Avis brace hands McLean first home win at Halstead

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THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION

Halstead Town 3

Cornard United 1

Halstead Town returned to winning ways after beating local rivals Cornard United 3-1, handing new boss Mark McLean his first home win.

The Humbugs got off to a flying start and were piling on the pressure, with the only surprise that it took until the eighth minute for them to open their account.

A Marcus Warren corner fell to Jamie Hudson on the edge of the box and his shot was intercepted by Nick Wilderspin, who swivelled and hammered the ball past the visiting keeper.

Halstead’s cause was seemingly assisted in the 24th minute when Cornard were reduced to ten men, following a reckless challenge by Jake Buckland on Jake Brown, for which the referee immediately brandished a red card.

The home side made the man advantage count as they doubled their lead within a minute of the restart.

Aaron Donaldson broke through and his effort was blocked by the Cornard goalkeeper, but Shaun Avis turned home the rebound to make it 2-0 to the Humbugs.

Cornard, to their credit, fought back and took control of the game, with their efforts rewarded in the 56th minute when substitute Daniel Brown found the target to pull a goal back for the visitors.

The game continued with the Ards looking for an equaliser and Halstead playing on the break, but neither side produced any real chances until the final minute.

It was the hosts, again on the break, who finally put the game to bed and once again it was through that man Avis.

He got away from the defenders again and his goal-bound shot took a wicked deflection, which left the Cornard goalkeeper with no chance.

n On Tuesday night, Halstead bowed out of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division Knockout Cup after losing 2-0 at home to high-flying Coggeshall Town.

It was a notable game for Halstead’s inspirational skipper Lewis Cunliffe, who made his 200th appearance for the club and was presented with a commemorative plaque before the game.

n The Humbugs (9th) return to league action when they visit AFC Sudbury Reserves at The Wardale Williams Stadium tomorrow night (7.45pm).

n Elsewhere in the First Division, Cornard will be looking to end a run of four straight defeats when they host Wisbech St Mary at Blackhouse Lane on Saturday (3pm).

Chris Tracey’s side have slipped down to 15th in the table following their recent run of results, but could climb two places if they win and other results go their way.