Humbugs do the double to taste league victory at last

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION

Halstead Town 5

Wisbech St Mary 2

Halstead got their first league victory at the eighth attempt when they eventually ran out comfortable winners against Wisbech St Mary.

After five draws, and two defeats, they duly completed a league double over their visitors, the last team they beat in the league.

Both teams started brightly on Saturday, with defences having to be on their toes as chances were carved out.

In the early stages Kasey looked to be the Wisbech dangerman, and he played in Friend who drew a smart save from Joe Fowler.

But minutes later Fowler was left helpless when Mockford let fly from 25 yards.

Halstead were behind with a little under 20 minutes, almost instantly they were level.

A great ball forward was collected by Jordan Pavett, and he played it into the path of Joe Morris who calmly placed it past Smith.

Parity didn’t last very long as Wisbech hit Halstead on the break, and a left-wing attack saw Friend left all alone to tap the ball past Fowler to give the visitors the advantage again.

Three goals in as many minutes had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Halstead enjoyed a period of control. But no clear-cut chances were produced and Wisbech continued to cause concern on the break.

For the hosts, Jamie Baker’s cross almost found Morris, and Pavett was becoming prominent, his nice one-two with James Murray almost bore fruit.

Finally, on 35 minutes, Halstead got their reward when Murray played in Pavett, whose effort was saved. The ball fell to Baker who fired across the ‘keeper and into the far corner.

Halstead almost grabbed the lead when Pavett got away on the right, but the ball fell behind the onrushing Hampson, with the goal beckoning.

However, minutes later Lewis Cunliffe put the home side in front, albeit in controversial style.

The ball ricocheted in the area, and Wisbech called for various fouls, in particular a challenge on the ‘keeper, who failed to hold the ball, Cunliffe responding quickest and thumping home.

After a chance at either end it was Wisbech, with 47 minutes on the clock, who perhaps should equalised when skipper Davey got the wrong side of the defence, but a combination of Lewis Brennan and Fowler challenging saw him blast wide.

The tempo of the first half had relented a little, but with 10 minutes of the second period gone, after good work by Murray, Morris fed Baker, his cross found Jake Brown, who side-footed confidently past Smith, and Halstead had doubled their advantage.

That setback seemed to spur on the visitors who had their best attacking spell of the day, but a couple of long-range efforts and a dangerous free-kick were all that came of it.

Halstead were slowly getting some control back a flowing move involving Murray, Jake Brown and Hampson ended with Andrade putting the ball into the net — only for the assistant to flag for a Halstead corner.

The visitors pushed forward, and were left vulnerable. Murray fed Gilbert on the edge of the six-yard box and he comfortably chipped the onrushing ‘keeper for the fifth.

Halstead nearly added another, but Kane Gilbert’s header from Tyler Kemp’s cross was just wide of the mark, and then the ‘keeper denied him twice.

Halstead were in full control, with Adam Hampson and Gilbert going close, but the final whistle went with the hosts relieved to have a win to their name.