Thurlow Nunn League division one south

Halstead Town returned to the summit of the Thurlow Nunn League division one south table as they ended Harwich & Parkeston’s stunning run of form in a blood and thunder local derby at the Milbank Stadium.

A Callum Vincent penalty and a superb Kane Munday strike in the first half saw the Humbugs run out as 2-0 winners to go top of the league on goal difference.

Harwich came into the game on the back of a 12-game winning run that had equalled a post-war club record and the last club to beat them had been Halstead with a 3-2 victory at the Royal Oak in October.

And with both sides pressing for promotion – Halstead in third and Harwich in fourth – everything was set for a superb bit of Friday night Thurlow Nunn League division one south action.

The game got under way with both sides looking to get on the front foot and it quickly became apparent that this encounter wouldn’t end in a 0-0 stalemate.

Harwich found their stride first and the pace up front of Tyler Rose and Jordan Heath looked a potent weapon, however, the Halstead back line was solid and kept them shackled.

There was one early decision for referee John Hyde to make as Heath tangled with Humbugs full-back Liam Whipps in the area and went over but the official waved away Shrimper calls for a penalty.

It was a let-off for the hosts, who started to come into the game more themselves and it was actually they who began crafting the more threatening chances.

That saw Harwich keeper Sam Felgate having to make a good stop to deny Jake Brown and Jordan Pavett had the ball in the back of the net but was denied a goal by a raised offside flag.

At the other end, Harwich stayed dangerous on the break and also from set pieces, with Sahun Kioussis firing just past the post from a free-kick.

However, it was Halstead who took the lead on 35 minutes.

The goal came when a through ball from Callum Vincent set Chris Harris free but he was brought down by Bradley Westley and Vincent stepped up to convert from the spot.

With the opening goal behind them, Halstead looked to add to their lead and it wasn’t long in coming.

Just four minutes had passed when some wonderful play by Brown saw him doggedly win the ball on the edge of the Harwich area and play it square to where Kane Munday was waiting to curl a delightful shot into the top corner.

It gave Halstead a two-goal lead that they held on to until half-time, but the remaining part of the opening 45 minutes developed into a feisty affair and a number of yellow cards were brandished to players on both sides.

The game stayed tight and tense after the break, with Halstead having to repel some early pressure, but they managed to shut the visitors out in the key opening spell.

With the early threat negotiated, Halstead started to push forward again themselves and Felgate was need to make a save when Harris met a lovely cross from Pavett with a close-range header.

The end-to-end nature of the game remained though, and Harwich’s frustration grew as they hit the woodwork on 60 minutes.

A lovely through ball into Rose set off a good Shrimpers attack and after the ball was spread to Ryan Heath, his shot was deflected on to the post as he was closed down by the advancing Cherry.

It was the Harwich goal that began to see more action, though, as the play became stretched and the Humbugs did a good job of taking the sting out of the game.

But they still had to be alert at the back and Cherry rescued them after some poor defending saw them fail to clear their lines and a cracking shot by Jordan Heath had to be kept out by a brilliant save from Cherry.

It meant Halstead held on to their lead and were able to see out the encounter as they ended Harwich’s amazing run of wins.

And the three points earned also took Halstead back to the top of the table – at least until Saturday’s Thurlow Nunn League division one south action.

Halstead Town: Jack Cherry, Curtis Abel, Liam Whipps, Garry Burdett, Ben Morgan, Jake Brown, Callum Vincent (Ross McLIntock), Jamie Baker, Chris Harris, Jordan Pavett, Kane Munday (Nick Miller). Subs not used: Charlie Pleace.

Harwich & Parkeston: Sam Felgate, Bradley Westley, Harry Johnstone, Shuan Kioussis (Jake Kioussis), Harvey Cowler, Joe Boreham-Knight, Ryan Heath (Sean Mathurian), Jamie Beecham, Jordan Heath, Elliott Johnson, Tyler Rose (Robert Good). Subs not used: Tonye Joseph, Harry Harvey.

Referee: John Hyde.