Brightlingsea Regent boss James Webster thinks his side may have just lost to the eventual 2014 FA Vase winners in Dunston UTS, while paying tribute to ‘superb’ Regent fans - who were all doing the Conga in the north-east
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Their FA Vase dreams may be over, but Brightlingsea Regent boss James Webster thinks his side may have just played the future winners of the prestigious competition.
On the biggest day in the club’s history, Regent were beaten 5-0 by 2012 Vase winners, Dunston UTS, in the last-16 of the competition, on Saturday.
“I think we might have just played the eventual winners of the competition,” declared Webster.
“They were excellent. I’ve watched a lot of football around this area and they were as good as the likes of Sudbury and Heybridge.
“I think the winner of their quarter-final against West Auckland Town, another very good side in the north-east, will win it.”
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Webster continued: “To be playing against such quality opposition proves just what an excellent achievement it has been for us really.
“Maybe we were punching above our weight a little when you face sides like this but the whole experience of it was fantastic.
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“The League and gaining promotion has always been our main objective but the Vase has given us confidence to that and has played a large part in our league form.”
Regent took over 150 fans to their Gateshead-based opponents, and Webster can’t thank their tremendous support enough.
“The fans were absolutely superb and me and all the players can’t thank them enough,” added Webster.
“We had some very complimentary emails and comments from Dunston praising them.
“When we were 5-0 down, they were singing ‘Wembley, Wembley, We’re the famous Brightlingsea Regent and we’re going to Wembley’, and it was just phenomenal to see such good support.
“They were doing the Conga on the final whistle, singing ‘We’re going to Clacton on Tuesday’ and it made us very proud to be part of that.
“It was just a shame we couldn’t score a goal for them to celebrate.”
Regent started well enough on the big occasion, creating a few early half-chances, but eventually succumbed to defeat by their classy opponents.
All in all though, it was a terrific experience for Webster’s men, who enjoyed a light training session at Newcastle United reserves’ training facility the night before.
“Other than the result, none of us can complain about the whole experience,” declared Webster.
“From the luxury 79-seater coach to the hotel, to the light training session, to Nando’s, everything was excellent and just like with the fans, me and the players can’t thank the club, the chairman and the committee enough.”
With the Vase now a distant but fond memory, Regent now face a busy schedule in the remainder of the Thurlow Nunn Premier season, on and off the field.
“The aim of this season always was to get promotion and whatever we did in the Cup competitions was a bonus,” said Webster.
“We’ve now got to concentrate on that - and produce results on the pitch, while matching this off it.”
Brightlingsea will learn whether their promotion application into the Ryman Leagues is successful on March 31, with plenty of stadium work to be done behind the scenes.
“We’re confident that we can meet the required standards before the deadline and finish in the top three places,” added the Regent boss.