BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent boss Tom Rothery has hailed the "conviction" of in-form Jake Turner - and believes the midfielder deserved his goal in Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Merstham.

The R's were trailing at the break in Saturday's Bostik League premier division contest but rescued a deserved point when Turner notched on the hour-mark, steering home a lobbed pass from Aaron Condon.

Rothery felt it was a well-earned goal for the midfield maestro, who played on the front foot throughout.

“Jake was outstanding," said the Regent boss.

“He’s in really good form at the moment and I’ve been saying that since December.

“He’s always on the front foot and got his reward with that goal.

“Some of the other players didn’t quite know whether to push forward or sit back. Almost a stick or twist situation.

“But Jake did everything with conviction and that’s why he got the goal.

“Given the players we had out, I was pleased with the point, especially given the first half when we found ourselves behind.

“Merstham are a good footballing side and I always knew it was going to be tough.

“But we don’t seem to be getting decisions go our way at the moment and while we needed to defend their goal better, there was clearly a handball in the build-up.

“The referee had the whistle in his mouth but for some reason didn’t blow up.

“Only he knows why and a few seconds later we’re picking the ball out of our net.

“Even so, I thought we came out and did well in the second half."

Rothery felt his side tried to impose themselves more after the break, which is why they were good value for their point.

“In the first half, it was like the players didn’t know whether to really go for it or sit off," he said.

"They got caught in no-man’s land and were a bit tentative.

“But we changed our shape a bit after the break and did really well.

"It was a great reaction from the players and they really went for it.

“We had a stonewall penalty turned down and had it happened anywhere else on the pitch it would have been a foul.

“The games are so tight that those minute details make such a difference.”

Regent have now played promotion-chasing Merstham and second-placed Haringey Borough in the last week, having unluckily lost 2-1 at Coles Park last Monday night.

Rothery believes his side's performances against both show how far they have come.

“Once again, it just goes to show that we can compete with the top teams," he said.

“With players out, we’ve gone toe-to-toe with two of them in a week.

“We’ve only got a small squad so it’s hard to lose top players like Billy Hunt, Billy Jones and Harvey Hodd (as was the case on Saturday).

“But as I always say, that situation creates openings for others.”

Midfielder Jordan Barnett was allowed to leave hospital on Saturday evening, having been carried off on a stretcher during the Merstham game.

He took a nasty blow to the side of his head and was knocked out cold.

He was taken by ambulance from North Road to Colchester General, where he had a precautionary CT scan.