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Saturday 11th February - Kick Off 3.00pm For the second home match in a row, Halstead found themselves falling behind in the first minute. This time to a rather dubious penalty decision. From where I stood it looked as though the defender had played the ball, but the Referee who was stood on the opposite side of the pitch saw it differently. As with the match against Enfield, Halstead didn’t let their heads drop and took the game to Barking and 10 minutes later had the ball in the net. The Linesman flagged for offside, but one of my photo’s shows Jordan Palmer was definitely onside when the free kick was taken, but clearly offside when the ball crossed the line. No VAR at this level. Halstead did ride their luck at times, but after 16 minutes drew level from the penalty spot when Jordan Palmer calmly sent the keeper the wrong way. This spurred Barking into action and they were soon 3-1 to the good and looked to be in total control of the game. The balance of the game swung again when Barking’s No 8 recklessly head butted Jordan Blackwell in full view of the Linesman and was shown the Red Card. Halstead took advantage of the extra man and after 42 minutes when Palmer scored his second goal of the game with a far post header. On the stroke of half time, Alfie Cleal saw a stinging shot from a very tight angle hit the inside of the post and rebound back into play. On balance if Halstead had gone in level at half time it would have been a fair reflection of the half. H/T Halstead 2 -3 Barking As I crossed the pitch for my half time cup of tea, the Barking manager and captain stood at the entrance to the tunnel discussing how they were going to approach the second half a man down and whatever they decided upon certainly worked as they added a 4th within a couple of minutes of the restart. This really did knock the stuffing out of Halstead as they never recovered and although having a good share of the ball, they never really made any headway. Matters got worse for Barking when their number 11 was shown a Red Card for spitting at the Linesman. I couldn’t see this first hand as the dugouts obscured my view, but, if true, in my opinion is disgusting behaviour. Although they were down to nine men, Barking never really looked to be in trouble and they comfortably defended their lead, which from a Halstead perspective was most disappointing. They won’t have to wait long to remedy this as local rivals Stanway Rovers visit the Milbank on Wednesday night. In saying this, Stanway have found some form since the New Year and have climbed to 9th in the table, so Halstead will most certainly need to improve on Saturdays performance if they want to get anything from this game. Essex Senior League - Premier Division Milbank Stadium, Rosemary Lane, Halstead Halstead Town 2-4 Barking Admission - £7 (£3 concessions) Programme - £1.00 Cheeseburger & Chips - £4.50 Att 223

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