Halstead Town manager Mark Benterman was pleased with his team’s performance despite the disappointment of seeing them beaten by a side he believes will go on to win the Thurlow Nunn League division one title this year.

Whitton United were 2-1 winners at Rosemary Lane as the leaders beat second-placed Halstead, but it may have been a different outcome had the hosts made more of their chances in the first half.

As it was, Jordan Palmer’s 17th minute goal was all Halstead had to show for their endeavours before the break.

Whitton hit back in the 32nd minute when Liam Bevis’ free-kick was deflected off Gareth Thomas and they took the lead in the 55th minute when Chris Williams fired home from the penalty spot after Thomas had been penalised for a handball.

Even though Halstead hit back with a late flurry, it was enough for Whitton to reinforce their position at the top, while Town dropped to fourth and were left to reflect on what might have been.

Benterman said: “We had chances in the first half to go two or three up and you think the game is over then.

“We have had a problem this year where we haven’t always been as clinical in front of goal as we need to be.

“We have been creating chances and on the day we’d have scored five or six.

“Unfortunately this wasn’t the day.

“Think of the clear-cut chances they had and it was minimal.

“So it disappointed me that we lost but I was excited as well because it showed that we can cut the top teams apart.

“I never banked on this result.

“If we’d got something I’d have been over the moon, but we were the under dogs because they are the champions-elect.

“We still have 18 points to play for and we are still in the mix, that’s all you can ask for.

“Tuesday is a must-win game and we then travel to Swaffham.

“Hopefully we can win that or at least get something out of it.”