FA Cup success was what Halstead needed

HALSTEAD Town manager Jimmy Holder believes his side’s FA Cup heroics can kick-start their season.

The Rosemary Lane outfit came away from higher-league opponents FC Clacton with a 3-1 win on Saturday to bag £1,000 in prize money and a place in the first qualifying round.

They will host Ryman League outfit Brentwood Town a week Saturday, but will be fully concentrating on carrying a sparkling cup performance in the league at Swaffham Town this Saturday (3pm).

Holder said: “It feels like we have started (the season) on Saturday as in the first few games we were a bit slow.

“It was a good performance on a difficult pitch and I am very pleased with them.

“We made a couple of changes and the boys all enjoyed it and gave a very good account of themselves.”

Halstead, who have won one and lost one so far in the Thurlow Nunn First Division, will have to make do without Jon Root and Stepney Thurgood at Swaffham, who are both unavailable, while Lewis Cunliffe, Marcus Warren and James Murray remain injured.

But Holder added: “The up side is other boys will be getting a chance.”

Halstead are then back in cup action on Tuesday, this time as they kick off their Essex Senior Cup bid with a first round tie at home to Eton Manor (7.45pm), who finished 14th in the Essex Senior League Premier Division, the equivalent of one league above them.

Long Melford manager Robbie Benson was far from happy with his side’s lame exit in the FA Cup at London ASPA on Saturday, but is looking for them to bounce back at home to Team Bury in the league on Saturday (3pm).

He said: “I am bitterly disappointed with the performance to be fair.

“There were some positives but conceding the third goal really killed us.

“We rattled the crossbar but there were defensive mistakes and we just switched off and unfortunately you get punished for silly defensive errors and it costs you games.”

He added of Team Bury on Saturday, the first of four home games: “It is a massive game for us and we need to bounce back and get three points.

“We performed superbly at Whitton (last Wednesday), and were unlucky not to get three points.”

Meanwhile striker Dan Cann has provided a boost by committing himself to the rest of the season at Stoneylands, while Benson is on the hunt for a pair of new fullbacks after seeing Dave Dowding and Dan Gammage both suffer broken legs that will keep them out for around six weeks.

Cornard United’s league season has got off to the worst possible start with Saturday’s 5-2 home defeat to Cambridge University Press followed by a 3-0 defeat at Brightlingsea Regent on Tuesday.

Chris Symes’ side host Downham Town on Saturday (3pm) looking for their first points of the campaign.