BILLY Hunt was the two-goal hero as BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT made a dream start to 2018.

The R's halted their run of defeats with a much-needed and morale-boosting 2-1 victory at Lowestoft Town.

It put them 13th in the Bostik League premier division and ended their run of four straight defeats. Their last success had been a 5-2 win against Burgess Hill Town on November 21.

Tom Rothery's side had to do it the hard way after coming from behind, in front of a crowd of 341 at Crown Meadow.

Harvey Hodd put the hosts ahead after 19 minutes but Hunt restored parity just before the half-hour mark when a long ball into the box was knocked into his path by Aaron Condon.

The striker then grabbed his side's winner on 53 minutes, pouncing after Harry McDonald's shot was saved by Lowestoft keeper Ben Dudzinski.

Regent are back on their travels next weekend when they head to play-off chasing Metropolitan Police.

Elsewhere, there were two key fixtures of note in division north - including an Essex derby at the Village Glass Stadium where visitors MALDON AND TIPTREE ran out 2-1 winners against WITHAM TOWN.

It was the Jammers' fifth straight win and keeps them third in the table - four points behind second-placed Bowers and Pitsea and seven behind leaders AFC Hornchurch. Hornchurch have a game in hand on Maldon but Kevin Horlock's men have played two less than Bowers.

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe was their two-goal hero, first putting his side ahead from the penalty spot on 29 minutes.

Lance Akins looked to have rescued a point when he netted what appeared a precious winner six minutes from time.

However, Ogedi-Uzokwe - the top scorer in the north division - struck again in the closing seconds to secure the spoils for Maldon.

The Jammers, who visit bottom club Cheshunt on Saturday, must have been thankful to neighbours HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS, who defeated Bowers 2-0.

Jody Brown's side had a two-goal hero of their own, with Juan Luque grabbing both at the Aspen Waite Arena.

His strikes came in either half, in the 17th and 59 minutes.

Swifts are 14th in the table but they have only played 15 games - considerably less than all the other sides in the division.

They host Grays Athletic on Saturday while Witham, who are 13th, have a home date with play-off chasing Haringey Borough.

There were no Thurlow Nunn League fixtures on New Year's Day but BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES are in action on Tuesday night. The Young Irons have a home date with AFC Sudbury.

Braintree are sixth in division one while Sudbury are 13th.

Other Thurlow Nunn League sides, including Stanway Rovers, Wivenhoe Town and FC Clacton, next play on Saturday.