HALSTEAD Town claimed a third straight victory in the Essex Senior League after winning 2-0 at West Essex, writes KEN GILLIARD.

Goals from Kane Gilbert and Jake Brown secured another Humbugs victory and moved them yet further away from the relegation spots, with their Step 5 place for next year already secured.

Halstead's starting XI showed just the one change from the win against Woodford, with Matt Coppen replacing the injured Oli Lonton.

It was the hosts that threatened first as Zak Oliver’s cross was headed over by Lewis Danquah.

But Halstead responded immediately and good interplayed ended with Jordan Palmer playing in Alfie Cleal, but his effort from the edge of the box was well saved by the home keeper.

West Essex then had an excellent run from Moyo Asibaoe which saw him drive past two players before firing at goal but Jack Cherry saved well.

Joel Older then saw his goalbound volley on the home goal blocked by Saliu Loseye, as the two sides took it in turns to attack.

The opening goal came in the 18th minute when great combination play between Palmer, Brown and Cleal saw the latter set up Kane Gilbert, who fired past the home keeper Leblond.

The game settled down and was pretty even throughout although chances were at a premium and it looked like the whistle would go with Halstead leading by one, especially as in the 44th minute Leblond finger-tipped an effort from Gilbert over the bar.

However, Halstead were not to be denied and on the stroke of half-time, Gilbert's quick free-kick to Older saw him fire in a cross which Jake Brown tapped home.

It was Halstead who went closest in the opening minutes of the second period when Brown found Older out wide.

He took on his man and curled an effort just the wrong side of the upright.

Gilbert then warmed up the keeper’s hand when fired a shot from the edge of the box, but Leblond dealt with it well.

Palmer was next to see a goal bound effort blocked, after good work from Older, and the opening 15 minutes of the second half saw Halstead in control.

West Essex still posed a real threat and on 64 minutes, Halstead were grateful to Cherry for a superb save from a 20-yard rocket.

The hosts also had a golden chance minutes later Oliver hit q post with the goal at his mercy.

In between these two chances, Cleal fired over from close range when he could have extended the Halstead advantage.

Reece Clarke then headed over from a West Essex corner and as the game moved into the final 15 minutes the hosts were building up the pressure.

However, Halstead absorbed it well and Gilbert almost added a third, but his flicked effort hit the side netting.

Halstead comfortably saw the game out and took all three points.