HALSTEAD Town lost 3-2 at home to unbeaten leaders Woodford Town in the Essex Senior League, writes KEN GILLIARD.

Ernest Okoh headed over unmarked early on for the visitors while soon after, Luke Parrott’s effort was easily held by Halstead keeper Jack Cherry.

The hosts gradually got into the game and Eddie Allan's effort was comfortably saved and soon after, Kane Gilbert’s close-range effort was turned around the post.

Woodford took the lead on 15 minutes in controversial fashion as Okoh slammed home the ball after a low cross could only be parried by Cherry.

However, there seemed to be a handball missed by the assistant in the build-up.

Gilbery almost equalised but Allen scrambled his effort away at the far post while at the other end, Nathan Sollosi broke through the Halstead defence on the counter and rounded Cherry but Matt Travell cleared off the line.

Cherry beat Okoh's effort away to safety and Parrott then outstripped the home defence but his effort was deflected onto the outside of the near post.

Halstead equalised on 40 minutes when an Older corner was met by Gilbert and he cushioned his header beyond Allan, as the sides went in level at the break.

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Woodford almost regained their lead after the break when Matt Coppen got a foot in to prevent Parrott from scoring, after Okoh had got down the right.

Joe Maybanks fired agonisingly over for Halstead, who went ahead just after the hour mark.

Older cut in from the left flank and let fly with his left foot with a shot that left Allan helpless.

Alfie Cleal fired a thunderous volley just over from the edge of the box but the water break seemed to work in the visitors' favour.

Woodford applied some pressure straight after but Cherry was alert to it, smothering the ball on two occasions to avert danger.

Cherry saved from the dangerous Parrott and substitute Oscar Onurah, before Jack Schelvis's fantastic intervention prevented Parrott getting on the end of Onurah's delivery.

Woodford's pressure finally paid off as Alex Bolovan's free-kick evaded everyone and ended in the bottom left hand corner of the net with just three minutes left.

Onurah missed a decent chance but then crossed for Parrott who turned the ball in, to turn this match on its head.

Gilbert's free-kick was superbly tipped over by Allan and then Coppin’s header was saved on the line with a large shout for a handball, as Halstead were beaten.