Warren is spot on to keep promotion aspirations alive
THURLWO NUNN LEAGUE
Halstead Town 1
Kings Lynn Town Reserves 0
This crucial meeting of the fourth and fifth-placed teams ended with the victory that the hosts needed to keep their lingering promotion hopes alive.
Their fate, however, is still not in their own hands as despite leapfrogging Yarmouth in the table their rivals still have a game in hand.
However, it does mean that going into the final game of the season, at already promoted Ely, the Humbugs still have a chance of going up.
In the warm up Sam Cripps, Halstead’s leading scorer, picked up an injury which resulted in him being dropped to the bench. Joe O’Hare took his place in the starting line-up and proved to be a thorn in the visitors’ side all game.
The game was won with a solitary goal just before the half-hour mark which came as a result of a mazy run by O’Hare and ended with him being unceremoniously felled in the box. Marcus Warren duly converted the spot kick.
It took 20 minutes before Halstead’s possession saw a shot on goal as Murray, Hutchings and Warren combined to play in O’Hare but his shot was straight at the keeper.
On 28 minutes the hosts finally made the breakthrough when O’Hare took the ball from his own half and ran at the retreating defenders before being brought down in the box. Play was held up for a few minutes while the keeper received treatment but this did not unnerve Warren. He stepped up and his powerful shot beat the keeper’s dive.
The home side came out the stronger in the second half, and Weavers on the right was a live wire, his early break only thwarted by a last-minute block. Cook was introduced off the bench for the injured Hurkett and his first touch saw him drag a shot wide when well placed.
Just before the hour mark Murray was poleaxed from behind in the visitor’s box, but the referee waved play on, much to the annoyance of the Humbugs and their supporters. Minutes later, Murray had to go off and was replaced by Brown.
At this stage the game was all Halstead and the referee faced another big call as Weavers once again got on the wrong side of the defenders and appeared to be grappled to the floor. The referee deemed a yellow card fitting for the offence and the resultant free kick came to nothing, the home side again feeling aggrieved.
However, they continued to press and O’Hare and Cook forced the defence into an error, but with the goal gaping they contrived somehow to allow the keeper to save. O’Hare also had a chance and headed beyond the keeper only for a defender to clear off the line.
The tension was growing as Halstead just could not put this game to bed, and while never really threatening the home goal King’s Lynn were quick on the counter and the feeling was they could strike.
With 10 minutes left, Halstead were still dominant and Cripps, on for Hutchings, got through only for his shot to rebound off the keeper’s legs. Minutes later only a last-ditch challenge by the King’s Lynn left back stopped Simon Parsons having a one on one with the keeper.
The tension was mounting, but Halstead’s defence held up well, with Wilderspin and Pavett exceptional. However the visitors had their chance as a long free kick was pumped into the box and a King’s Lynn head sent it goalwards, only for the ever alert O’Hare to clear off the line. A match winning effort from the forward.
That was the final action, with Halstead making sure their season goes down to the wire.