THE fearless manner of Halstead Town’s Thurlow Nunn League division one south win at Little Oakley has told Mark McLean that his players have the right mindset to continue their push for promotion this year.

A 3-1 victory at the Memorial Ground not only allowed the Humbugs to avenge the way that the Acorns had pegged them back in a 3-3 draw at home in December, but it kept them second in the table as they built on their superb win against Harwich & Parkeston in the their previous game.

It was a fifth straight win for McLean’s team, who now don’t have division one south action until February 23, but they had to stand tall in testing first-half conditions to make sure they got the momentum they needed to go on and win a tough encounter.

“It was important that we built on what we’d done against Harwich,” said McLean.

“But it was a game that we were wary of.

“Oakley had come to us in December and drawn with us then and you could see the improvements that they’d made since Matt Carmichael had come in as manager.

“So we had to be wary of them and I was very pleased with how we rose to the challenge.

“I was very happy with the effort put in in a really strong performance and it was a similar level to what we saw in the game against Harwich.

“In the first 45 minutes, we were playing into a strong wind - so strong in fact that (goalkeeper) Jack Cherry’s kicks weren’t reaching the halfway line - and I expected us to be under pressure.

“I thought it could be a rearguard action but it was anything but that.

“We spent most of the half in their half and we had all the momentum.

“I don’t think they had a shot on target of any not in that first 45 minutes, which, under those conditions, was outstanding.

“It would have been easy in those conditions to stand off and defend but we don’t have that mindset.”

The Halstead boss said the way his players performed showed they were fully engaged in the promotion battle and compared what he had seen from them at Oakley with the way Liverpool’s team responded in a pressure situation in a Premier League clash at West Ham earlier this week.

“In this part of the season, that’s what you want to see when adrenalin and belief kick in and the fact that we performed the way we did in tough conditions shows me that the belief is very much there for us,” said McLean.

“I compare us to the way that I saw Liverpool play against West Ham (in the Premier League) earlier this week.

“I saw a kind of panic that has set in with them, but you have to create an energy that is positive and productive and I feel we have that.

“We could have gone to Little Oakley, who are a really good side in some difficult conditions and sat in when the strong wind was against us in that first half.

“But that would have taken away half of the time we had to get the win.

“I would rather get on the front foot and get momentum and that was there for everyone to see.”

The only negative to come out of the game at Little Oakley was the sending off of captain Jake Brown.

His dismissal came after a foul on the Acorns’ Jamie Dobkin, who also received his marching orders for his reaction to the challenge.

McLean said the club were now waiting to hear whether his skipper’s ban would be a one or three-match suspension.

He added: “We’re waiting to hear about Jake’s ban because it’s a bit unclear.

“My first impression after the tackle was that I never thought it was a red card.

“There was nothing high in it and it was just how he put himself into the tackle and my first impression was that it was a yellow.

“However, I think it was the reaction from the Little Oakley players that brought the cards as they jumped in.

“I’m not criticising them at all as any team would do that, but I think the referee was forced into the decision he made by that.

“I really felt two yellows would have been right, but he sent them both off.

“When I spoke to the referee, though, he said he would recommend in his report that it should be just a one-game ban for Jake, but we’re waiting to see on that.”