BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent boss Tom Rothery believes his players made an eye-catching statement against promotion-chasing Bognor Regis Town.

The Rocks are just outside the Bostik League premier division play-off places and hunting an immediate return to National League South.

However, Regent gave them a night to forget on Tuesday, winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Harvey Hodd, Jordan Barnett and Billy Hunt.

Regent climbed to 13th in the process and, intriguingly, they are only six points adrift of the play-offs and fifth-placed Lewes.

“It’s one of our best results of the season and hopefully it sends a bit of a message out to the rest of the league,” Rothery told the Gazette.

“We’re on a great run, there’s belief in the dressing room and when we have momentum we’re hard to stop.

“We’re winning games, and learning how to win games, and building real confidence.

“It’s oozing through the team and the boys are enjoying their football, playing with smiles on their faces.

“We don’t want to get above our station because there’s still a long way to go but, at the same time, we don’t want to be a bottom-half side.”

Regent nosed in front after 25 minutes.

Ricky Griggs’ deep corner was headed away to the edge of the box and Hodd took a touch before drilling beyond keeper Daniel Lincoln.

His effort was aided by a deflection but it was a powerful effort from the wide man, who was also on target in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Tonbridge Angels.

Brightlingsea made an excellent start to the second half and doubled their lead in the 50th minute.

Hunt burst clear down the left and unselfishly squared for Barnett, who coolly stroked home from close range.

Hunt then slotted home in the closing seconds with a low, precision effort into the bottom right-hand corner.

“It’s great because I look at the likes of Bognor and Tonbridge as a benchmark; because of their management, players and experience within their squads. They understand this league,” added Rothery.

“If you want to stay at this level, you have to compete with these teams and that was my challenge to the players – are we good enough to go toe-to-toe with them?

“Having taken four points from the two games, we showed we can.

“Bognor are a very good side but I wanted to keep the same positive shape and formation, because of the way we’ve been playing.

“Then I changed it because I thought they were passing the ball around us too easily.

“They had a lot of possession but we started to press them in better areas, turning the ball over, and that allowed us to create opportunities.

“We had a lot of chances and much of that was down to working hard off the ball, to regain possession, and playing well when we did have it.

“I don’t think many teams will create as many chances against Bognor.

“It was a real team effort and we had to stay disciplined and keep our shape.

“Collectively, we did that and if one or two hadn’t we wouldn’t have won the game."