JOHN Sussex admits he ‘couldn’t have asked for more’ from his Basildon United players as they suffered a narrow FA Cup second qualifying round defeat to neighbours Billericay Town.

Jordan Parkes’ second half free-kick proved to be the difference between the two sides at the Steel Team Stadium.

And Sussex, whose side ply their trade two divisions lower than National League South outfit Billericay in the Isthmian North, was proud of the Bees’ efforts.

The Basildon chief said: “We couldn’t have asked for more.

“I knew the players would give 100 per cent effort and they worked extremely hard.

“We had good quality on the ball as well.

“I think that Billericay are a poorer side when they don’t have the ball.

“They are obviously very good when they do have the ball, so it was essential that we tried to keep the ball.

“We did that really well in the first half, but I think we tired a bit after the hour mark and we found it harder to keep the ball.”

While Billericay went into the FA Cup tie as the clear favourites to progress despite a chaotic week at the Steel Team Stadium following a managerial change and Glenn Tamplin stepping down as owner of the club, Basildon impressed and matched their hosts for large spells.

Adam Vyse and Gabby Adelowo went close for Basildon in the first half, while Tom Anderson came within inches of sliding home a Jeffrey Cobblah centre moments after the interval.

And Sussex felt his players deserved plenty of credit for making Billericay work for their place in the third qualifying round.

Sussex added: “We didn’t just sit behind the ball.

“I think we did try to get forward and create chances.

“We wanted to try and win the game, so I have to give plenty of credit to my players.”

And Sussex insists he always felt his side could cause Billericay problems.

The former Witham Town assistant manager admitted: “It was just a set-play that beat us.

“I always felt that we had superiority in the air.

“When we went 1-0 down, I didn’t want to panic and push every forward.

“I just kept believing that if we kept compact and got a set-play, we could score from a set-play.”