LITTLE Oakley were beaten 2-1 by Halstead Town in their latest Essex Senior League match, writes LARRY DOBKIN.

The game's first chance came in the 15th minute where a pass played with pace came to the feet of Harry Mann whose excellent first touch gave him a shooting opportunity.

But Halstead keeper Jack Cherry made himself big, forcing Mann’s shot wide of the post.

With Halstead slightly in front on possession, a swift move down the wing was deflected out by Adie Cant for a corner.

The corner was driven in the box and was met by Robbie Bennett with a downward header that went narrowly wide.

After a poor tackle by Cant, a minor skirmish broke out with Halstead's Alfie Cleal.

Strangely the referee took a lenient view of the incident, booking Cant and allowing Cleal off with only a word.

Oakley fell behind when a corner was floated to the near post and met by Kane Gilbert who headed the visitors in front.

The strengthening fog was hampering the play and reducing visibility.

Oakley went in at the break trailing but came out with a positive attitude and were quickly on the attack.

A foul 20 yards from goal gave Cant the opportunity for a strike at goal.

Cant managed to get the ball up and over the wall, but the large frame of Cherry made the save look easy.

The next ten minutes saw Oakley getting nearer to scoring and they levelled when Mann intercepted a pass which was going across the Halstead back line and fired home a powerful shot.

A late tackle from Cleal gained him a yellow card which could have been red, considering the previous incident with Cant.

The best move of the game saw an eight-pass link up end up at Rowe's feet in on goal but Cherry came off of his line, quickly saving the shot with his feet.

With the game limping to a draw, a long clearance from Town went to Lawler who waited for the ball to go out of play.

But the ball stopped on the byline and as he tried to fall on the ball, it bounced out of Lawler's grasp and straight into the path of Gilbert who calmly walked the ball into the net to score what proved to be Halstead's winner.

Oakey player of the game was Dan Rowe who worked hard for the team and was unlucky not to score.