Cray Wanderers look to keep up their unbeaten start to the season away from home in the Isthmian Premier as they travel to Brightlingsea Regent. Kick off at the Taydal Stadium is 3pm.
Cray made it six unbeaten in the league and moved up to 4th in the league table after a 1-0 win at Wingate & Finchley on Tuesday night. Joel Rollinson kept up his goal a game ratio with a third minute strike, his second in two games to set Cray on the way to victory. The Wands had chances in the first half to extend their lead but in the second half the defence came into play with Mitchell Nelson and Jay Leader superb at the back to help fend off a lively Wingate & Finchley side.
Tony Russell’s side move on to 28 points from 16 games played with Joe Taylor impressive up front with 19 goals for the season and despite injuries to the likes of Tom Murphy, Tom Phipp and Jerome Federico in recent weeks the club have knuckled down well and with Rollinson adding some punch already and with the likes of Lee Lewis, Bradley Pritchard all playing well in midfield the team are looking strong. Cray will be without a match on the 23rd November due to Hornchurch’s continued participation in the FA Trophy so will be pleased of the rest but first will need to negotiate another tough trip to the Essex coast to take on Brightlingsea Regent.
Brightlingsea who finished 13th in their second season in the Isthmian Premier have made a slow start to this campaign and without a win in 8 in the league and lie 21st on 9 points coming into the game but were the first side this season to beat Hornchurch and will provide a stern test. The club changed manager in October with ex-Colchester United midfielder Kem Izzet taking over from Tom Rothery. The club have also added to their side in recent weeks with George Bugg (Witham Town), Reece Dobson (Coggleshall) and Morisi Gelashvili (East Thurrock United) coming to the club. Top scorer is Billy Hunt with 3 goals in the league.
At home Brightlingsea’s only win came against Hornchurch (1-0) on August Bank Holiday Monday. They drew with Merstham (0-0) and Wingate & Finchley (1-1) and were beaten by Bowers & Pitsea (2-4), Horsham (0-4), Lewes (2-3), Enfield Town (0-2) and Kingstonian (0-2) in their last league game on 2nd November. Away from home Regent won at Corinthian Casuals (1-0) and drew at Margate (0-0) and were beaten at Haringey Borough, East Thurrock United, Folkestone Invicta and Worthing. In the FA Cup Brightlingsea were beaten in the 1st Qualifying Round at Cheshunt and in the FA Trophy lost 1-2 in the 1st Qualifying Round at home to Royston Town
Games between the sides have been few with just the four in the Isthmian North with strangely all four games being won by the away side with two wins apiece. The last time the two sides met was on 5th March 2016 at Brightlingsea with Cray winning 2-1 with goals from Lea Dawson and a Grant Basey penalty.
Brightlingsea Regent were formed only in 2005 following a merger of Brightlingsea United and the youth club Regent Park Rangers. Brightlingsea United had been playing in the Essex and Suffolk Border League (Step 7) at the time of the merger. The original club were founded in 1928 and had played in the Essex and Suffolk Border League until 1972 when they joined the Essex Senior League. They won the Premier Division title back to back in 1988-89 and 1989-90 and went on to the Eastern Counties League gaining promotion to the Premier in 1990-91. In 2003 they left the league and two years later they began again as the new Brightlingsea Regent club. They won back to back promotions and in 2010-11 won promotion to Division One of the Eastern Counties League. In 2012-13 they achieved another promotion to the Premier Division and the following season finished runners up and were promoted to Div One North of the Isthmian League where they met Cray Wanderers for the first time. They twice came close to reaching the playoffs before in 2016-17 they won the North Division title and gained promotion to the Isthmian Premier. They finished 20th in their first season at this level but comfortably clear of relegation and last season finished 13th, their highest ever league placing.
This should be another entertaining game as Cray look to maintain their playoff push and a great start to the season.
DIRECTIONS TO BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT FC
The Taydal Stadium, North Road, Brightlingsea, Essex CO7 0PL
Adult Entry (over 16) £11.00
Concession £ 7.00
12 to 16 year old £ 4.00
Under 12 year old Free
By Car: From the A12 turn off at Junction 29 For the A120 Colchester/Clacton, then turn onto left slip road, signposted Colchester. At the roundabout take the third exit onto Ipswich Road A1232, follow this road and at the second roundabout take the left turn onto the A133 St Andrews Avenue. This will continue on and take you to Brightlingsea/Wivenhoe, follow this road until turning right onto the B1027 Colchester Road heading to Wivenhoe. Continue along the B1027 road and follow into Brightlingsea. Once in Brightlingsea you will pass the Colne School. Continue on this road for 500 yards, opposite Jimmy Mac’s Plaice turn left onto Ladysmith Avenue, then left again into Spring Road and then left again onto North Road where the ground is situated at the bottom of the road.
For coach travelers please park in Cinque Port Road and access the ground via Kent Close Entrance. Post code CO7 0PZ. You will not be able to access the ground via North Road.
Rail & Bus: The two nearest train stations to Brightlingsea are Alresford and Wivenhoe, you also have both Colchester stations which run trains more frequently. The bus service you require is the number 78 or 87 bus. This service runs between Colchester and Brightlingsea every 30 minutes, 20 past the hour and 10 to the hour. These buses will take you to Tesco’s on Brightlingsea High Street, turn up Queen Street, left into Spring Road and then right onto North Road where the ground is situated at the bottom of the road.
Nearest pubs: The club house at the ground based on our last two visits is excellent and warm and kindly service. If you have time on your hands as a bit of trek perhaps from our neck of the woods there is the Cherry Tree (29 Church Road) which does a terrific cooked breakfast by all accounts and also the Kings Head (41 Victoria Place) is highly rated and also has live music at the weekends if thinking of staying the night.
Also on Victoria Place is the Brewers Arms which also has live music sets. As a seaside venue there is also The Rosebud Pub and Seafood Restaurant (66 Hurst Green) which overlooks the docks and seafront. On our previous two visits the chippy has been a popular choice on arrival and Jimmy Mac’s Plaice on Church Road is highly recommended and the nearest to the ground.
Brightlingsea is a coastal town situated between Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea at the mouth of the River Colne. At one time the town was linked to shipbuilding and fishing and was linked to Sandwich as one of the Cinque ports. Nowadays it is a holiday resort with a nice harbour and has one of the few open air lido’s still active. The town is steeped in history and is home to Batemans Tower which is by the Creek and had a railway station at Brigthlingsea which was closed following the Beeching Report of 1963 and is now the Railway Tavern and Micro-Brewery.