Cornard United 2
Halstead Town 3
THIS was a thrilling Friday night derby, and it needed five minutes of injury time for Halstead to finally overcome a spirited Cornard at Blackhouse Lane.
Halstead started brightly, going ahead through a Lee Hurkett free-kick on 13 minutes and he was unlucky not to double his tally minutes later, firing a 30 yard volley into the side netting.
It was all Halstead, but they were made to pay for their misses when an unmarked Emeka Nwaybani levelled easily on 30 minutes. He too was unlucky not to double his tally, firing over moments later.
The second half followed suit - Halstead peppered the Cornard goal but still they held out.
Then they broke out of defence through Nwaybani. He ran the length of the pitch, rounded two defenders only to be foiled by the keeper. Clumsily, the ball was cleared in to the air to Cornard defender James Beckett. He lined himself up like a Brazilian and volleyed the ball from 30 yards with the outside of his foot, swerving it around the defence and into the net for a contender for goal of the season, on 85 minutes.
However, Cornard looked tired and Halstead knew it. They had already changed to 4-3-3 just before the goal, and coupled it with the most accurate bombardment of crosses and throw-ins from the flanks.
Cornard cracked three minutes later when Ross Elkins delivered a gem into area and the ball was laid off to John Root to strike a sweet shot from the edge of box.
Halstead sensed blood. They had had a number of chances to steal the points through Jordan Palmer. Then, deep into stoppage time, they won a throw-in, midway in the Cornard half.
Adam Smith launched the ball on to the penalty spot and Palmer, making no mistake this time, dramatically stole the points at the death to break the hearts of a plucky Cornard.
Halstead’s next game is on April 23 at home to Swaffham.
l It was certainly Jordan Palmer’s weekend as he scored the late winner for the reserves at Heybridge the following day. They are at home to Brantham on Saturday.
Cornard: Walker, Nippless, Beckett, Hutchings, Johnstone, Melia, L Halosta, S Halosta, Iomoroga, Nwaybani, Warmner. Not used: Parnell, Barnes, Finch, Lewis, Chaprian.
Halstead: Walker, Newnes, A Smith, Elkins, Cunliffe, Farthing, Raby, J Smith (Jordan Palmer 62), Root, Hearn (Josh Palmer 86), Hurkitt (Clements 76). Not used: Crush, Raynor.