Sunday, 27 December 2015

A Trip to Regent's Treat for Christmas Hopping

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 27 December 2015 at North Road
Brightlingsea Regent 1 Heybridge Swifts 0
Isthmian League Division One North (Step 4)
Ground 581, and I am here simply because it is my nearest Step 4 unvisited ground today.
Pre-match preparation
11th plays 20th in the league table.  Most of the prep time was taken up with checking travel and weather information!  I picked up a copy of the local paper on arrival, but was distracted by other local matters.  See below.
This match in one sentence
Brightlingsea held on after an uncertain start to take the three points, helped massively by Heybridge’s late penalty miss.
So what?
Brightlingsea climb to 9th, one of several teams in a chasing pack a few points off the playoff places as things stand.  Heybridge stay 20th but will almost certainly drop to 21st because of games in hand held by teams below.  They are still uncomfortably close to the relegation places, but to be fair this is an improvement of late and they only have two defeats in seven.  They were bottom of the table until fairly recently.
The drama unfolds
To be honest I was feeling pretty rubbish by kickoff time so my details are sketchier than usual.  However I must mention a minute of warm applause for a stalwart amongst the club volunteers, tea lady Rita Loates, who passed away this week at the age of 75.  These things matter in the non-league world.

The early exchanges on the pitch probably just about favoured Heybridge, but a high ball dropping vertically into the visitors’ penalty area caused defensive panic and a late tackle.  Jake Turner placed a good penalty low into the bottom left corner to give Regent the lead.  1-0 after 28 mins

After that, the home side grew in confidence and the match was pretty even.  Plenty of effort and commitment from both sides, and no further goals before the break.  1-0 at half-time

The second half was more of the same.  I made a note that I was predicting one more goal, but not committing myself to either 1-1 or 2-0.  Either side looked as likely as the other.  Then the opportunity to share a point was presented to Heybridge by a trip leading to a penalty, with only ten minutes left.  Unfortunately, the spotkick went wide to the right – I was at the other end and cannot confirm the taker.  Things went from bad to worse almost immediately for Heybridge as Liam Thomas picked up his second yellow card, and Regent were able to hold on for the win.  These looked like two well-matched sides to be honest and in particular Swifts look to have decent team spirit and morale as we enter 2016.  Final score 1-0
Ground Pix

Personally, I love the jaunty font, but it's not one for the traditionalists.

Match Pix
Brightlingsea in the red-and-black ...

From the Current Issue of the Clacton Gazette - Honest
“Wannabe Jedi Master Obi-Mark Kenobi has appeared in court for trying to use The Force to clean up the streets of Clacton …”

“Kenobi, 44, who changed his name by deed poll … admitted chasing people with a shovel when he appeared (in court) …”

“Standing outside the court in his Jedi outfit, he said: “Obi-Wan Kenobi was a great person – a Jedi.  I watch the older films all the time and have been to see the new one at the IMAX in Ipswich.  I changed my name for a new start.  I want to stop the damage being done in Clacton …”

“Kenobi (chose the new name) because “it sounds better than Mark Solo or Mark Skywalker” and he can relate to the journey of Obi-Wan, originally played by Alec Guinness.”
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Yellow beat blue and kept a clean sheet too.  Full table early in the new year.

What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  A second dose of manful has taken hold during the day and a sneaky double Bank Holiday hop must be in doubt.  I’m on the Lemsip as I write.  Other delivery methods for paracetamol and caffeine are available.

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