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Salisbury City 2, Billericay Town 0
BILLERICAY put in a gutsy but ultimately fruitless performance in the west country today as they lost 2-0 at Conference South leaders Salisbury City.
It was always a tough assignment against a side unbeaten at home in all competitions this season, and soft goals in either half from Ryan Brett and Jamie White sealed the win for the hosts.
Town were first to threaten on two minutes but home keeper Willem Puddy was given an easy gather by Chris Wild's downward header from Dave Collis' cross when perhaps the centre back should have done better.
In fact, Billericay had the best of the opening stages so it was harsh when they fell behind in the 20th minute when Robert Sinclair was given space to run at the heart of the defence.
He was eventually stopped just inside the box but the ball fell kindly for Ryan Brett and he guided the ball past the exposed Sam Beasant and inside the post with his right instep.
Town responded well and Alex Osborn should have gone closer when his shot was deflected wide from Jay May's through ball. Osborn then saw a shot from close range blocked from the resulting corner.
Wild was booked on 30 minutes for a foul on Daniel Fitchett right on the edge of the box, and Jamie White curled the resulting free-kick just past the post.
And tempers flared soon after as home keeper Puddy and May went in the book for an angry clash from a corner.
Osborn went down in the box under a challenge from James Clark in the 37th minute, but Billericay claims for a penalty were turned down.
The hosts took a commanding 2-0 lead six minutes after the restart when Callum Hart threw a deep free-kick into the box which the Town defence failed to deal with, and White gobbled up the gift six yards from goal.
And when sub Theo Lewis drew a good low stop from Beasant minutes later it looked like being a long second half for Town.
Billericay had a chance to set-up a grandstand finish with 20 minutes to go when Puddy could only parry Swaine's downward header from Poole's corner.
Substitute Junior Luke followed up with a shot from close range and claimed it had cross the line, but the ref ruled Puddy had kept it out.
They went even closer five minutes from the end when Puddy dropped sub and debutant Timi Osibodu's cross, but Poole's follow-up shot was headed off the line by home captain Brain Dutton.
And when Poole had a low drive deflected wide in injury-time, Town had to concede the game was up.
Billericay (4-4-2): Beasant; Collis, Wild, Swaine, Douglas; Benjamin, Poole, Semakula, Lechmere; May, Osborn.