BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent boss Tom Rothery has challenged his players to kickstart another winning run.

The R’s were brought back to earth after sliding to a 2-0 defeat at home to Worthing, in the Bostik League premier division on Tuesday night.

It burst their bubble after a run of just one defeat in ten matches – and five straight home wins – which has driven them from the relegation zone up to 11th.

However, they are still three points from the play-offs – and still 11th - heading into Saturday’s match at relegation-haunted Wingate and Finchley.

“When you’re on a winning run, you want to keep it going as long as possible,” said Rothery.

“But eight weeks ago, when things weren’t going so well, I’d have been delighted to find ourselves on 38 points.

“We’re still in a great position but now it’s about how we react and that’s what I said to the players afterwards.

“It’s critical.

“Do we end up losing three or four on the bounce or do we get back on it and start winning again?

“We have to respond well but it’ll be a tough match on Saturday.

“Wingate are better than third from bottom and scrapping to get out of the relegation zone.”

Regent made a poor start to Tuesday’s game after Ollie Pearce’s early drive put Worthing ahead.

Jalen Jones then nodded home from close range on 67 minutes.

Rothery admits his side were far from their best but felt they will play worse and win.

“The way we started cost us, because it put us on the back foot,” he said.

“We were sloppy in possession, dumped the ball into areas and didn’t work hard enough for 20 to 25 minutes.

“Then from the 25th to 70th minutes, it felt like we were on top and created chances, without being at our best or peppering their goal.

“However, we conceded another poor goal, giving the ball away and presenting them with a free header, which was very frustrating.

“Overall, though, I think we’ll play worse and win.

“I can’t be too hard because of the run we’ve been on and I don’t like criticising my players.

“But it’s all about standards and, for me, if we’d played to our levels from the start, we’d have won the game.

“As a team, we’ve got to do better.

“We made the wrong options in the final third and wanted an extra touch.

“It’s hard when you’re disappointed but sometimes you have to draw a line under a game and move on.

"Maybe that’s what we have to do after Tuesday.”

Harry Morgan is suspended for Saturday’s game, having been sent off in last weekend’s 2-0 victory against Folkestone Invicta.

Jake Gould, who saw red after picking up two bookings in midweek, will miss the home match with Whitehawk on February 2.