THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
Stowmarket Town 2
Halstead Town 1
Mark Benterman has insisted Halstead Town’s first league defeat of the season should not be considered ‘the end of the world’.
The Humbugs saw their unbeaten record in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division come to an end on Saturday after losing 2-1 away to second place Stowmarket Town.
Benterman’s side were ultimately undone by two goals inside the first 15 minutes, which gave the hosts an advantage they just would not surrender.
Halstead’s cause was not helped by the sending off of midfielder Julian Simon-Parson midway through the second half, but a headed goal from Lewis Cunliffe seconds later did give the visitors hope.
Despite playing with 10 men, Benterman’s side applied plenty of pressure for the rest of the contest, yet a second breakthrough proved elusive, resulting in their first league defeat of the season.
“It’s our first loss of the season in the league and we’re in November,” the Halstead manager said.
“It’s not the end of the world. (The result of this game) is not going to win you, or lose you, the title or promotion. We’re not downbeat and we’re not upset.
“We know we performed today. We switched off for 20 minutes in a 90-minute game and it cost us.
“We’re 12 games into a 40-game season so we’re not even halfway yet. There’s a long way to go and we’ll just keep ticking the games off.”
Halstead went to Stowmarket with the only unbeaten record left in the First Division, having won seven and drawn four of their 11 league fixtures so far.
The hosts had themselves tasted their first league defeat of the campaign the previous weekend, and manager Rick Andrews was looking for a reaction from his side after they slipped to back-to-back defeats during the week.
Steve Holder put Stow ahead with barely two minutes on the clock, heading home the rebound from Ace Howell’s deflected shot which had been palmed away by Halstead goalkeeper Joe Fowler.
The Humbugs then slipped further behind when Jack Baker’s free-kick was headed in by Duane Wright, as Stowmarket took a commanding 2-0 lead with less than 15 minutes on the clock.
Halstead were reduced to 10 men when Simon-Parson saw red for kicking out after being fouled, with the resultant free-kick being converted by Cunliffe, but despite their best efforts an equaliser never materialised.
Halstead Town: Fowler, Hutchings (Cook 72), Spriggs (c), Wilderspin, Cunliffe, Simon-Parson, Staines (Driver 61), Brown, Runnicles (McIlwaire 61), Murray, Warren. Subs not used: Pleace, Geddis. MOTM: Staines.