HALSTEAD Town manager Mark McLean admitted he and his players had a "long, honest chat" after their disappointing 3-1 defeat at May and Baker.

The high-flying Humbugs suffered a rare setback in Friday's Thurlow Nunn League first division south fixture at Parkside.

Callum Vincent gave them an early lead but the hosts turned the match on its head with three second-half goals.

McLean pulled no punches in his assessment of the performance and admitted it was the right result.

"We can't have any complaints," said the Scot.

"From our point of view, it was a poor night at the office.

"We scored early on and should have added a second.

"But after that, we stopped doing the right things.

"May and Baker played to their strengths and, although a couple of their goals were poor ones to concede, it didn't really matter because we didn't deserve anything from the game.

"No-one played to their potential and we looked like a team of individuals.

"As a team, we need to be more ruthless.

"Sometimes we're too nice, in terms of doing the ugly stuff, and perhaps that comes with having a youthful side.

"We trained really well on Wednesday, though.

"We also had a long, honest chat and I asked the players for their opinions.

"We're all on the same page."

Halstead have no match this weekend but return to action next Saturday, when they visit Hackney Wick.

McLean says he would normally be itching for another fixture, in order to right the wrongs from the May and Baker defeat.

However, he believes that on this occasion, it could be a blessing.

"Normally, I'd always want to play," he said.

"I hate weekends without a game of football.

"However, on this occasion, I can see that it might have come at a good time.

"A couple of the boys are struggling with little knocks and it won't do them any harm to have a Saturday off."

Leaders Little Oakley enhanced their position at the summit with a 3-0 victory at Wormley Rovers.

Danny Garrad, Jamie Beecham and birthday boy Luke Mayhew were on target for the Acorns.

Matt Carmichael's side are two points clear of White Ensign, who hopped into second place after winning 4-0 at Barkingside.

There was also a great win for Oakley's neighbours Harwich and Parkeston, who continued their revival with a 1-0 success at Hackney Wick.

Sean Bartlett scored their winning goal on the hour-mark.

The Shrimpers, who have signed Hayden Dutch on loan from Stanway, have now won three and drawn two of their six matches under manager Mike Wallace.

Their next fixture is against Coggeshall United, who were 2-0 winners at home to Benfleet.

Alex Owudey and Khristopher Oti netted for the Weavers.