St Albans City were hit with a late double sucker punch as they suffered a 3-2 defeat in a pre-season against Billericay Town at Clarence Park.

The hosts had battled back from a goal down to lead 2-1 heading into the final seven minutes, but would ultimately suffer their third friendly defeat on the spin.

Former Saint Louie Theophanous was making his first appearance at Clarence Park since joining Billericay and would return to haunt his old team mates.

It took him just eight minutes to have his first impact on the game, forcing a fine low save from James Russell.

The City keeper was powerless to prevent Theophanous opening the scoring with 27 minutes played, however, when he calmly slotted home.

Ian Allinson’s side gave the perfect reaction to going behind and a smart passing move saw them restore parity moments later.

Zane Banton was the man to provide the finishing touch, smashing high into the net to leave the Town keeper with no chance.

From their City had the better of the first half and they would take a lead into the break when an impressive run from Kieran Monlouis yielded a second.

His pass picked out Rhys Murrell-Williamson who converted with a powerful drive which found the net via the underside of the crossbar.

The half-time interval saw both sides ring the substitutions and the changes had a telling impact on City’s rhythm as the momentum of the first 45 dissipated.

It had the opposite effect on Billericay as they began to come back into the game.

It would be the Saints who had the first genuine effort of the second period, though, when Shaun Lucien’s shot forced a fine save.

St Albans continued to push, but failed to turn their relative control into the tangible reward.

Typically City were punished for failing to find the net and a were pegged back in the 83rd minute after a clinical counter attack cut through City’s defence.

The slick move was finished off by Charlie Cole, who managed to squeeze the ball under replacement City stopper Dean Snedker.

With time now at a premium the match looked destined to end in a draw, before Bilericay’s Sam Deering had the final word of the afternoon.

Collecting the ball in the box, the midfielder showed great composure to control and guide a placed shot beyond Snedker.

Try as they might City could not find a route back into the game and were left empty handed for the third game running.

The result comes on the back of a 1-0 defeat against Cambridge United last Tuesday.

A closely contested clash saw both sides struggle to create chances, with the only goal coming in the 24th minute.

Luke Berry was the man to provide the winner, rising highest to powerfully head home Harrison Dunk’s cross.

At the time of going to press City were preparing for the visit of League Two Luton Town on Tuesday evening.

They follow that clash with a trip to Harpenden Town on Thursday, before completing a hectic week with a clash against a Watford XI at Clarence Park.

Their league campaign starts at Oxford City on August 5.