HARWICH and Parkeston had to settle for a 1-1 draw at promotion play-off rivals Holbeach United in Thurlow Nunn League first division north, writes COLIN ROGERS.

The Shrimpers held the lead from the fourth minute until the end of normal time but Holbeach then scored a late equaliser.

Disappointment for Harwich but Holbeach away is a tough assignment and the draw keeps the Shrimpers in fourth place.

Harwich made a great start and went ahead when Liam White's cross found Jamie Beecham who sent a deft header into the far corner of the net.

Shrimpers goalkeeper Brad Cook's handling proved first class throughout and at the other end, White's shot was tipped over by keeper Max Rigby.

Next it was Holbeach's turn to attack and Harwich central defender Mitch Knight did well to block a good effort.

With half an hour gone it was Harwich who were pressing and Canning had a really good shot pushed out by Rigby.

From skipper Gareth Heath's resultant corner, once again Rigby saved well.

Heath soon featured again with a clever through ball which set up Luke Mayhew with a one on one chance but Rigby rescued United.

With half-time approaching, Cook's long kick was flicked on by Canning's header for Beecham, whose shot went just wide.

Halstead went in at half-time deservedly ahead but Holbeach started the second half strongly.

The hosts had a long shot that hit a post but ten minutes later, Mayhew's well-taken shot failed to beat Rigby, after Heath had put him through.

Midway through the second half, Cook tipped a 25-yard free-kick over and also produced a wonder save by leaping to again turn the ball over, when a goal seemed certain.

Holbeach were testing Cook but Harwich were also still making chances and in the 80th minute, Dan Keeble's through ball to Mayhew forced Rigby back into action when he pushed the shot wide.

With the match going into stoppage time Harwich conceded a penalty and George Frost gave Cook no chance with his well-taken spot kick.

Cook gave an outstanding display of his goalkeeping skills whilst in a strong back four.

Mitch Knight and Jack Wood dominated in the air and until substituted, Alfie Canning worked his socks off.

In the 70th minute, Harwich's Jamie Beecham suffered a kidney injury in a collision which forced him to leave the field.

He was kept in hospital overnight and everyone at Harwich wishes him a good outcome and speedy recovery.

Harwich entertain Holbeach United on Saturday in the return fixture at the Gwinnell & Sons Royal Oak, kick-off 3pm.

The Shrimpers are also staging a special memorabilia day from 1pm and a bumper crowd is expected.

Harwich's under-23s visit Stowmarket Town under-23s in a top-of-the-table clash.

Harwich's first team host Needham Market under-23s next Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.