HALSTEAD Town completed a difficult run of five games in 18 days with a 1-0 victory against Hackney Wick in the Buildbase FA Vase, writes GRAHAM DOVER.

The winning goal came thanks to a free-kick from Jordan Pavett just before half-time.

Halstead manager Mark McLean said he was generally satisfied with his team’s performance on what was a terrible playing surface, although he would have liked more fluidity from his players.

He also would like them to be more clinical in front of goal.

Had they taken their earlier chances the drama of the last ten minutes when the home side had two goals disallowed for offside could have been avoided.

McLean was in no doubt that the assistant referee was correct with both of these decisions although the home side, whilst seeming to accept the first, reacted fiercely when he raised his flag for the second time.

But it is Halstead who move into the next round where they have been drawn away to Baldock Town, who play their football in the Spartan South Midlands League.

Before the game there was bad news on the injury front with confirmation that keeper, Jack Cherry had indeed fractured his nose in the game against Wivenhoe the previous week.

It was first thought that he had just suffered severe bruising but this revised diagnosis could keep him out for up to six weeks.

Other current injuries include captain, Jake Brown who is getting closer to a return to action and crowd favourite, Garry Burdett who is not expected to don the Humbug shirt for at least another four weeks.

McLean is fully aware that injuries are part of the game and feels that unlike last season he has the players to cope with these.

He is pleased with the overall balance of his squad and the younger players coming through.

Halstead have the day off this weekend and the players will take the chance of a well-deserved rest before they face the league's early pace-setters Little Oakley, on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

The visitors have won all of their three league games so far this season and McLean knows that this will be a tough test for his team.

He considers them a very good side who will punish any opposition if given the chance.

At present, there is general uncertainty about the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions but at the time of writing spectators are welcome to attend this game.

Procedures will again be in place for the safety and protection of everyone attending.