HALSTEAD Town surrendered their unbeaten record in the Essex Senior League after losing 3-1 at undefeated West Essex, writes KEN GILLIARD.

The game at Wadham Lodge Stadium saw both sides looked to continue to challenge, at the top end of the table.

Halstead made a couple of changes to their line-up following their draw with FC Clacton, with Jordan Palmer and Ryan Carter in the starting eleven.

The early stages saw both sides threaten from set pieces although during the course of the opening 20 minutes but it was the Humbugs who dominated proceedings.

Home keeper, Michael Corderoy, was the West Essex saviour on 17 minutes when he tipped over superbly from Palmer.

Minutes later it was Palmer again who threatened, this time heading just over from a Kane Gilbert free-kick.

The pressure finally paid off for the visitors when, on 23 minutes, a Joel Older corner found the leaping Adi Funbi and his header burst into the roof of the net.

A deserved goal and reward for their early domination by the Humbugs.

However, Halstead's lead lasted little more than five minutes.

They conceded a penalty after a rash challenge in the box hauled down Ike Olaiya and David Bell stepped up and dispatched the ball passed Jack Cherry.

Halstead were straight onto the front foot again but a Gilbert cross just eluded Older and then it was Gilbert himself who blazed over with a West Essex effort sandwiched between, although Olaiya’s effort was blocked to safety.

A terrific half of football finished all square despite long periods of domination by the Humbugs and the second half started in similar fashion to the first with Halstead having the first effort on goal, Alfie Cleal going close from the edge of the box on 51 minutes.

However, they were hit with a sucker punch on the hour mark when Olaiya cut inside and bent a superb effort beyond Cherry - a stunning goal albeit against the run of play.

This buoyed the hosts and it was Billy Jones who threatened for them next when he turned the defence but saw his shot well saved by Cherry.

As the game moved into the final 20 minutes, Palmer was replaced by Sonny Dutton, as the visitors tried to salvage something from the game.

Halstead were then left feeling aggrieved as the referee turned down their penalty claims, as the game moved into the final quarter of an hour.

Those final minutes produced plenty of endeavour, with Halstead especially pressing hard, but there was no final product from either side until the hosts wrapped up all three points, five minutes into overtime.

Cherry came up for a free-kick and Darnell Broomfield robbed him of possession and ran the length of the pitch, to walk the ball into an empty net.

Halstead’s trip home would have been full of what ifs, as for large parts they dominated the game but returned with nothing for their efforts.