Regent fielded a host of new signings and returning favourites on what began as a blustery afternoon with a forecast of rain later. A crowd of 178 was swelled by a sponsoring contingent from Colchester Rugby Club who had temporarily abandoned the oval shaped ball in the wake of England’s defeat by South Africa in the World Cup final earlier in the day.
Brightlingsea featured a much changed line up with Charlie Turner in goal and back in a green kit; Fahad Nazar, Matt Cripps, Pip Boyland and the returning Morisi Gelashvili in a back four; Jordan Barnett, Jake Turner, and newcomers Warren Thomas and Reece Dobson were in midfield; with George Bugg and Billy Hunt up front. The substitutes were Jake Hutchinson, Romario Dunne, Jake Gould and Josh Gould.
Kingstonian, playing in yellow and blue, kicked off smartly and much of the first half was very even with neither side able to fashion a clear-cut chance. Kingstonian played some neat short passing football and Regent were limited by a lack of understanding between players who were together for the first time.
The new boys all looked promising, with Mo Gelashvili looking comfortable at right back, Reece Dobson bringing more strength to the midfield and George Bugg lively up front.
The first clear chance came after half an hour when Kingstonian’s tricky Daniel Hector fed centre forward Theophanous whose shot was well blocked by the onrushing Charlie Turner.
As half time approached it was looking like neither side would be able to break the other down until Regent struggled to clear their lines after 40 minutes play. The ball eventually found Tom Kavanagh on the edge of the Regent penalty area, and his shot took a massive deflection and spun into the unguarded corner of the goal to give the visitors the lead.
The last five minutes provided more action than the previous forty with Kingstonian nearly getting a second when a dangerous ball over the top of the defence was put behind and Regent being denied what looked to be a clear penalty when Reece Dobson was bundled over in the box, only for the referee to award a corner.
As the teams went off for the half time break former Colchester United defender Sean Clohessy engaged in his usual robust repartee with a group of noisy supporters in front of the clubhouse
Neither side made any changes at half time and Kingstonian won a series of corners in the opening minutes until Regent were awarded a free kick to relieve the pressure. Once again, the match settled into the even pattern of the first half and increasingly heavy rain began to roll across the pitch as the half progressed.
The Kingstonian fans abandoned their positions behind the goal and retreated into the stand on the far side which probably gave little protection from the weather as it faced the wind.
As some of the players tired, Regent made substitutions with George Bugg being replaced by Jake Hutchinson and Romario Dunne coming on for Jordan Barnett as they tried to put on the pressure and gain an equaliser in what were becoming difficult conditions.
Kingstonian’s second goal came from a defensive mix up in the 88th minute when another ball over the top was missed by the defence and Dan Bennett was presented with an open goal out of nowhere and sealed the game.
Four minutes of added time were found by the officials and in the closing moments Regent fashioned their best chance of the game when they won a corner, only to see Billy Hunt’s flashing header well saved by the goalkeeper.
Despite the scoreline this was a much improved performance by Regent against a side containing players who have experience at a much higher level and will be facing league opposition in the first round proper of the FA Cup next week. Regent face a different task with an Essex County Cup trip to Bowers and Pitsea on Tuesday night which will give a good chance to bed in the new players.