HALSTEAD Town were knocked out of the Isuzu FA Vase at the first-round stage after losing out on penalties to Stanway Pegasus, writes KEN GILLIARD.

The Humbugs bowed out against their opponents who are flying high in Thurlow Nunn League division north, after the tie at Milbank Stadium finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

There was plenty of action early on as first Jack Cherry touched an effort around the post from former Humbug Sam Cripps, then at the other end Joel Older’s cross was helped goalwards by Kane Gilbert but visiting keeper Sam Felgate saved.

Pegasus took the lead on four minutes when Taz Issa was left alone in the middle of the area and he planted the ball beyond Cherry’s reach.

Halstead almost equalised when Matt Coppen's long throw was flicked on by his fellow centre-back Robbie Bennet and a visiting defender cleared off the line, via the underside of the crossbar.

But Pegasus should have stretched their lead moments later when Cripps headed over with the goal gaping, as the visitors continued to look dangerous on the break.

Halstead Gazette:

Cherry saved Callum Griffith's curling effort but Halstead then produced a great move involving Brown, Gilbert and Older, with the latter’s cross headed wide by Gilbert.

However, moments later Halstead were awarded a penalty when Ade Funbi was taken down from behind in the box and Gilbert stepped up to equalise.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the Humbugs had efforts from Dutton and Alfie Cleal comfortably by Felgate, before Dutton's header went to safety.

Dutton fired over from an acute angle, as the sides went in level at the break.

Pegasus started the second half strongly and within a minute of the restart had a penalty shout as Griffith went down under Cherry's challenge.

Halstead Gazette:

Issa then had a chance to double his own tally but his goalbound shot was headed for a corner by Bennett.

Pegasus restored their lead when Dean Ager's fine left-foot strike from a 35-yard free-kick flew into the top right-hand corner.

Jordan Palmer sliced his volley wide when well placed for Halstead and Cleal's effort from the edge of the box sailed narrowly going over, as they pushed for an equaliser.

But the Humbugs were nearly underdone on the break when Griffith and Cripps combined and the former was denied by Bennett's block.

Issa curled his effort wide when he should have done better for Pegasus but Halstead equalised when Cherry's long punt forward was played on by Funbi and Bennett calmly side-footed home from the edge of the box.

The final minutes saw huge effort from both sides, with Griffith and Ager going close for Pegasus while at the other end, Funbi was denied by a last-ditch touch.

The final act was the second yellow for Gilbert which saw Halstead play the final additional minute with ten men but there were no further goals and the tie went to penalties.

Pegasus scored all of their efforts in the shoot-out and Halstead crucially missed one, as the visitors progressed.