Halstead aiming for top six

Football Action - March Town vs Halstead (blue)
Football Action - March Town vs Halstead (blue)

HALSTEAD Town manager Jimmy Holder is hoping his side can grab the chance to re-instate themselves in the top six in the Ridgeons League First Division when they host Cambridge University Press at Rosemary Lane on Saturday (3pm).

The Essex side, whose season has cooled off after a blistering start, are just one point off their sixth-placed opponents heading into the match and after taking higher league side Burnham Ramblers to penalties in a charity cup match on Tuesday.

Holder said: “It is a big game.

“We had a disappointing result on Saturday (losing 3-1 to in-form March Town United) but we had a good game at Burnham, who are a strong side, and we were unfortunate to lose on penalties.

“I was absolutely delighted with the performance from the boys though.”

Holder bemoaned not being able to name an unchanged side for the last six weeks, but has a better selection headache ahead of CUP’s visit, when Lewis Cunliffe, Jack Smith and Lee Hurkett are all in line for a return to action. But Jordan Hutchings (knock) is a doubt.

Following the March defeat and a thrilling 3-3 draw against Cornard United, where Holder admitted complacency set in against the basement dwellers, Halstead are now on a run of just two wins in their last six games, but the boss is confident ahead of the weekend.

“They are a very strong side on a good run and it will be tough but we beat them earlier in the season at their place, passing the ball around well, and hopefully we can do the same again,” he said. “There was a good crowd on Boxing Day and hopefully at least a few of them will come back.”

n HADLEIGH United (12th) travel to sixth-placed Dereham Town on Saturday (3pm) looking to maintain their recent strong form in the Ridgeons league Premier Division.

The Brettsiders stretched their unbeaten run in the league to three games on Saturday with a hard fought 1-1 draw away to fourth placed Norwich United after Jack Cawley’s spot kick, two minutes from time earnt his side a point.

The point followed consecutive victories over Felixstowe and Newmarket in previous weeks and manager Stuart Crawford will be confident of extending their unbeaten form further at Aldiss park as they look to close the six-point gap on their hosts.