The R’s successful in Replay!
By Tony Osborne
Brightlingsea Regent set up tie with Torquay United!
With the prospect of a mouth watering 3rd qualifying round tie against former league side Torquay United for the winners, this game was always likely to be a much tenser and tighter affair than the 3 - 3 thriller the previous Saturday.
Brightlingsea Regent manager Tom Rothery had expressed his frustration as his R’s side let a 3 - 1 lead slip at the Runnymede Stadium and would be demanding an improved performance on home ground.
Egham made the long reverse trip to the Taydal but started the brighter with the pacey and exciting Tayshan Hayden-Smith getting on the ball and causing Regent problems as he drove Egham forward. The visitors seemed intent on scoring early and were causing some problems for the Brightlingsea defence. Kezie Ibe having the best of these only to be denied by a last gasp tackle when he looked certain to score from close range.
After a short period of fairly scrappy play it was the home side that started to take control of the game. Egham failed to capitalise from their early onslaught and Brightlingsea were having chances of their own, getting in behind the visitors. R’s striker Billy Hunt was looking more and more dangerous and when Matt Baxter crossed, hitman Hunt could only watch as his effort was cleared off the line.
After a fairly quiet match at Egham where he was limited to few goal scoring opportunities Hunt continued to look dangerous causing havoc in the Egham box and looking to unleash his hammer of a left foot at every opportunity.
The Regent number nine finally got his reward when following an R’s free kick the ball broke to him in the box. Beating two defenders he unleashed an absolute beast of a left foot strike which thundered past Egham keeper Xavier Comas Leon at his near post and settled in the roof of the net. 1- 0 Regent.
The second half began with the visitors looking to raise their tempo and get the equalizing goal. Once again it was Hayden - Smith causing problems for the R’s and after some good play Sean McCormack finished a nicely worked move with a well taken goal to make it 1-1 on 59 minutes.
You could sense the tension around the Taydal as the fans were anxiously checking watches and biting nails with over half an hour still to play. Could Brightlingsea find another gear and finally put this tie to bed.
The answer was yes. Tom Rothery’s men regrouped and showed a resilience and spirit that was once again a credit to the club and themselves. Taking the game by the scruff of the neck Regent began to dominate and with Egham giving away more and more free kicks around their own penalty area the R’s were given opportunities to go on and win the game.
On 67 minutes Regent midfielder and free kick specialist Jake Turner made the most of one such opportunity when he stepped up to take a free kick just outside the Egham box. The Regent faithful behind the Regent Road goal held their breath as JT stepped up and then let out a tremendous roar as his shot beat Leon all ends up and found the back of the net .2 - 1 Regent.
Egham looked beaten now and with Harry Morgan doing the ugly work in midfield frustrating the visitors and breaking up play, Josh Gould marshalling his defence and Hunt and Baxter continuing to work hard putting pressure on a tiring Egham back line this was as mature an R’s performance we have seen in a while.
It could even have been three when Harry Morgan broke from midfield and found himself one on one with Leon. Tired legs probably contributed to a rather lacklustre shot that was cleared by the keepers outstretched leg.
Morgan like his team mates had left nothing on the park and as the final whistle blew Brightlingsea could finally take stock and look forward to history in the making when the Gulls from Torquay fly in on Saturday week.