HALSTEAD Town boss Mark McLean was left disappointed following the postponement of his team’s game against Hackney Wick on Wednesday night due to a waterlogged pitch, writes GRAHAM DOVER.

He was hoping to get back to winning ways after seeing his team surrender a half-time lead at Newbury Forest the previous Saturday and fall to a 4-3 defeat.

In the first 45 minutes of that game McLean thought his team had played as well as they have all season and this despite having no recognised centre-half on the pitch.

He knew beforehand that injury would rule out his first-choice pairing of Garry Burdett and Matt Caley but he could not have expected his back-up, Connel Dunlop to injure himself in the pre-match warm-up.

The result of this was that the team kicked-off with two central midfield players occupying those positions.

Another problem he faced was that a number of his players are returning from injury and their lack of match fitness clearly showed as the second half progressed.

Their energy levels dropped and as their legs began to tire, Forest took advantage of the situation to continually move the ball around the pitch.

The fixture between these two clubs has a history of high-scoring games with last-minute winners and this year was no exception.

Two years ago the Humbugs triumphed 5-4 thanks to an 88th-minute winner and last season a goal with the last kick of the match secured a 4-3 victory and all three points for Halstead.

But this year the tables were turned and it was Halstead’s turn to suffer the heartbreak of falling to defeat in the dying moments of the game.

Halstead are without a fixture this Saturday and so McLean and his players will have an enforced wait before they can get the team back on a winning track.

The players would rather be playing but one positive about this delay is the increased likelihood that both Caley and keeper, Jack Cherry will be available to strengthen the defence.

Halstead's next first team game is not until Saturday week (October 31) but before that it’s likely that some of the players, working on their fitness, will have a run-out in the reserve side at the Milbank stadium on Saturday.