Casey Cooper-Fiske reports on the last game of the season for Thamesmead in the Ryman Division One North.
A youthful Thamesmead Town ended their 2016 season with a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Brightlingsea Regent.
The Mead fans turned out in force on the last day to see temporary player-manager Andy Walker blooded a number of young Thamesmead players who could feature in future first teams.
Despite top-half finishes for both sides, neither had anything to play for after their promotion chases tailed off in the closing stages of the season.
The young hosts started well with top scorer Theo Fairweather-Johnson heading over early on from close range. A number of other half chances came his way in the opening 20 minutes but he was unable to add to his impressive tally for the season.
With the Mead enjoying a large spell of possession in the first half, Brightlingsea’s chances were limited. The away side’s best opening came when striker Jake Clowsely curled the ball just past the post from the edge of the box.
Minutes before half time Thamesmead were denied the opener by Regent keeper Sam Crowler, who showed great reflexes to turn away Fairweather-Johnson’s well struck volley from a tight angle.
In the second half, the Mead were clinically punished for their casual play just after the hour mark, when Clowsley robbed defender Joe Vines to go one on one with Andy Walker and coolly tuck the ball away.
Brightlingsea doubled their lead four minutes later, as Phil Kelly’s blistering run ended with a well-placed finish past the experienced Walker.
Lee Prescott came close for Thamesmead, as his well-struck low drive from range scraped the post and went wide.
It was a disappointing end to a disappointing season for Thamesmead despite a late charge for the playoffs.