The Mead recovered from a goal down to provide an upset in the First Qualifying Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Last season’s Ryman North Champions Brightlingsea Regent arrived in Kent mid table in the Premier Division though still looking to fully recover from their managers recent departure to Aveley. Not that they looked on the back foot in the opening exchanges and duly took the lead when Condon side footed home. It was a lead that lasted barely two minutes as Alex Teniola’s neat touch played in Laurent Mendy who did the rest from the angle. The Mead took control of the second half and deservedly went ahead when Bode Anidugbe crashed home spectacularly from distance before Ellis Green provided the icing on a terrific performance by drilling home from the edge of the box.
It was clear from the outset that the two sides were well matched from the start and early chances were at a premium with the Mead’s best coming after Joe Denny’s header out of defence fell to Alex who combined with Ellis before racing into the box to get on the end of the cross to test Regent keeper Cowler with a header.
Brightlingsea then showed the home side as they took the lead out of the blue when Conlon was on hand to turn home Rees’ low cross at the back post unopposed. The response was as brilliant as it was instant – Laurent firing home after Alex’s delightful touch had played him. The Mead had been behind for only 142 seconds – thanks to Stephen McCartney from Kentish Football for the timing.
Paul Vines then went close before Harvey drilled in a shot just wide for the visitors, before Brightlingsea had two great chances at the end of the half. First a combination of Joe and keeper Lewis Carey ensured Ricky Griggs didn’t poke his shot over the line, before some dreadful defending presented Hunt with a glorious chance which he could only blaze wide.
The home side went close to scoring inside the opening five minutes when Leon Smith launched a long throw into the box, and vis Scott Kinch’s great flick, Alex just couldn’t poke his effort inside the post!
Cowler then denied Alex again, before the Mead finally went in front – and how! Bode collected the ball from Ellis before firing spectacularly into the top corner giving the Regent keeper no chance as the ball arrowed into the visitor’s net. Moments later, Bode went close again with another drive that went just the wrong side of the post before Vinesy was denied by a smart Cowler save.
With the Mead moments away from the next round, the contest was decided in sixty seconds as first Lewis pulled off a world class save to deny Condon’s low free kick, before Ellis put the icing on a tremendous Mead performance at the other end as Vinesy found him in space and his left foot did the rest as Cowler was again beaten spectacularly from distance as the Mead’s place in Monday’s draw was secured.
That’s one defeat in seven now for the Mead but this was perhaps the sides best performance in that time as the squad now look to their first week off in six!
THE MEAD: Carey, Brand, McIntyre, Avery, Smith, Denny (Kinch 46), Mendy, Anidugbe, Vines, Teniola (Duyile 70), Green.
Updated 22:26 - 31 Oct 2017 by MIKE GREEN
Subs: Ajala & Ovenden