Kick off was delayed ten minutes to account for traffic delays, but on a night when only two of nine matches scheduled were taking place, no one was going to complain about ten minutes.
Previous matches between the two teams have always been combative close encounters and this one met expectations early with Regent striker Ken Feyi proving a handful for Kassarate & Crowther at the heart of the Ambers defence and a physical Harry MacDonald breaking up Cheshunt play for Regent, at least until he ran into Mo Camara.
Brightlingsea open the scoring on the quarter hour when a quickly taken free kick saw the Cheshunt midfield stood still releasing an attack down the Regent left resulting in a low driven cross that Feyi muscled his way onto the end of, slamming the ball into the roof of the net from close range. The goal appeared to buoy Brightlingsea & their confidence grew, while Cheshunt were taking too long to regroup. Regent forced a number of corners & looked dangerous on the attack. Thirty five minutes in and the turning point of the match occurred, Reece Beckles Richards chested a ball down on half way and was driven towards his own goal by Billy Wales jostling through the back of him, eventually bowling the Cheshunt man over and his momentum taking Wales over the top of the tumbling Beckles Richards, as the Cheshunt man attempted to regain his footing Wales went over his leg and rolled around (as if taken out at the knees by Chopper Harris) , the referee was well placed and called a halt to proceedings, Wales, having been sent off himself in Regent’s previous match, knew exactly what he was doing in staying down feigning injury, the referee instead of calling for the physio was in too much of a rush and brandished straight red, when most in the ground would have considered a yellow each was probably the correct call, especially when Wales, eyes on the referee throughout, and objective attained, jumped straight up and strolled back to his post.
The sending off, rather than disadvantage Cheshunt appeared to galvanise them, first to everything now, a promising Regent throw, in Cheshunt territory was picked off by Taylor Miles, a short pass to Zack Newton was returned to the advancing Miles who in one stride curled a magnificent pass with the outside of his right foot around the Regent centre half & into the path of the sprinting Ken Charles, there was only one winner in that race, and a touch to settle, then the striker hit a low drive across the keeper into the far side of the goal. 1-1 and the Ambers could go into half time all square and plot how to manage the second half with ten men.
The weather closed in and torrential rain greeted the players as they emerged for the re start, the Ambers started the second half as they had finished the first, with the effervescent Taylor Miles at the heart of their advances, Newton & Charles’ pace troubling the visitors and forcing them to sit deep, leaving space for Cheshunt to build their moves. Midfield maestro Joe Re took advantage of the space to move forward in a central position, urged to shoot by the Cheshunt Ultras, he did just that, beating the keepers despairing dive , only to see his shot rebound off the inside of the post, however….fastest to react was Zack Newton racing in to slot his sixth goal in five games.
The rain continued to drive down & credit must go to both teams & officials for their play in difficult conditions, The slick surface suited Cheshunt’s fast passing game, while Brightlingsea sought to overload the Cheshunt right with their extra man but, with the exception of one long range shot turned around the post expertly by George Marsh, the Cheshunt defence stood firm. Mo Camara continued to make his presence felt in the centre of the pitch, winning his headers & holding up the ball well until his colleagues became available, and it was he who was fouled on the edge of the Regent box as frustration saw a defender attempting an impossible challenge from behind, in a dangerous position. Ken Charles struck the 25 yard free kick, dipping late it beat the keeper to his left to make the points safe, and make Charles top goal scorer for Cheshunt, and moving him into the top three sharpshooters for the League.
Video clips of all the goals, photos, line ups & match day programme all available in the Match Centre here