FREE-SCORING Halstead Town continued their fine form in Thurlow Nunn League first division south with a 5-0 thrashing of Barkingside, writes KEN GILLIARD.

The Humbugs are now second in the table, following a fifth straight win for Mark McLean's men.

It was a good win and display for the hosts and the third time they have scored five in the last four league outings, demonstrating they are in a rich vein of form.

There was a last-minute change to the hosts' line-up as goalkeeper Cherry was injured in the warm-up and Jordan Palmer took his place between the sticks.

It took until the 26th minute for an attempt on goal to be registered, with Chris Harris’s diving header going just the wrong side of the upright for the Humbugs.

It prompted a better period for the hosts with Cleal's effort from the edge of the box going close and Harris forcing a good low save from Barkingside keeper Georgiev.

Halstead finally made the pressure pay when Hampson's good ball found Blackwell out wide and his cross was met by the unmarked Brown, whose diving header hit the back of the net.

The hosts extended their lead just four minutes later when Jack Schelvis unleashed a rocket for his first goal in four years.

Brown hit a post from Blackwell's cross before the break, as Halstead went in at half-time 2-0 up.

Halstead made the better start to the second period and put pressure on the visitors' goal.

Harris again forced Georgiev into a great save and shortly after it was the upright that saved Barkingside, as Hampson’s effort bounced to safety.

The inevitable happened on 65 minutes as Halstead extended their lead through Alfie Cleal, who scored for the fifth successive league match.

Harris's headed flick sent Cleal on his way and he coolly slotted the ball passed Georgiev to notch his ninth of the season.

At the other end Palmer was commending in his box and after a great take, he cleared to almost put in Blackwell.

Cleal almost added another but was again thwarted by the visiting keeper and as the game went into the last 20 minutes, Halstead still had a comfortable three-goal advantage.

Barkingside looked to hit Halstead on the break but were thwarted by some solid defensive work and the Humbugs then added to their tally with 13 minutes remaining.

Hampson's overhead effort flew in, following a game of head tennis in the Barkingside box.

The hosts continued to push forward, with Dallinger pulling his effort wide and then a mazy run from Carter saw him hauled down in the box.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Joe Thomas dutifully dispatched to make it 5-0.

Halstead will hope to continue their fine form when they travel to basement club Brimsdown, in their next match.

Halstead: Jordan Palmer, Ryan Carter, Matt Travell, Nick Miller, Jack Schelvis, Joe Thomas, Alfie Cleal, Jake Brown, Chris Harris, Jordan Blackwell, Adam Hampson. Subs: Ali Umar, Liam Whitehead, Jamie Baker, Mark Dallinge.