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Football: Harlow go out of Essex Senior Cup

Football / Thu 13th Nov 2014 at 08:50am

By Mark Wallis

Harlow Town 2 v 3 Billericay

A stoppage time winner from Afolabi Obafemi saw Billericay become the first side to reach the Quarter-Finals of the Essex Senior Cup following an enthralling 3-2 victory over Ryman North leaders Harlow Town at the Harlow Arena.

Ex-Dagenham & Redbridge forward Obafemi’s second goal of the evening snatched the tie at the death for Premier Division Billericay but it was, perhaps, a little harsh on Harlow who had dominated much of the final minutes only to rue their squandered opportunities.

Unbeaten in the league, Harlow enjoyed a fine win at Sky Bet Football League Two club Southend United in Round Three, but have now been narrowly beaten by Ryman Premier opposition in the FA Cup, FA Trophy and the Senior Cup. This last-gasp heartbreak means they’ll have to wait a little longer to add to their solitary County Cup success of 1979, but they can now remain fully focussed on promotion following their play-off final defeat last spring.

In the shape of forward Alex Read they certainly have the catalyst to do so. Read broke Harlow’s goalscoring records with 52 in all competitions last season and notched both his side’s strikes in this game to take his tally to 27 already for the current campaign.

This entertaining game saw Billericay break the deadlock on 14 minutes as defender Ryan Scott powered home a far post header from Glenn Poole’s exquisite free kick, but Harlow were level within five minutes, hot shot Read turning Junior Appiah’s low cross into the roof of the net from six yards.

Poole twice came close the re-establishing the visitors’ lead with long-range efforts, but Appiah missed the best chance for the hosts before the interval when he fired wide of the far post having been played through on goal.

A frantic start to the second period saw chances fall at each end, though it wasn’t until the 64th-minute that Obafemi’s first of the night restored the away team’s lead. He latched onto a through ball before coolly finishing beyond Harlow goalkeeper Ed Thompson.

Again, Harlow’s response was quick and this time they were back on terms within four minutes. This time substitute Shane Stamp was the provider with an excellent cross which Read again converted from close range. Shortly afterwards Read was cursing for not completing a hat-trick as he missed a good chance to put his side ahead, picking up another Stamp centre and this time only finding the gloves of Billericay’s ‘keeper Billy Lumley.

What followed was intense pressure from the home side. Stopper Lumley made a string of fine saves – one which was particularly impressive to keep out Stamp – and some disappointing finishing meant the game drifted into stoppage time still level. Then Obafemi intervened to twist and turn inside the penalty area before firing into the bottom corner to send 2011 winners Billericay into the last eight.

Harlow Town: Ed Thompson, Robbie Martin, Layne Eadie, Joshua Urquhart, Michael Toner, Fabion Sims (Luke Cuthbert, 67), Jared Small (Shane Stamp, 55), David Cowley, Alex Read, James Smith, Junior Appiah. Unused Substitutes: David Kendall, Ben Glasgow, Billy Jones.

Billericay Town: Billy Lumley, Steve Sheehan, Dylan Casey, Cyrus Mahler (Roman Michael-Percil, 63), Richard Halle, Ryan Scott, Nathan Ferguson (Glenn O’Hanlon, 80), Glenn Poole, Afolabi Obafemi, Jacob Cleaver (Ricky Sappleton, 83), Jack Edwards. Unused Substitutes: Oliver Lee, Louis Godwin-Green.

Bookings: Billericay: Obafemi (60, simulation).

Referee: Thomas Ramsey (Great Waltham).

Assistant Referees: Gary Baker (Aveley) and Tom Fell (London).

Attendance: 169.

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