A 54th-minute strike from former FC Clacton striker Aaron Condon against his old club proved to be the only goal of the game as he helped to earn Tolleshunt D’Arcy Memorial Cup silverware for Brightlingsea Regent.
It took a single goal for Regent to emerge victorious in the invitational competition, which has been running since 1933 and currently raises money for the Essex County FA’s Benevolent Fund. Traditionally open to sides within a ten-mile radius of the village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy, the geographical parameters have been slightly extended in recent years.
On 24 minutes the first real chance of the night saw Brightlingsea’s Condon latch onto a lobbed ball forward, dipping a shot just over the crossbar. A few minutes later they went close again, with Condon involved once more. This time he arrowed an effort narrowly wide of the near post from Billy Hunt’s cut back as Brightlingsea grabbed hold of the match.
The proceedings were all-square at the interval but it took just nine minutes of the second half for Regent to make the game’s main impact. The troublesome Condon picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area, cut in from the wing and fired inside the near post. Brightlingsea could have added a second on the hour mark when Ricky Griggs sprinted into the area but struck just over the bar, then Condon went close again, volleying inches too high.
Clacton rarely troubled home goalkeeper James Bradbrook but he did have a moment of concern in the 69th minute, Brad James hitting inches wide from range. Twelve minutes from the end Brightlingsea had a chance to wrap the game up through Hunt, who got through on goal but was denied by a good block from ‘keeper Joe Fowler. However, Regent maintained their slender advantage so skipper Matt Cripps could hold the trophy aloft at full time.
Brightlingsea Regent: James Bradbrook, Jake Gould, George Keys, Josh Gould, Matt Cripps (C), James Love, Ricky Griggs, Jake Turner, Billy Hunt, Aaron Condon, Robert Harvey. Substitutes: Jake Clowsley, Michael Gage, Thomas Dunningham, Terry Amass, Dillon O’Connor.
FC Clacton: Joe Fowler, Charlie Thompson, Brad James, Wayne Chapman (C), Steve Downes, Lee Clowsley, Jake Plane, Billy Wales, Terry Rymer, Matt Eve, Charlie Lindoe. Substitutes: Jordan Brazitis, Harvey Cowler, Jenson Mulqueen, Dan Whittle, Adam Daniels.
Referee: Joe Wrigley (Halstead).
Assistant Referees: Nathan Williamson (Witham) and Thomas Beattie (Colchester).
Fourth Official: Jack Willmore (Clacton).