HARWICH and Parkeston made the long journey to Fire United in Thurlow Nunn League division one south, hoping to return to winning ways after their recent defeat at Halstead Town.

They certainly succeeded in an emphatic manner, netting no fewer than six times in the first half with only a single response from Fire.

A lone second-half goal from Tyler Rose completed the rout, giving the Shrimpers an excellent 7-1 victory.

The weather throughout the week had put the game in doubt but, with a break in the freeze overnight on Friday, the pitch was declared playable.

However, the surface was dreadful.

Kick-off was delayed for ten minutes so uneven areas of the pitch could be repaired.

Even so, it was by far the worst surface Harwich had encountered this season.

Any thoughts that the diabolical conditions would be a great leveller were quickly dismissed as Harwich effectively ended the contest with four goals in the opening 20 minutes.

The home team were totally disorganised in defence and Harwich's forwards found plenty of space right from the outset.

It took only two minutes to open their account.

A through ball saw Jamie Beecham just beat the keeper to the ball and, as his shot rebounded off the keeper, Callum Griffith was first to the loose ball to fire into the roof of the net.

Jamie Beecham was instrumental in the second goal eight minutes later.

His through ball found Jordan Heath in space in the box before he was upended unceremoniously by a home defender.

Heath picked himself up off the ground to rifle home the resultant spot-kick.

It was all one-way traffic at this stage and, in the 12th minute, it became 3-0 when a great long through ball from Jake Kioussis switched play from one side of the pitch to the other.

Griffith raced through to shoot past the advancing keeper in fine style.

It didn’t take long for the fourth Harwich goal when Elliot Johnson escaped the offside trap and again finished effectively.

The home team then started to lose their discipline, seeing a rout on the horizon, and some of their tackling and off-the-ball behaviour kept the match referee busy.

After booking one player, the referee then was forced to send off a Fire midfielder who stamped on Ryan Heath after initially fouling him.

The referee was constantly delaying the game as he kept reprimanding the home players for fouling and dissent.

Harwich lost the returning Jake Kioussis through injury following this goal, with Harry Harvey substituting in the unaccustomed position of left-back.

In the 36th minute, Jordan Heath was once again fouled 25 yards out and this time Fire paid for their persistent fouling when Shaun Kioussis rifled home a thunderous free-kick.

A minute later it was 6-0 when skipper Jordan Heath netted from close range after Harvey Cowler had headed back into the danger area from beyond the far post, following a deep Ryan Heath corner.

Fire did pull one goal before the interval following poor marking in the central area of the Harwich defence.

The home team had been warned constantly by the referee in the latter stages of the opening half about their conduct and without a second-half improvement there was concern as to how many players they would have had on the pitch by the end of the game.

Referee J Goodman handled the situation well and everything changed after the break. Harwich made sure they didn’t antagonise or get involved and Fire behaved themselves probably after stern words from their frustrated manager.

Harwich lost Ryan Heath at the interval as a result of the injury he sustained in the stamping incident and Rose entered the fray.

The second half would be considered an anti-climax after the opening half.

Harwich stayed out of trouble, not wanting anymore injuries with all their substitutes used, and should certainly have added more to the scoreline than they did.

They allowed the home side a lot of possession in the central areas of the poor pitch but were rarely threatened, with Sam Felgate barely having a save to make.

Harwich had ample opportunity to increase the scoreline but poor finishing and some good goalkeeping meant the only goal of the half came in the 75th minute, when Rose found space out wide on the right and went on a solo run, cutting in goalwards before shooting home.

It was an important result for Harwich with key defenders Bradley Westley (working) and Joe Knight (first match of a two-game suspension) missing.

The management duo of Kieron Shelley and Michael Wallace were happy to get back to winning ways but well aware that a better all-round performance will be necessary for the hard trip to Wormley Rovers tomorrow.

Harwich held onto fourth place in the table as well as increasing their goal difference, which could be very important when the final league table is concluded at the end of the season.