DESPITE a late fightback with two goals in the last 15 minutes, Halstead Town fell to their second home defeat in a week, both times losing by the odd goal in five, writes GRAHAM DOVER.

The Humbugs were beaten 3-2 by White Ensign, in their latest Thurlow Nunn League first division south clash.

The previous days’ storms had raised the possibility that the game would have to be called off but hard work from the ground staff on the morning of the match ensured that an excellent playing surface was available.

In the very first minute of the game a chance fell to Chris Harris that really he should have scored. But his shot was wide of the goal and the opportunity was wasted.

Within a few minutes the ball was at the other end of the pitch and Brad Gates had the ball in the back of the net to give the visitors an early lead that they never relinquished.

Five minutes later Ensign could have doubled their lead when their player broke down the right-hand side and delivered a dangerous cross that was cleared by Joe Jones helping out in the home defence.

Halstead’s first attack of note was on the quarter-hour mark and Jones was again involved in the play.

His corner kick was whipped in from the left hand side and headed down by Chris Harris to debutant, Joel Older but his shot failed to trouble the keeper.

Both sides then tried speculative long range shots.

Connor Barnby for Ensign found himself with the chance to shoot but blazed the ball over the bar and then the Humbugs’ Brad Amos picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch and hit a shot from 35 yards that went high and wide.

Halstead then had two chances in quick succession. First Harris fought hard and won the ball in the 18 yard box but the keeper came out big and got a strong hand to his shot to keep the ball out the net.

Minutes later another chance fell to the home side. Nick Miller struck a low shot that troubled the keeper who failed to control the ball but he was saved by his defence who cleared the ball to safety.

The final action of note in the first half was a free kick to Halstead that Jones blazed over the bar

The start of the second period mirrored the first and culminated in another early goal for the visitors to double their lead.

Poor defending let in Dominic Locke who calmly placed the ball in the back of the net.

Five minutes later and the score was 3-0 when Harry Skinner slotted home for what would be the decisive goal.

In the last 20 minutes the home side staged a fight-back that gave hope to their supporters among the more than 200 spectators present at match.

Their first goal was from Ricky Gardner who met a cross from Older in the six-yard box and headed in to the net to give his side a glimmer of hope.

Minutes later Halstead were awarded a penalty that Older slotted home to the right of the visiting keeper and the deficit was just one goal.

With five minutes to go, Halstead had the ball in the back of the net and thought they had pulled off a remarkable comeback.

But the linesman already had his flag up and to their disappointment the goal was disallowed.

The final whistle heralded the end of a disappointing week for Halstead but this is not the time for them to dwell on this.

They now face a difficult FA Vase tie at Baldock Town and moving into the next round of this tournament will quickly erase these two home defeats from their memory.