HARWICH and Parkeston were beaten 4-1 at Cornard United in Thurlow Nunn League first division north, writes TERRY FRANCIS.

With influential skipper Gareth Heath, leading goal scorer Luke Mayhew together with key defenders Harry Tuck and Mitchell Knight all unavailable, Shrimpers boss Sean Tynan faced a difficult task when revamping his line-up.

There was an even start to the match with Harwich's Jamie Beecham seeing his first-time shot dip just over the crossbar and at the other end, George Day being foiled by a late intervention.

Harwich strikers Beecham and Alfie Canning were feeding off headers from Jamie Eades and with 30 minutes gone, Canning gave the Shrimpers the lead when he followed up to net with a well placed drive, after his first-shot had been blocked.

With half-time approaching, the referee spotted a handball in the Harwich defence and Cornard skipper Scott Kemp equalised from the resultant penalty.

Fifteen minutes after the break, the Shrimpers defence were unable to clear a dangerous long cross and Day took advantage to give Cornard the lead.

Harwich had a chance to draw level but Dan Keeble's header went over the crossbar.

Shrimpers goalkeeper Brad Cook's handling had been good and he made a fine save to keep his side in contention.

With the midway stage of the half reached gaps appeared in the Harwich defence and experienced striker Lee Sonnex punished them twice with good finishes, both within a couple of minutes, that gave United an unassailable 4-1 lead.

On a disappointing day, one positive for Harwich was that after a lengthy spell out through injury striker Harry Miller made a return to the team, coming on from the substitutes' bench.

On Saturday, Harwich entertain Holbeach United at the Gwinnell & Sons Royal Oak, kick-off 3pm.

Harwich's recent lean spell has seen them drop to seventh place in the league table whereas in-form Holbeach have leapfrogged them and are now in fifth position, so this match is a chance for the Shrimpers to redress the situation.