HALSTEAD Town assistant boss Mark Benterman had a birthday he will never forget – by being called into action as a stand-in goalkeeper.

The 31-year-old celebrated his big day by playing 80 minutes of Town’s Thurlow Nunn League division one derby at home to Long Melford.

Not only did he keep a clean sheet, he watched on as his team-mates hit the goal trail to run out 6-0 winners.

“I’ve played in goal before, but only as a stand-in,” said Benterman, who had to don his gloves following injuries to Matt Walker, in the warm-up, and then Matt Blackmore.

“And there’s a big difference between playing in goal on a Sunday morning compared to an important Thurlow Nunn League match.

“But I enjoyed it and tried to be as professional as possible, organising the back four. I made a couple of saves and pulled a few crosses out of the air.”

For the full story and a match report, see this week's Gazette.