HALSTEAD Town booked a Thurlow Nunn League first division south play-off trip to Benfleet after a 2-0 home win over Coggeshall United, writes KEN GILLIARD.

The Humbugs claimed victory in front of a season’s best crowd of more than 350 at Milbanks.

Halstead started well and went ahead within three minutes, after Jordan Blackwell’s cross was nodded home by top scorer Adam Hampson.

Hampson almost added a second minutes later as he turned on edge of area but his effort was well saved by Coggeshall goalkeeper Sam Kingston.

Halstead continued to accumulate corners and from one such set-piece, Matt Travell rose unchallenged at the back post but put his header wide of the upright.

The visitors slowly came back into the game and winger Josce Syrett fired low from the edge of the box, but Jack Cherry pushed it away for a corner.

Coggeshall should have scored from the corner but managed to put the ball over from four yards out.

Jordan Pavett then had a great chance to add to the hosts tally, but he smashed his effort from eight yards way over the bar.

Jordan Palmer then got on the end of Blackwell's cross but fired his effort well over.

Halstead were asserting themselves again as the half neared the end and Pavett's free-kick was headed just over by Hampson.

But Coggeshall withstood and went into the break just the one goal behind, with Halstead still on tenterhooks.

Coggeshall made the stronger start to the second period and Halstead needed two last-gasp interceptions from Cherry to keep them at bay.

The visitors forced a string of corners but Halstead back four had stood firm, albeit with the help of keeper Jack Cherry.

Halstead finally had an effort on goal when a Cleal long throw was headed on by Garry Burdett and Palmer’s header struck the bar.

The ball went straight up the other end and Travell ended up in a footrace with Pinkney, but he did enough to put the forward off and Cherry came out to gather the visitors' tame effort.

The same two players once again chased after a ball over the top and again Travell cleared his lines.

Callum Carter headed over for the visitors from a dangerous free-kick as the game entered the final 15 minutes.

Halstead were living off scraps but with 82 minutes on the clock they added a second to ease the nerves.

Cleal picked up the ball in the middle of the park and surged forward and pocked the ball through to Palmer, who spun and planted the ball in the bottom right-hand corner.

The momentum swung Halstead’s way and substitute Greg Strong almost got his first of the season as he smashed a 20-yard free kick against the bar.

Coggeshall did not throw in the towel and from another corner Cherry had to save with his feet to prevent them reducing the arrears but Halstead claimed victory.

Halstead: Jack Cherry, Ryan Carter, Matt Travell, Jack Schelvis, Garry Burdett (Greg Strong), Alfie Cleal, Nick Miller Louis O’Sullivan Jordan Blackwell Jordan Palmer, Adam Hampson and Jordan Pavett (Markus Dunn). Sub (not used): Sam Kendle.