penalty hit like that.
“It’s probably a bit harsh, but you can’t take a penalty like that. You either place it, side foot it, or you put your foot through it – you don’t hit it with the side of your foot.
“It’s obviously not one of his strengths but he’s had a great game for us and he’s scored one of our goals.”