THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Halstead Town 3
Dereham Town Reserves 1
Halstead Town manager Mark Benterman believes there is plenty more to come from his side despite starting with a home win.
Two goals in the final 10 minutes from Jordan Palmer and Jon Root, added to Ashley Drew’s first-half opener, got them up-and-running at Rosemary Lane on Saturday.
The home side fielded five new faces, including the return of Andy Joslin, who showed all his experience in a dominating display at the heart of midfield.
“It was a bit of a nervous performance if I am honest, but it is good to get off to a good start,” said Benterman.
“They had one shot on target all game which was a free-kick and we should have been out of sight at half-time.
“We made a few technical changes with 20 minutes to go and it paid off.”
The hosts made a lively start despite Dereham forcing two early corners, the second of which Sam Pledger tested keeper Jack Cherry with a good effort.
Halstead started to take control of the fixture and, following a corner of their own in the 20th minute, defender Drew broke the deadlock, volleying home superbly.
Long periods of end-to-end play followed with both sides in turn serving up some good football pushing the ball round to good effect before the visitors lost full-back Jack Wood with a facial injury, Liam Fryatt replacing him.
Nevertheless Dereham got back on terms five minutes before the break when Gary Starling thumped home a free-kick from the edge of the box, leaving Cherry stranded.
A splendid Tom Cook effort was inches over at the start of the second half for Halstead and was followed by a Ben Champion drive which rattled the woodwork.
Neither side gave much away although both were guilty of failing of wasting good opportunities, before on the hour, Jordan Palmer entered the field in place of Cook for the home side and Elliot Coleman took over from Josh Morley.
Halstead continued to push forward and almost regained the lead, but James Regan’s fine pinpointed cross headed narrowly wide by Joslin.
However, the pressure finally told on the 80-minute-mark as Tom Barry entered the fray for Matt Knight and made an instant impact, combining with Palmer which saw the latter slice his way through two defenders before rifling home a powerful effort to put Halstead ahead.
Palmer then turned provider five minutes later, releasing Jon Root who comprehensively beat custodian Matt Powley, extending the home sides advantage and settle the contest to seal all three points.
Halstead: Cherry, Drew, Regan, Joslin, Cunliffe (T Kemp), Baptiste, S. Kemp, Knight (Barry), Miller, Root, Cook (Palmer). Substitutes not used: Thomas, Hutchings.