Billericay victory sets up Stones Play-Off Eliminator

City will face Wealdstone at Twerton Park on Wednesday in the Vanarama National League South Play-Off Eliminator following their 2-0 win over Billericay Town. Two goals in three second half minutes from Robbie Cundy and Tom Smith secured a thoroughly deserved victory for the Romans and in the process ended the home side’s hopes of grabbing the final play-off place. After an even opening to the game City began to gain the upper hand, although the hosts always posed an attacking threat. With a strong wind blowing across the impressive AGP Arena stadium neither side could create any clear cut opening until the closing stages of the half when City twice went close. First a corner dropped to Cundy but his well-struck shot on the turn just cleared the bar. Then a free-kick from James Morton was saved by Smith, Cundy stabbed the recycled ball narrowly wide of the goal. Despite the wind easing somewhat after the break it was a scrappy opening to the second half until City struck on 57 minutes when Cundy rose above the Billericay defence to power home a header from Morton’s corner. And three minutes later another set-piece saw City double their lead, Smith’s 20-yard free-kick beating his namesake, although the shot-stopper will be disappointed not to have kept the effort out. With other results meaning Billericay had slipped out the play-off positions they had to go for it now and the next ten minutes saw them enjoy their best spell of the game. Robinson and Loza both went close before the latter was denied by a smart block from Ryan Clarke. On 71 minutes Billericay looked to have won a penalty when Loza went to ground in the box but the referee’s whistle only signalled a dive and the substitute was booked for his troubles. This seemed to deflate both the home players and supporters and, despite continuing to throw men forward, they rarely troubled City’s league best defence in the game’s final 15 minutes. With Wealdstone coming from behind to beat Hemel Hempstead Town the final whistle signed the end of Billericay’s play-off dream but City can look forward to continuing their promotion adventure when the Stones head West on Wednesday evening.