AVENGING a frustrating result will be high on Halstead Town's agenda when they head to Hackney Wick on Saturday in another key encounter in the race for the Thurlow Nunn League division one south title.

The Humbugs' title hopes were dealt a blow last month when their first game back after a three-week break saw them go down to a 2-0 home defeat by Hackney Wick and manager Mark McLean sees this reverse fixture as a chance to set the record straight.

Halstead have responded well to that setback and a 2-1 victory at Lopes Tavares last weekend was their third win in a row and kept them second in the table behind leaders Hashtag United.

So McLean is looking for his players to keep the pressure on.

"We need to avenge that result (by Hackney Wick) and this is the opportunity to do just that," he said.

"We can set the record straight as well as putting a big dent in the aspirations of another side who are pushing at the top of the table. "I think we have every reason to go there with belief and there is a lot we can put right from that previous meeting.

"We weren't happy with how that game panned out for us and if we are more like ourselves than we were then, then we can get the result we want.

"The players were allowed the excuse in that game as they were rusty after a long break, but there is no excuse this time.

"We have the momentum and we are on the winning trail as we've won the three games since then, coming through different tests against different styles of play and now is the time to put that earlier result right."

McLean is under no illusion about the task ahead, though, as Hackney Wick have proved miserly hosts and only conceded 25 goals in 26 league games, with just nine put past them on home turf.

The Humbugs boss added: "Both Hashtag and us have tough games this weekend. "They are going to Wormley, who beat them not so long ago, while we head to Hackney Wick and if we both come out unscathed then it will set it up for when we meet at our place the next weekend.

"We'll have to come out all guns blazing, however, all I'm concerned about at the moment is Hackney Wick.

"They are a team in a great moment and they are where they are because of the goals they have conceded - particularly at home.

"They're a side who are so tight and defensively robust so it's up to us to go there and break them down."

McLean said he expected keeper Jack Cherry to be back after missing the trip to Lopes Tavares, when Sam Kendall was in goal for Halstead, but Jamie Baker may be a doubt and could be sidelined for a couple of weeks after taking a blow to the instep of his foot last weekend.

They will be looking to repeat the result they had at Lopes Tavares and should head to Hackney Wick in buoyant mood after a dramatic finish last weekend.

McLean said his team were dominant throughout the game, but were pegged back by an 88th minute equaliser and had to stage a stunning late response which was capped by Chris Harris heading home the winning goal in the seventh minute of added time at the end.

He said: "Conceding that late meant there was so little time for the players to respond, but their response was so positive.

"They picked themselves up and went for it and that shows me that they know what they have to do to keep the title race in their control.

"We have spoken about how important it is to remain in control and it showed a level of maturity with how they rose to the challenge when it was put before them.

"I have seen them grow up at certain moments this season and that was definitely one of them.

"Their desire was exactly right and it was a special moment for me.

"It was the type that you want to bottle up and keep forever. "In the dressing room afterwards, though, it was very quiet but I think that was because they had left all the energy out on the pitch.

"They were soon buzzing again, though, and they are certainly up for this fight."