TOM Richardson scored a precious winner as BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT pipped Wingate and Finchley 1-0 tonight.

It was their first victory in five league and cup outings – they had lost three and drawn one of the previous four – and a timely clean sheet after heavy defeats against the likes of Billericay Town and AFC Sudbury.

Richardson’s winner came just before the hour-mark and was a clinical finish.

After connecting with a through ball, the striker prodded it past the onrushing goalkeeper before lashing into an empty net.

The Bostik League premier division victory was no more than Regent deserved, having created several other excellent chances.

Aaron Condon fired over in the first few minutes and Robbie Harvey saw another early shot well-saved by keeper Shane Gore.

Richardson was denied by the shot-stopper on the half-hour mark and Gore came to his side’s rescue again at the end of the first half, saving a low effort from Phil Kelly.

Richardson’s goal broke the deadlock and full-back Robbie Rees so nearly gave the hosts breathing space – only to see his pile-driver tipped onto the bar from 30 yards.

Elsewhere tonight, in division north, Ryan Clampin bagged a hat-trick as MALDON AND TIPTREE romped to a 5-2 victory at Brentwood Town.

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and Kieron Bailey were also on target for the Jammers.

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS and Metropolitan Police met in an FA Cup second qualifying round replay and the tie finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Juan Luque had put Jody Brown’s side ahead but with no further goals in extra time, a penalty shoot-out was needed to decide who would go through. Swifts held their nerve to prevail 4-3.

In the FA Vase second qualifying round, COGGESHALL TOWN defeated Redbridge 3-1. Nnamdi Nwachuku scored twice for the Seedgrowers.

Lee Clowsley scored a late leveller as FC CLACTON came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Stowmarket Town, in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division. Sam Newson scored both goals as BRANTHAM ATHLETIC won 2-0 at Hadleigh United.

In division one, HALSTEAD TOWN lost 2-1 at home to Team Bury, having taken the lead through Adam Hampson.