STRATFORD Town suffered a first round exit in the FA Trophy after losing on penalties following a goalless draw with Nantwich Town.
The Bards were the better side in regulation time but failed to take their chances before being punished in the shootout at Weaver Stadium after Lee Vaughan saw red.
Nantwich play one level below Stratford in the Northern Premier League West Division with the last meeting between the two clubs coming back in 2003.
Stratford started the brighter of the two teams as Callum Ebanks, Dan Lafferty and Charlie Williams combined well only for the latter to fire a weak effort at the Nantwich goal.
The home side had their best chance of the game soon after as Steven Hewitt struck the inside of the post with a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area with Liam O’Brien well beaten in the Bards goal.
Gavin Hurren’s side enjoyed their best spell of the game around the hour mark as Tom Solanke fired two efforts narrowly over the bar following long periods of possession.
The game turned on 70 minutes when Bards defender Vaughan received a second yellow card meaning Stratford would have to play the remainder of the game with 10-men.
And Stratford went closest to breaking the deadlock soon after as Alex Worley’s fierce volley forced Nantwich goalkeeper Danny Roberts into an excellent save to keep the scores level.
However, the game went to penalties following a goalless 90 minutes as both teams scored their opening spot kick.
O’Brien then kept out Jake Kirby’s penalty only for Lewis Ludford-Ison to see his effort saved by Roberts.
And Roberts also denied Lafferty from the spot with the remaining penalties scored as Stratford’s FA Trophy adventure came to an end at the first round stage.