Halstead show their promotion credentials against high flyers
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Halstead Town 2
Framlingham Town 2
Mark McLean was disappointed to not make it six points from six against two top-four sides, which he believes shows how far this Humbugs side have developed.
Back on December 16 the reverse fixture saw promotion-chasing Framlingham put Halstead to the sword (5-1).
But despite the north Essex side only having a top 10 place to play for while Tuesday’s opponents look to be on their way to playing Premier Division football next season, you would not have known which side was which in a third game on the bounce on a heavy Rosemary Lane pitch.
All the goals came in the first half with Joe Morris heading Halstead into the lead before a brace from Fram’s Danny Smith was followed by a Chris Harris header.
It followed on from a highly pleasing 2-1 home win over Swaffham on Saturday where Lewis Cunliffe scored for the third straight game before a late winner went in off Harris.
McLean felt the results and performances spoke volumes about what he is building ahead of a shot at promotion next season.
“I am disappointed not to get the three (points) as I thought we were excellent,” he said, following the full-time whistle on Tuesday.
“I thought the performance was better quality-wise tonight. I don’t know how we have not won it.
“There is a continuity about the squad now since Christmas and it is reflecting as we are in the top embers of the form league.
“We are in a good place and we are building something nice.”
Centre-back Morris headed Halstead into a ninth-minute lead on Tuesday from Jamie Baker’s cross but the Humbugs were then stunned by two excellent opportunistic finishes from the Castlemen’s top scorer, Danny Smith, on 11 and 21 minutes.
Home heads did not drop though and Halstead’s toiling was rewarded on the stroke of half-time when Harris sent a looping header over goalkeeper Sam Chilvers from a deep cross.
It was the hosts asking most of the questions in the second half, but they could not find a way to get the winner they would have deserved.
Halstead host Norwich United Reserves on Saturday (3pm) before travelling across the border to Cornard United for a derby on Monday (3pm).
Halstead: Walker, Pleace, Warren, Morris, Cunliffe (c), Schelvis, Baker, Miller, Harris, Storie (Mahon 71’), Gilbert. Unused subs: Brown, Brennan.
Free Press Man of the Match: Chris Harris. Excellent hold up play and got crucial goal.