Rare defeat for Brightlingsea Regent, as Thurrock take the points
- Credit: Archant
Brightlingsea Regent suffered a hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat that leaves them three points clear at the top of the Ryman North Division, whilst ‘The Fleet’ moved into third place, strongly contesting a play-off place.
In front of a crowd of 249 this was the hosts’ first defeat since Boxing Day and ended an unbeaten run of 14 games that included seven successive victories.
James Webster’s side will consider themselves unlucky – they largely dominated a feisty second half, having fallen behind to a soft 36th minute goal.
In contrast, the experienced Mark Stimson, the visitors’ boss, will be indebted to a fine defensive performance from his side and equally thankful that the free-scoring Rs missed several half chances to have strengthened their championship aspirations.
In the superbly appointed stadium, it was soon apparent that the visitors were looking to avenge the 1-0 home defeat inflicted earlier in the season, with some uncompromising defending acknowledging the threat from a side who have amassed 91 league goals.
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The home attack, spearheaded by the lively Tom Richardson and long throw specialist Josh Gould, put the visitors initially on the back foot and following the former’s low cross, Robbie Rees prodded wide.
Then, a Jake Turner free-kick should have reaped some reward but the opportunity was squandered. At the other end Gould then made a timely block denying Ronnie Winn.
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The match had been evenly-contested when the deadlock was broken. A cross from the left, just beyond the far post, went unchallenged, allowing Perry Dunn to volley home.
After the break the home side responded well but were unable to create any clear chances, although the visitors were often desperately scrambling the ball away from danger.
Indeed it was virtually all Brightlingsea with Thurrock relying on breakaways.
Although Bobby Mason made a couple of comfortable saves for ‘The Fleet’ it was frustration for Brightlingsea, as Thurrock’s defence, well marshalled by skipper Richard Hjalle and Dunn, continually thwarted the home efforts to earn a valuable win whilst Brightlingsea, below their best, at the least deserved a point.