Wisbech and March Town Emirates FA Cup runs end in First Qualifying Round to higher-ranked opposition Hitchin and Grays
Local Fenland sides' Emirates FA Cup runs ended on Saturday in the First Qualifying Round to higher-ranked opposition.
Wisbech Town lost 2-1 to Hitchin Town at the Elgood's Fenland Stadium while March Town – who had gone ahead – lost 3-1 at Grays Athletic.
Hitchin Town had an early effort ruled out for offside before a penalty for handball after 18 minutes separated the sides at the break. Jay Dowie’s spot kick was almost saved by Dan Farrell but the home 'keeper fumbled the ball over the line.
The Fenmen had the strong wind at their backs in the second half.
Declan Rogers and Aaron Hart composed an effective attack with the latter sending in a cross which Joel Earps converted, and the hosts had grabbed an equaliser.
However on 53 minutes visiting player James Verney fired home what proved to be the winner.
Layton Maddison was foiled by defender Dowie while Horlock saved well a shot from Ollie Gale.
Wisbech had a late penalty shout turned down.
Fenmen manager Seb Hayes said: "We didn't do enough to win.
"Obviously the weather – the wind – killed it in the first half. The penalty was a calamity, really, no other way to put it.
"We go out and score in the first two minutes and it's a whole different game so I'm happy that we were in the game for 90 minutes, which we've been for the last four games, so we're improving.
"I'm happy that we're scoring goals and creating chances.
"You see the different levels when you go up to Step 3, the way they control games and slow it down. That's where we lost it; we were naive.
“If you look at the game, if you see how they played when they had the wind and how we played when we had the wind, in the second half we were better than them.
“Fair play to them, they got a winner from a free-kick which we shouldn't have conceded and we were naive.
“We should have had a penalty at the end: he's gone through Sam (Spencer).
“We can't come and moan at the officials. We can see why they're in Step 3, no disrespect to them.”
Wisbech: Dan Farrell, Jay Whyatt, Liam Marshall, Sam Spencer, Jon Kaye (booked), Callam Traynor, Aaron Hart (sub Philip), Ollie Gale (Bilson), Declan Rogers, Joel Earps, Layton Maddison (Shackleton). Sub not used: Aidan Bradshaw.
Referee: Andrew Hitchcox (Hunts).
Photos: ADAM FAIRBROTHER