BILLINGE'S winning run came to an end when they lost 2-0 away to Congleton Town Reserves on Saturday.

Coming into the game on the back of three straight victories The Storks would have fancied their chances of continuing that run but they were second-best on the day.

Early on Billinge found it difficult to break down a stubborn Bears defence while at the same time had to be aware as the dangerous Dan Cope tested The Storks keeper Kai McAlistair twice in the first five minutes.

In the 11th minute it was Billy Buckley that brought out the best in McAlistair with the Billinge custodian suing off a brilliant save.

On 15 minutes The Storks came into the game and had an excellent ten minutes as Liam Diggle, Richie Allen, Jason McShane and Tom Douglas all had shots well-saved by Cameron Phelps.

Billinge were now playing their best football of the game as Nial Dawson went close from distance, Diggle was making inroads and just before half-time Allen had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside.

It hadn't been a vintage performance by The Storks but it was felt that playing down the slope in the second period would see them break the deadlock.

It appeared that (that) would be the outcome as a ball appeared to be handled in the box by Town's Ryan Read but referee Justice Abaka-Jacobs and his assistant waved play on: one of many incredulous decisions by the officials on the day.

Sadly, this was the turning point in the game and Congleton dominated the second-half.

Spurred on my substitute Max McCarthy, the Bears got on the front foot and took the game to The Storks.

On 58 minutes McCarthy had a glorious chance to put Congleton ahead but he fired wide.

However five minutes later McCarthy made amends as he opened the scoring; albeit via a wicked defection that deceived McAlistair.

Congleton- and McCarthy - doubled the lead via the penalty spot on 69 minutes after Harvey Lambert was adjudged to have fouled a Town attacker.

From a distance it looked a penalty but The Storks players argued vehemently that it wasn't; resulting in Billinge defender Ben Jacobson being sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes for a comment aimed at the referee.

Unfortunately, The Storks let the officials' bizarre decisions get to them and it took an amazing save from McAlistair to deny Congleton a third and McCarthy his hat-trick.

There was a late penalty claim for Billinge when Rob Lamont appeared to have been fouled but that was the closest The Storks came to getting back in the match and Congleton ran out worthy 2-0 victors.

After the game Billinge manager was philosophical saying, "We just didn't perform on the day and Congleton deserved their win.

"That said, I thought we were hard done by by the referee.

"All we ask is consistency and protection for my players and we got neither today.

"However, we'll regroup in the week have a decent training session and we will be ready for Garswood away on Saturday."

Billinge Reserves had no game on Saturday but will be in action against Garswood United Reserves at Barrows Farm this weekend.