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Saturday 4th March - Kick Off 3.00pm With Southend Manor and Clapton all but relegated, this 4th v 3rd from bottom match had little more than pride to play for, but a win for the hosts would certainly help boost their confidence. Before the game Jordan Palmer was given a guard of honour and presented with a tankard to mark the occasion of his 200th appearance and wore the Captains armband for the day. His day could have got off to the perfect start when Halstead were awarded a penalty for handball in the second minute. Captain Palmer stepped up for the kick but saw his well struck shot brilliantly saved. Halstead had the best off the first half which remained goaless until a minute before the break when Joel Older latched onto a ball out on the left wing which saw him chip past the Sawbridgeworth keeper who must have had a rush of blood and had charged out of his area to try an clear the ball, but within a minute the visitors were awarded a rather debatable corner and scrambled an equaliser on the stroke of half time. Half Time. Halstead 1-1 Sawbridgeworth Halstead came out all guns blazing for the second half and could and possibly should have taken the lead straight from the kick off and were to rue this miss when Sawbridgeworth went in front from another poorly defended corner and somewhat undeservedly Halstead found themselves trailing. It wasn’t long before Halstead had the ball in the net when Alfie Cleal followed up a Joel Older shot which the goalkeeper parried out, but was deemed to be offside, which was one of several dubious offside decisions given by the officials. The last 20 minutes saw Halstead make several substitutions and they persisted in going forward, but couldn’t find what would have been a deserved equaliser. After what seemed like an eternity of added time, the referee finally blew his whistle at 2 minutes to 5 to put an end to another disappointing afternoon at the Milbank Stadium. It would be fair to say that Halstead have found life a challenge in their first season back in the EssexSenior League. They haven’t always had the run of the ball and there has been a few odd decisions go against them, but I feel they are a better group of players than the league position suggests. Essex Senior League - Premier Division Milbank Stadium, Rosemary Lane, Halstead Halstead Town 1 - 2 Sawbridgeworth Admission - £7 (£3 concessions) Programme - £1.00 Cheeseburger & Tea - £4.50 Att 317

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