Worthing’s very own Dion Dublin bagged his third goal in five games to compliment Ollie Pearce’s first half opener, as the visitors upset the form guide at The Taydal Stadium.
- Jones (67')
- Pearce (10')
Darren Budd and Ricky Aguiar returned from suspension and James Crane, from injury, meaning Eoin Kirwan and Callum Kealy dropped down to the bench. With Jasper Pattenden having to observe the strict protocol regarding concussion.
A cagey start to the game saw the first chance fall to Ollie Pearce, who cut in from the left but blazed his effort high and wide. His indignant claims for a corner, ignored by the referee.
He fared somewhat better a short while later, when Zack Newton came across from the right wing and into the area, where he found Ricky Aguiar, who simply laid the ball to his left for Pearce to gleefully guide past James Bradbrook in The R’s goal.
Brightlingsea offered some hope to the home fans, as Josh Gould’s long throw eventually arrived at the feet of a waiting Aaron Condon, just outside the box, only for his well-struck volley to be held by Kleton Perntreou, almost under his own crossbar.
It was Gould’s header that nearly saw the hosts level the scores in their next attack, after Ricky Griggs had played in Condon and his driven attempt was repelled by Joel Cobran, at the expense of a corner.
Billy Barker’s half-cleared cross was headed down to Alex Parsons, by Joe Clarke but the midfielder couldn’t get enough power behind his shot and Bradbrook had a comfortable save.
Barker then made headway down the right flank but found the side netting with his subsequent delivery.
Condon tried his luck from distance, when he found himself in a good position in the inside-left channel and managed to hit the netting behind the goal, instead of the other variety lower down.
He then had his next effort blocked and deflected through to KP, with Jordan Barnett providing the supply line.
Ten minutes into the second-half and Regent’s number ten carried on where he had left off in the first, as Colbran denied him initially, before his follow-up cross was headed away by Jalen Jones.
Griggs continued Brightlingsea’s early domination after the turnaround, by working his way over from the right-hand touchline and forcing Kleton into his first real save of the night.
Fortunately, the corner that came from that episode had far less effect than the one at the other end, in Worthing’s opening stratagem of the concluding forty-five minutes.
Aguiar’s flag-kick met with telling contact off the head of Colbran, leaving the floor to Dion, sorry, Jalen to do what he does best, with his temple, to put The Whites in command.
The arrears were almost halved in an instant, when Barker’s mis-kick let in top scorer, Billy Hunt, who composed himself and fired a dangerously-low shot across the bows of the opposing target, from a tight angle, that flashed uncomfortably wide of the far upright.
Entering the final fifteen minutes, the next opportunity fell to the in-form home team, as their version of Josh Gould sent Kleton flying across his line to push away, two-handed, a header that threatened to make it a very nervy last quarter, for the West Sussex travellers.
With the end in sight, Clarke released Zack Newton down the inside-left channel and the on-loan Welling winger instinctively delayed his pass for the overlapping Pearce. Bradbrook raced out to meet the striker and got enough on his shot to be able to gather at the second attempt.
The man from Midhurst then combined with Parsons; a run from just inside the opposition half taking him across the top of the eighteen-yard box, where the ball broke for his teammate. Captain Matt Cripps got in the way of the shot and the two P’s saw Ollie find Alex once more, only this time, the backheel by the latter failed to find it’s intended target and the danger evaporated.
As the board went up to indicate at least three additional minutes would test the nerves of the brave and hardy few that had made the four hour journey to deepest, darkest Essex, two substitutes in black and red increased those heart rates.
Joe Yaxley took aim, twenty yards out and Perntreou showed lightning-fast reactions, to not only preserve a clean sheet down at the foot of his right-hand post but recover immediately, to also keep out fellow replacement, Reuben Mudd’s follow-up.