Richardson the star as Regent hot up the Ryman North promotion race
- Credit: Archant
Ryman North: Brightlingsea 1 Maldon & Tiptree 0
Brightlingsea Regent closed the gap at the top of the Ryman North to just three points on Saturday with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Essex rivals Maldon & Tiptree.
Tom Richardson’s 22nd goal of the season saw second-placed Regent, who have two games in hand on the table-topping Jammers, just edge this keenly-contested derby.
Chances were at a premium all afternoon, and it was marksman Richardson, excellent throughout, who scored the winner after heading home Josh Gould’s long throw in the 74th minute.
In a tense and tight 90 minutes, resilient Regent posed the bigger goal-threat.
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A brilliant reaction save from Maldon shotstopper Daniel Wilks, in the 20th minute, denied Richardson a certain goal after a neat team move.
Twenty-nine goal winger Aaron Condon was a constant outlet for Regent, and he was denied by a smart Wilks save and a brave Curtis Haynes-Brown block in the first period.
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Maldon’s fearsome front pairing of Femi Akinwande, who joined on a month’s loan from Colchester United on Friday, and Liam Nash, were hardly given a kick all game against the excellent Regent defence, marshalled by Gould and captain Matt Cripps.
Wilks made an outstanding save from youngster Harry McDonald after Richardson’s persistence presented the opportunity in the 49th minute, before Condon flashed a well-struck effort just wide 19 minutes later.
Maldon & Tiptree carved out two good chances in the 69th minute, but they found Sam Cowler in fine form.
The shotstopper, who was playing professional football in China earlier this season, got down low to his right to deny substitute Rhys Henry with a one-handed save, before doing the same with Akinwande’s fiercely deflected effort.
And Cowler’s saves proved to be decisive as Regent got the goal they were looking for. Wilks dealt with Gould’s long throws into the box all afternoon, but was unable to claim a decisive one in the 74th minute, as Richardson nipped in to head home and send Regent fans crazy.
Maldon then almost equalised in the closing moments through Adam Mills’ 25-yarder, but Cowler was equal to the effort – as Regent celebrated.
Brightlingsea: Cowler, Boyland, Griggs, Gould, Cripps (c), Witherspoon, Turner, McDonald (Pedulu, 67), Condon (Doyle, 84), Rees, Richardson (Olubunmi, 90). Subs not used: Kelly, Taylor.
Maldon & Tiptree: Wilks, Hammond, Haynes-Brown (Claridge, 60), Roast, Greenfield, Lock (c), Agyemang (Mills, 76), Brampton, Allarakhia (Henry, 63), Nash, Akinwande. Subs not used: Kamanzi, McKeown.
Referee: Rick Bloy