HARWICH and Parkeston were beaten 2-1 by unbeaten Benfleet in their latest Thurlow Nunn League first division south fixture.

Sadly the Shrimpers yet again returned pointless despite putting in yet another improved performance, at Canvey Island FC.

Even the Benfleet management team were in agreement that Harwich had undoubtedly deserved a share of the spoils at the minimum, with missed chances again proving very costly.

Benfleet netted twice inside two minutes midway through the second half to cancel out the first-half Harwich goal to snatch the points.

Pre-match preparation is now very much changed due to Covid-19 restrictions with only six players changing at a time in the dressing room and most pre-match team and half-time team-talks being done on the pitch.

Harwich welcomed back Elwin Lartley and Wayne Blackman and both players were very influential in their improvement, with Brad Westley moving into a holding midfield position and having another outstanding game.

Harwich were clearly the better side in the opening period with Charlie Lindoe and Adam Hampson causing the Benfleet defence a lot of issues.

But they failed to turn this pressure into goals until a moment of sheer opportunism from Harry Miller gave Harwich a deserved lead.

Lindoe did well down the left and his excellent cross was headed to the end of the six-yard box and Miller scored with a sensational overhead kick.

The opening period had not seen the best of the Benfleet attack with Sam Felgate rarely troubled.

The second period opened very similar with a Harwich looking very dangerous on the break but still no increase in scoreline.

But Benfleet had made a substitution bringing on striker Bobby Bird and he seemed to bring Benfleet back to life with his pace up front.

In the 70th minute Benfleet equalised in very bizarre circumstances.

A free-kick was floated to the far post and Billy Latto did well to get his head to the ball to head away from the goal.

But it struck Ben Foord in the face and rebounded back into the net with the player knowing nothing about it.

That epitomised Harwich's luck at the moment and worse was still to come a few minutes later when Miller unnecessarily gave the ball away too easily.

It caught many Harwich players out of position and a long ball over the defence allowed Bird to race clear, round Sam Felgate and fire home.

Harwich kept pushing for an equaliser but failed to penetrate the home defence.

However, they were unlucky five minutes from the end when a thunderous shot from Billy Latto looked fully destined to the top corner but the home goalkeeper made a top class save to turn the ball over the bar.

That finally finalised Harwich’s fate with yet another encouraging performance against unbeaten opposition but yet another narrow defeat.

It has left the Shrimpers still looking for their first win of the season but based on this 90 minutes, it shouldn’t be far away.

Harwich host Barkingside at the R.Gwinnell and Sons Royal Oak tomorrow (3pm kick-off) and then travel to Wivenhoe next Tuesday (7.30pm kick-off).