BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent boss Tom Rothery says his players can be hugely proud of their progress this season - even if they do always not get the credit and respect they deserve.

The R's finished their Bostik League premier division campaign with a 1-0 victory at home to Enfield Town on Saturday.

They ended 13th in the table - a huge achievement given the high standard and big budgets at step three level - as well as enjoying FA Cup and FA Trophy runs, in addition to winning the Tolleshunt D'Arcy Memorial Cup.

Rothery sees it as a year of progress but wishes his overachieving players got more recognition from outside the Regent bubble.

"I'm not saying everyone does it but a lot of people underestimate what we've achieved this season," he said.

"When we've won, the other team say we were lucky or that we caught them on an off-day.

"But I don't feel comments like that are fair or do us justice, because we work so hard to make life difficult for opponents.

"We're organised and there's an awful lot of talent within our squad - more than people give us credit for.

"We're always competitive but where we struggle is when players are out, or sometimes when we need to change things from the bench.

"Because of our budget, we haven't got the biggest squad and that's not me making excuses or wanting sympathy. It's reality.

"I'm always honest and respectful when it comes to analysing games but I don't think others can say the same."

Rothery believes his players have been competitive and consistent this season, with their best spell coming between December and February.

During that time they rocketed from the relegation zone into mid-table.

"Overall, it's been a very good season and the players deserve enormous credit," said the R's boss.

"We finished 13th, having had runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, as well as winning the Tolleshunt D'Arcy Memorial Cup.

"In some ways it sounds a bit perverse saying it's been a good season when you finish in mid-table.

"But it's a tough, unforgiving league and we've improved on last season.

"With our constraints, the first target will always be maintaining step three football which we managed comfortably.

"We've been competitive and both our home and away records are similar, which is a good thing as it shows consistency.

"I can only think of two or three occasions when we've been outplayed.

"Every other match has been nip-and-tuck, boiling down to fine margins, and, defensively, we've got a solid, experienced core.

"Our biggest problem has been scoring goals, apart from that spurt between December and February.

"That's something that needs to be addressed next season.

"We've definitely improved, though.

"We've become more resilient, harder to beat and conceded fewer goals.

"The players deserve great credit."

Assistant boss Pip Boyland scored a late winner against Enfield on Saturday.

Rothery added: "The season couldn’t have finished better for me.

"I know how tough he’s had it with injury so for Pip to pop up with a deserved winner put a nice cherry on the cake."