Halstead Town and Mark McLean looking to top four for promotion out of Step 6
Halstead Town begin their Thurlow Nunn League South Division campaign with the visit of Wormley Rovers on Saturday (3pm) looking to rectify the shaky home form which saw them miss out on promotion to Step 5.
The Humbugs had started well in 2018/19 before relinquishing their lead of the table to eventual winners Hashtag United in late September.
Mark McLean’s side were in the title race until a few games from the finish line, but they were left to look back on their seven defeats at the Millbank Stadium as a key reason why they finished third and missed out on promotion.
It contrasted with one of the best away records in the country with Halstead only losing one game on their travels in 15, with just two draws.
They will be looking to maintain that fine form in 2019/20, starting with the away trip to Brightlingsea Regent Reserves on Tuesday (7.45pm).
A club website poll suggests the Rosemary Lane faithful are confident of a good season, following their pre-season campaign, with 45.5 per cent (37 votes) predicting they will finish as champions. A further 33.3 per cent (27 votes) believe they will obtain a top four automatic promotion place, with more places having opened up as a result of a plan to introduce more Step 5 leagues across the country from next season.
There were 18.5 per cent going for a mid-table finish (15 votes), while 2.5 per cent (two votes) opted for ‘even worse’.
Halstead’s pre-season concluded on Tuesday night with a healthy attendance of 101 seeing their home friendly with now higher-league Saffron Walden Town.
The Humbugs had lost 1-0 at home to Witham Town, who play two levels higher in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division, on Saturday.
Their FA Cup campaign begins next Saturday in Hertfordshire at higher-league Sawbridgeworth Town (3pm), who play in the Essex Senior League.
More by this authorRussell Claydon