No reward for Romford at Regent
PUBLISHED: 18:52 09 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:44 11 January 2016
Ryman North: Brightlingsea Regent 3 Romford 1
Romford returned empty-handed from Brightlingsea once again as in-form Regent claimed the spoils at North Road.
Boro had been trailing 2-0 when floodlight failure forced the abandonment of the corresponding fixture last season, before losing 3-1 on their return to the Essex coast.
And history repeated itself as Paul Martin’s men went down by the same margin against a Brightlingsea side pushing for a promotion play-off place.
The visitors had a let-off with only four minutes gone when Michael Gooch made an unconvincing save to keep out Phil Kelly’s low shot, then saw Russell Malton cross the loose ball to the far post where Shamido Pedulu blazed over.
The respite was brief as the home side opened the scoring on eight minutes when Kelly met a corner with a downward header that flew into the net, but the Regent striker had to be spoken to by referee Thomas Ramsey, along with Boro defender Moshood Olafunmishe, after the pair clashed off the ball.
Regent captain Matt Cripps saw his attempted lob land on the top of Gooch’s net from another corner on 14 minutes, before Akwasi Marfo crossed from the left and George Tubey sliced horribly wide at the other end.
Malton lifted the ball over the crossbar from Kelly’s lay-off, before Boro got back on level terms on 25 minutes.
Nick Reynolds saw his long throw-in flicked on by Olafunmishe, but Joe Scott failed to make contact with his volley and Marfo had to retrieve the loose ball on the left.
Marfo sent the ball back to the edge of the box and if found its way to Reynolds, who kept his composure to slot a shot under the body of Ollie Bowles to level.
It was Romford’s first real sight of goal, but they had another escape when Pedulu produced a good run into the box but failed to find an end product.
Gooch produced a superb save to keep out a downward header for Josh Gould, from Jake Turner’s inswinging free-kick, but Boro did not heed the warning and Gould thumped home a header from a corner to restore his side’s lead on 39 minutes.
Turner saw another dangerous free-kick elude everyone in the box, after Tom Potter was penalised for a good tackle on Kelly, who was then denied by Gooch from Malton’s pass, before Potter headed Jake Gould’s follow-up attempt clear.
Tubey was booked just before the break for tripping Maldon and Jamie Dicks was shown a yellow card soon after the restart for a foul on Pedulu.
But Gooch kept Boro in the hunt with a double save from Turner and Malton after Kelly got clear on the right and sent a low cross to the near post.
Kelly raced on to a long ball on 57 minutes to force another save from Gooch, then Pedulu flashed a low ball across the face of the visiting goal and sent another shot wide.
Olafunmishe had his name taken for a foul on Regent substitute Jake Clowsley midway through the second half and Boro had an escape when Gooch’s poor clearance was picked up by Malton, who fired against the crossbar and saw the ball rebound off the face of the Boro keeper and behind for a corner.
Clowsley was cautioned for a late challenge on Ryan Boswell, that angered the Boro dugout, before Regent claimed their third goal on 77 minutes.
Malton got clear on the right and sent in a low cross for Kelly, but Gooch blocked his effort only to see Clowsley clip the ball goalwards at the far post beyond the desparate attempt of Robbie Norris to clear off the line.
Boro went close to a reply five minutes later when Olafunmishe, pushed into attack, nudged the ball on to Reynolds and he drew a fingertip save from Bowles with an angled left-footed drive.
And French debutant Talha Zakarija sent a half volley wide of the near post three minutes from time, before Regent’s Jake Phillips saw his first-time effort palmed around a post by the diving Gooch in stoppage time.
The home side deserved the points, but Boro – without injured captain Matt Frew – kept battling until the final whistle and will need to show more fighting qualities when they welcome leaders Sudbury to Ship Lane on Wednesday.
Romford: Gooch, Boswell, Dicks, Potter, Olafunmishe, Barry (Norris 71), Burgess (Giddings 71), Tubey (Zakarija 55), Reynolds, Scott, Marfo. Unused subs: Weemes, Taylor.