BILLINGE New Street made the journey down the M6 to Sandbach on Saturday for the first round of the Cheshire League's JA Walton Cup.

Unfortunately, they didn't make it into the hat as they fell to a 2-1 defeat.

In fact, it was Billinge who started the game in full control and had the home team on the back foot for the first 20 minutes.

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Both Jimmy Howard and Danny Lamb went close before Jamie Caldwell's through-ball found Warren Gerrard who rounded the last defender and neatly slotted the ball past Luke Osborn in the Sandbach goal.

The goal woke the home team up and Billinge had to rely on some excellent defending from Connor Simpson and Dylan Martin - along with Danny Still in goal who was brought into action pulling off two fine point-blank saves - to keep them out.

Billinge hit back on the half-hour mark when Caldwell's glancing header from a Hallwood corner just missed the target.

The home side continued pressing and some mistimed challenges by the Storks' defence resulted in the home team drawing level after 38 minutes.

It was the Sandbach striker Jonah Gosling who was brought down 20 yards out and in front of the goal.

Still in goal organised his wall but the resulting free kick from Jack Wood was well hit and while Still was unlucky not to save it the ball crept into the top corner.

The visitors piled on the pressure on for the remainder of the first-half and had chances to have gone into the sheds in front as both Lamb and Howard going very close.

The second-half was an end-to-end game but without either team creating many clear-cut chances.

However, in the 70th minute the Billinge defence was caught out with a great through-ball but Still in goal was alert and came off his line quickly to tidy up.

The visitors defence were fuming at an offside decision which the referee didn't give which resulted in Billinge defender Simpson getting sin-binned for ten minutes.

Five minutes later the visitors were down to nine men when Howard was also sin-binned for arguing with the official after he was brought down.

The visitors held on well with nine players on the field only to be undone in the last five minutes when a clumsy challenge in the box resulted in a penalty for Sandbach United.

Lewis Barker stepped up for the home side and he gave Still no chance from 12 yards out to put his side ahead.

With time running out - and deep into stoppage time - Billinge were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box; Warren Gerrard stepped up to take it only to see his shot strike a Sandbach defender's arm, but the referee was having none of it and cup glory will have to be put on hold this season.

It was a frustrating afternoon which left Billinge manager Steve Hallwood an unhappy man saying: "We should have won the game, but our discipline let us down.

"There were some decisions that didn't go our way, but we cannot afford to have two men sinbinned at one time nor put in clumsy and reckless challenges in and around the box."

Despite the loss there were good performances especially from goalscorer Warren Gerrard, Connor Simpson and Jordon Hallwood but the SC Renewables man-of-the-match award went to captain Dylan Martin who was steady as a rock at the back.

The Storks return to league action next Saturday when they are on the road again travelling to Chester to take on League leaders Upton JFC.

On Sunday Billinge New Street U18s beat Lymm Piranhas U18s 3-2 with goals from Ambrose Charlotte, Layton Lee and Oliver Sammon.

The win lifted the side into second in the Warrington Junior League Premier Division.