BILLERICAY Town saw their hopes of reaching the second round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history come to an end thanks to a 4-0 defeat at Forest Green Rovers.

Three goals in the space of seven first half minutes from Matty Stevens, Joseph Mills and Jack Aitchison put the League Two hosts in the ascendancy at the New Lawn.

And Liam Shephard added his name to the scoresheet after the interval to ensure Jamie O’Hara’s National League South side would not pull off an FA Cup upset and exit in the first round.

Billericay goalkeeper Alan Julian easily gathered Aaron Collins’ early effort, while the hosts’ Shephard tried his luck from range only to see his drive drift wide.

Collins then curled inches wide after going on a marauding run having pounced on Ben Nunn’s throw-in, which evaded Doug Loft.

Stevens scooped an attempt onto the roof of the net and Forest Green continued to attack as captain Mills drilled wide after Collins’ cutback had initially evaded everyone.

Sliding Billericay defender Themis Kefelas, who extended his loan spell from Queens Park Rangers in the days leading up to the tie, did well to deflect Shephard’s strike over the crossbar.

However, Forest Green broke the deadlock from the resulting corner as Stevens nodded home from close range after 38 minutes.

Stevens’ header opened the floodgates, with the League Two table-toppers going onto score three goals in the space of seven minutes.

Mills’ strike crept under Julian and found the back of the net before, deep in injury time, Aitchison fired home from the edge of the penalty area.

Having been left shell-shocked by a trio of goals late in the half, Billericay started the second half in positive fashion.

After a spell of possession in the Forest Green half, Sam Deering’s deflected attempt was gathered by goalkeeper Joe Wollacott.

The hosts responded with Aitchison seeing an effort well blocked by Billericay skipper Ronnie Henry.

And Forest Green notched a fourth goal of the afternoon as Shephard’s deflected strike wrongfooted Julian and found the bottom corner of the net on 65 minutes.

Billericay appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears after Jake Robinson appeared to be bundled over moments later, while the home side’s Collins curled inches wide.

Moses Emmanuel, who came on as a half-time substitute, unleashed a blistering strike which went over the crossbar thanks to a fine fingertip save by Wollacott.

Billericay thought they had got a goal back when Robinson pounced on a Wollacott error and tapped home, but the striker was frustrated by a late offside call.

Wollacott was then equal to a long range Robinson strike as the tie ticked into the final 10 minutes.

Forest Green ended the clash with 10 men as substitute Elliott Frear was stretchered off following a fair sliding challenge by Loft.

Although Kefelas forced Wollacott into a sprawling save as the tie ticked into injury time, the hosts had already done enough to seal their passage through to the second round of the FA Cup.