Halstead Town manager Mark Benterman insists his team’s promotion hopes are still in their own hands, but he admits that back-to-back derby day disappointments may have dealt a terminal blow to their Thurlow Nunn League division one title bid.

The frustration of a 1-0 defeat by local rivals Braintree Town Reserves on Saturday was compounded by a late penalty call that turned three points into just one against the same opponents on Wednesday.

The results followed three wins and a draw in the league and Benterman had targeted a six-point haul from the two games, so to come away with just one was disappointing to say the least.

The point they did earn returned Halstead to division one’s top three, though, and kept them five points clear of seventh-placed Saffron Walden Town.

And with a top-six finish likely to be enough for a move up this year, Benterman insists their hopes are still in their own hands so he’ll be looking for better when they travel to Debenham LC today.

The Halstead boss said: “It’s fine lines between what we’ve got and moving forward with a decent points haul and, instead, all we’ve come away with is just a point in the title race.

“However, we’re still five points clear of Saffron Walden and three points clear of everyone else with games in hand.

“So it’s still in our hands, but we’re making it harder and harder for ourselves week-in and week-out."

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