This weekend Billericay Town will play in the 141st F.A. Cup match when they host Basildon United. It’ll be the first meeting between the two clubs in the F.A. Cup and United’s first appearance in the Second Qualifying Round since the late 1990’s.
On Sunday 30th April 1977 Billericay Town made their second appearance at Wembley Stadium in the final of the F.A. Vase against Sheffield F.C., the oldest football club in the World.
The match ended as a 1-1 draw, with Fred Clayden scoring for The Blues. The following day Town sent a team to The National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace to compete in the 6-a-side Philips Electrical Floodlight Trophy. The competition was created for teams entering the F.A. Vase with the first prize being a set of four floodlights worth £7,500.
The Blues won their group matches against Bradley Rangers, Tunbridge Wells and Yate Town. Friar Lane Old Boys progressed from their group to reach the final. A Tony Wakefield hat-trick sealed a 3-0 victory and the pitch was flooded with celebrating Town fans.
With the floodlights installed the club was permitted to enter the F.A. Cup for the first time.
Town had joined the Athenian League for the 1977-78 season and Saturday 17 September 1977 was the day Billericay Town first competed in the F.A. Cup in its 106th year. Town were taking part in their first season as members of the Athenian League. They faced Harwich & Parkeston of the Isthmian League First Division, who visited New Lodge for the afternoon.
A crowd of 1,587 watched as John Pullin scored the clubs first F.A. Cup goal and the match ended 1-1.
The following Tuesday Town travelled to the Royal Oak Ground in Harwich for the replay.
A Fred Clayden hat-trick and a Lester Foreman penalty helped Town to a 4-1 win and progression to the second qualifying round of the F.A. Cup.
F.A Cup Goal Scorers
Town beat Haringey Borough, who were also members of the Athenian League, and then Walthamstow Avenue, who were competing in the Isthmian League Premier Division, before the draw for the F.A. Cup fourth qualifying round had given Billericay an away match against Isthmian League Premier Division team Hendon. Steve Bone and Mick Grocott scored for The Blues but the hosts won 3-2, watched by 1,252, and progressed to the First Round of the Cup, where they were beaten by Watford.
Town wouldn’t reach the Fourth Qualifying Round again until 1995.
The mid-1980’s were a terrible time for Billericay Town in the F.A. Cup. They failed in win for 10 Cup matches in a row. This includes a 5-year run of failing to score and being knocked out in the Preliminary Round for 4 years in a row.
This poor run ended in 1990 with a win against Hanwell Town, which was followed by a draw with Leyton-Wingate. Town were playing in the Isthmian League Division 2 North at the time whilst Leyton-Wingate were playing two divisions higher in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Town won the replay 1-0. They were eventually knocked out by Egham Town, who were also in the Isthmian 2 North.
The club reached the Fourth Qualifying Round for the first time in 18 years in 1995. Aveley and Great Yarmouth Town were beaten before Chelmsford City were knocked out after a reply. Chris Evans scored in both matches for Town.
Billericay Town were drawn at home in the Fourth Qualifying Round to Wisbech Town of the Eastern Counties Premier Division. The match ended in a draw with Wisbech winning the replay. Wisbech would go on to become the team Billericay Town played in the F.A. Cup more times than any other.
In 1997 the two would meet at New Lodge again. Tooting & Mitcham United, Dulwich Hamlet, Erith & Belvedere and Camberley Town were beaten as The Blues reached the F.A. Cup First Round for the first time. Leon Gutzmore scored six goals during the cup run.
Wisbech Town came to New Lodge on 15 November 1997. Paul Battram and Chris Payne scored that afternoon but the visitors left with a 3-2 victory. They were beaten 2-0 at home to Bristol Rovers in the Second Round.
The Blues played Wisbech for the fifth and final time in the F.A. Cup Second Qualifying Round at Fenland Park during 1999. Billericay won 3-1.
The Blues would reach the First Round Proper again in 2004, led by manager Justin Edinburgh. The run started with away wins against Southend Manor, Dorking and East Preston was followed by a Fourth Qualifying Round win against Flackwell Heath at New Lodge.
Stevenage Borough, then competing in the Conference Premier Division came to New Lodge and left with a 1-0 win.
The following season saw one of the club’s lowest moments in the F.A. Cup. On 10 September 2005 Town travelled to St. Margaretsbury Recreation Ground in Hertfordshire to face St. Margaretsbury in the First Qualifying Round. They now compete in the Essex Senior League but in 2005 they were members of the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.
The match ended in a goalless draw and the replay went ahead the following Tuesday night. Danny Hockton put The Blues ahead with an Own Goal doubling their lead. They then allowed the visitors back in to the match which ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, and with The Bury having a player sent off with 10 minutes to go. St Margaretsbury scored the winner in extra-time.
Keith Riley remembers Town being awful over both matches. “We were lucky to get the draw and they came back to our place and were the better team again!”
Wayne Semanshia scores the opening goal against Swansea City. This photo was taken by Nicky Hayes.
The Blues faithful didn’t have to wait long for another go at the First Round Proper. Swansea City, then playing in League Two, visited New Lodge for Town’s 101st F.A. Cup match. Wayne Semanshia put Town ahead but the professionals won the match 2-1. It is still the only time Billericay Town have faced League opposition in the Cup. Joe Flack scored 8 goals during the run, the most a Blues player has recorded in the F.A. Cup in one season.
The last three seasons have been Billericay Town’s best in The Cup. In 2016 they were beaten by Maidstone in the Fourth Qualifying Round but they’ve reached the First Round for the last two years.
The BBC broadcast Town’s home match against Didcot Town on 2 September 2017. Viewers and fans witnessed Jake Robinson score a hat-trick as Billericay won 5-0.
Jake scored again as 10-man Town drew 1-1 at Thamesmead Town. Robinson scored another hat-trick as Thamesmead were also beaten 5-0.
A draw at Hungerford Town, playing in the National League South, was followed with a thumping 6-1 victory at New Lodge. Billy Bricknell struck a hat-trick that evening.
Town then travelled to Brackley Town, and drew once again. Adam Cunnington scored twice in the 3-3 draw. Robbie Evans and Sam Deering scored the goals that won the reply 2-1 and helped set-up a First Round match at Leatherhead.
Leatherhead took the lead but Ricky Modeste was tripped in the area and Billy Bricknell equalised from the spot.
The cameras came to New Lodge again as BT Sport showed the replay. Town weren’t at their best but took the lead through Adam Cunnington. Leatherhead equalised before Rob Swaine was sent off. Leatherhead scored a late winner and Town went out at the First Round again. That evening’s attendance of 3,400 is the clubs biggest competitive attendance.
Last season the cup run began with a 4-1 home win against Burnham. It was the first meeting between the two teams since Town’s years in the Athenian League. This was followed with a 9-1 home victory against Whitehawk. Jake Robinson scored twice and Moses Emmanuel scored a hat-trick in The Blues biggest ever F.A. Cup victory.
Taunton Town made the journey up from Somerset for the Fourth Qualifying Round having beaten St Albans City in the previous round. Moses struck twice more as the visitors left with a 2-2 draw to earn a midweek replay.
A good number of Town fans made the trip to Wordsworth Drive to see Sam Deering score the only goal of the match, which sent The Blues back in to the First Round.
The draw earned Billericay a trip to Derbyshire to face National League Premier side Chesterfield. The Spireites had been relegated from the Football League the previous season and were on a poor run of form. The hosts took the lead in the first half but Moses Emmanuel equalised after the break to earn another replay. This was Moses eighth goal in the cup that season, equalling Joe Flack’s record.
Chesterfield took the lead again in the replay. Joe Kizzi equalised but the visitors regained the lead soon afterwards and Ricay’s run came to an end.
Overall the club have played in 140 F.A. Cup matches, winning 66, drawing 32 and losing 42. They’ve scored 264 matches whilst conceding 168.
Joe Flack and Moses Emmanuel have both scored 8 F.A. Cup goals in a season, which is a club record. This is followed by Jake Robinson’s 7 goals during the 2017-18 season.
Joe Flack is also Town’s top goal scorer in the F.A. Cup with a total on 13 goals. Between 1993 and 1998 Paul Battram scored 12 goals. Hall of Famers Fred Claydon and Leon Gutzmore scored 9 F.A. Cup goals whilst with the club. This is matched by Jake Robinson.
Town have been eliminated at the Preliminary Round on 4 occasions. They’ve been knocked out in the First Qualifying Round 5 times, Second Qualifying Round 11 times, Third Qualifying Round on 10 occasions and Fourth Qualifying Round 6 times.
The Blues have been knocked out at the First Round on 5 occasions.