It was a very grey day in Essex on Saturday for Biggleswade Town as they exited the FA Trophy 2-1 at Grays Athletic without much complaint.
A game of two halves saw the home side of the Isthmian League take the first, and the Waders certainly taking the second but unable to do enough to at least force a replay.
The match started well with a free kick just outside the box within seconds, Hilliard’s placed shot catching a defender and cleared for a corner.
There were warning signs from Grays as their very mobile front two broke the Wader’s back line on several occasions before Bradley Thomlinson outpaced Gavin Hoyte to slide the ball under the advancing keeper Ian Brown with just seven minutes played.
Certainly that was a wake up call and the boys in green tried to level through Ian Rees with a header at the near post, Sam Merson and Rees again before the miss of the match. Fine work by Merson down the right flank found Michael King for the simplest of tap ins, but it went the wrong side of the post.
Heads dipped even further as Grays took a 2-0 lead on 40 minutes as Alex Addai beat two defenders and Brown from an impossible angle to take the game to the much needed break.
Starting the second half Waders’ pep talk had done the job as a simple passing movement gave Hilliard his first goal for the club on 48 minutes, a shot from the edge of the box that easily beat the keeper.
It was a great start to the second half but unfortunately that was as good as it got. Biggleswade lacked passion, desire or both as clocked ticked down without a really meaningful attempt to save the game.
At the other end Grays were equally as bad as Bloomfield missed a sitter of a header midway through.
With Burnett and Effiong on for Hilliard and King with 20 minutes left, the fresh forwards were unable to penetrate the Grays back line and neither created too many problems.
With the final whistle brought to an end a very dour game, one that should live short in the memory.
This weekend the Waders are on the road again with the short journey to local rivals Hitchin Town.