BRANTHAM Athletic boss Tony Hall felt some of his players froze in their 4-1 defeat to Shildon in the fifth round proper of the FA Vase.

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Hall had no complaints, acknowledging the better side had won as Shildon breezed into the quarter-finals of the competition.

He said: “They were better on the day and seemed to want it more than we wanted it. Some of my boys froze, but we have come a long way in this competition and we have gone out against a very good side.

“They were top drawer on the day and took their chances, and I think they can go all the way. Even when we got it back to 3-1 they were comfortable and slowed the game down and knocked in another goal.”

Hall said he had told his players to put their Vase exit behind them and concentrate on their next game – away to Hadleigh United tomorrow night – as Brantham bid to return to the top of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

“They will learn from that. They are all young lads and have a long way to go in their careers. They need to reflect on it and make themselves better players because of today.

“The Vase is a magical competition for non-league clubs and it brings people from all over the country to wherever their team are playing.

“I have always said the league is more important than the Vase. Everyone wants to get to the final and play at Wembley, but the league we are in is more important.”

Former Ipswich Town midfielder Stuart Niven, who is now Shildon’s assistant manager, said: “I think we had more experience than they did, although they caused us a lot of problems.

“Their big centre forward (Josh Mayhew) was useful but didn’t have much support which meant we could play high up the pitch which was key for us.

“They had a couple of chances in the first half which, if they had scored, could have made it a different game, but they were always chasing the game which allowed us to get in behind them.”

Niven, who joined Shildon as a player five years ago before becoming assistant manager, said he didn’t think the visitors should have had a penalty when Chris Hughes was booked as he was challenged by Brantham keeper Ryan Bedingfield.

“I didn’t think it was a penalty. He was travelling at speed and we tell our players to stay on their feet, but he went down. I think the referee got it right – he got most decisions right this afternoon,” added Niven.

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