Regent win on the road!
By Tony Osborne
R’s earn big victory at Folkestone Invicta
With a mouth watering FA Cup third qualifying round tie against Torquay United to look forward to, there may have been some fans questioning whether Tom Rothery’s Brightlingsea Regent team would be able to concentrate on an away day in kent against a Folkestone Invicta side beaten only once in their previous five games, and that to table toppers Tonbridge.
Those questions were quickly put to bed and the small but vocal contingent of R’s travelling support were treated to a mature, disciplined and gritty display that saw Regent pick up a well deserved three points.
Brightlingsea set their stall out early, working hard to press high up the pitch and frustrate a Folkestone side that became increasingly frustrated as the game wore on. Harry Morgan and Matt Baxter worked tirelessly closing down opposition defenders and supporting Billy Hunt in attack.
Harvey Hodd playing higher up the pitch was getting on the ball in dangerous areas, running from deep and creating openings for himself and others. On twenty three minutes the talented Hodd got his reward scoring what surely will be a contender for goal of the season. Hitting a driven lob over the head of stranded Invicta keeper Nicholas Shaw to make it 1-0 to Regent.
Regent were playing with a positivity and swagger and although Folkestone were getting plenty of possession themselves the R’s were looking confident soaking up pressure and playing on the break.
That man Harvey Hodd was having arguably his best game in a Regent shirt and on forty four minutes he scored his and Brightlingsea’s second, striking the ball from the edge of the box across the keeper and into the corner of the net. 2-0 Regent.
What should have been a comfortable half time lead was soon cut in half when during a controversial period of added on time Invicta pulled a goal back through Ian Draycott. Tom Rothery and his team were furious at the amount of time added on at the end of the half but the protests fell on deaf ears and the half ended 2-1 to Regent.
Conceding so late in the first half certainly didn’t play on the minds of the Regent players as they started the second period with a continued discipline and work rate that made it increasingly hard for the home side to develop any real tempo or pattern to their play.
Folkestone certainly had their moments in possession but the R’s back line was holding firm and the midfield chased and harried, breaking up the Folkestone play and then driving forward on the counter attack. Amar Lewis had had a fairly quiet first half but he came to life on fifty four minutes when he shot low and hard across Shaw into the Invicta net to make it 3-1.
With half an hour still to play this game was far from over and Folkestone were asking more and more questions of the Regent back line. James Bradbrook in the Brightlingsea goal was again having a decent game and following a remarkable double save in the first half he continued to hold firm and marshall his defence.
As the visiting fans looked nervously at their watches the referee once again seemed to be finding extra minutes where there seemed to be none. On ninety minutes Kane Rowland scored Invictas second to make it 3-2 and there was also time for two sendings off.
The referee giving two goal hero Harvey Hodd his marching orders moments after sending off Folkestone’s Joshua Vincent.
Finally the referee did blow his whistle and the Regent faithful could at last breathe and celebrate a massive three points on the road that saw them climb out of the bottom three.
By Gavin Aplin