Humbugs return home looking for points after maintaining unbeaten away record

ON TARGET: James Murray, who scored Halstead's equaliser, on the attack
ON TARGET: James Murray, who scored Halstead's equaliser, on the attack

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION: Team Bury 1 Halstead Town 1: Halstead Town will look to get back to winning ways at home on Saturday after extending their unbeaten away record to seven league matches.

The Humbugs — who lost 1-0 to Long Melford in their last home game in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division — host struggling Stowmarket Town at Rosemary Lane on Saturday (3pm) after jumping up to second with a 1-1 draw at Team Bury on Saturday.

Makeshift striker James Murray cancelled out Will Brown’s first-half opener within six minutes to earn the Essex outfit a share of the spoils in a drab encounter at Ram Meadow.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s clash with Stow, Halstead manager Mark Benterman said: “They matched us for 60 minutes over there and could have gone and got a couple of goals, but we ended up winning 6-0.

“They are always going to work hard and teams down that end of the table are going to be like that — they are going to work their socks off.

“If you can match them for their work-rate then you can go and play football and let your own ability come through.”

Top scorer Ellis Carter was missing from Halstead’s squad on Saturday because of a family bereavement, while Adam Brotherton and Chris Thomas were also absent, and Halstead’s problems were made worse when Nick Miller limped off after 11 minutes.

Although there was little in the way of goalmouth action, Team Bury controlled the early stages and took the lead when David Lampshire helped the ball through to Brown, who toe-ended it beyond Halstead goalkeeper Jack Cherry.

However, Halstead restored parity just six minutes later when Murray — who had already gone close for the Humbugs — was afforded too much space on the edge of the Bury penalty area to turn and thump home right-footed into the bottom left corner.

The hosts had a big appeal for a penalty waved away eight minutes after the interval when Cherry appeared to clip the heels of Lampshire, who was heading away from goal.

Ross Bailey had three attempts from outside the penalty area as the clock ticked down with one finding the body of Cherry and the other two missing the target, while Dan Grindrod drilled wide from long range at the other end as the match petered out.

Reflecting on the result, Benterman added: “I was very happy because we always have a tough encounter with Team Bury — they are a very good side, very young and very enthusiastic — so a point is not a bad result.

“Both sides try to play football and I’d take a point here all day long to keep our momentum going in the league and up into second place — we’re over the moon with that.”

Halstead: Cherry, Grindrod, Regan (Cook 73), Hurkett (Fuller 84), Cunliffe, Baptiste, Hutchings, Thomas, Murray, Miller (Palmer 11), Joslin. Subs not used: Fuller, Palmer, Cook.

Attendance: 51.

nDefender Ash Drew, released by Halstead Town, has joined Haverhill Borough.