HALSTEAD Town will be looking to end their year on a high in tomorrow’s home match against Team Bury.

Jim Holder’s side suffered a 5-1 defeat in their Thurlow Nunn League division one derby at Brightlingsea Regent, on Boxing Day.

Reis Farley-Hearn netted their consolation to make it 2-1.

However, a controversial penalty awarded against the visitors took the wind from their sails and led to them suffering a heavy defeat.

Holder admitted the flashpoint was a pivotal moment – but hopes his side can respond positively against Team Bury (kick-off 3pm).

“The penalty was embarrassing and took its toll on our young team,” said the Town boss.

“Ashley Drew came away with the ball on the edge of the box and didn’t appear to foul anyone.

“Apart from the referee, no-one thought it was a penalty.

“Brightlingsea’s bench were in fits of laughter and we certainly disputed it.

“It really changed the game because we’d done well to get back in the game, after going 2-0 down.

“Mentally, it was difficult for the boys to respond and we went on to concede twice more.

“Brightlingsea are a very strong side with a lot of experienced players. To match them, we knew we’d have to be at the peak of our form, but sadly it wasn’t to be.”

For the full story, see this week's Gazette - out today.