HARWICH and Parkeston were narrowly beaten 2-1 at Tiptree Heath in their first pre-season friendly, writes TERRY FRANCIS.

Heath finished Essex and Suffolk Border League runners-up last season and have ambitions to gain promotion this term and return senior football to Tiptree.

The match, which was played on Thurstable School's 4G all-weather pitch, was split into three 30-minute periods.

Harwich arrived with a big squad, composed of senior and youth players.

The Shrimpers were without skipper Gareth Heath and regulars Jack Wood, Shaun Kioussis, Brandon Rusby and Luke Mayhew but included new signings Tyler Sullivan and Liam White.

The first period saw Tiptree take the lead when they pounced on a defensive error and netted with a well-taken finish.

After a break, the second period was goal-less but the final 30 minutes produced two excellent goals.

Joe Knight equalised with a superb 25-yard drive angled into the far corner of the net.

Within a few minutes, Tiptree regained the lead following a neat move, perfect cross and a deft finish to eventually run out 2-1 winners.

Harwich boss Sean Tynan gave all of the squad a good run-out with the bright spots including a good showing from young central defender Max Carter and a stand-out performance from teenage reserve, goalkeeper Matt Humphreys.

Harwich entertain neighbours Little Oakley at the Gwinnell & Sons Royal on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

The fixture is a Memorial Cup match in memory of the clubs' much-loved presidents, Norman Mann and Tim Gooch.

A bumper crowd is expected with the proceeds to be equally split between the families' chosen charities, Diabetes UK and the Salvation Army, Harwich.