HALSTEAD Town played out a 2-2 draw with Saffron Walden in a windswept Essex Senior League encounter, writes KEN GILLIARD.

Battling blustery conditions turned the match into a game of two halves as each side fared better with the wind at their backs.

Although Halstead had to mount a robust rearguard action in the second period, it's hard to argue against a draw being a fair result.

Bloods had a brisk start despite kicking into the wind, with players Stan Leech and Joni Vukaj creating early opportunities, but met resistance from Halstead's Robbie Bennett.

Turning tides, Halstead took the lead, as a Joel Older through ball found Kane Gilbert who was fouled in the box.

Gilbert expertly recorded his 33rd goal of the season from the resultant penalty.

Building momentum, the Humbugs quickly doubled their lead due to a swift response from Harry Pinkney who capitalised on a misplaced clearance by keeper James Bransgrove.

The Bloods fought back on the 37-minute mark, with Tom Head hitting home a perfect cross, closing Halstead's lead to one goal.

Despite Gilbert's skilful manoeuvre past the home defence, his shot was foiled by a superb save from Bransgrove.

That saw half-time draw to a close with the Humbugs leading 2-1.

Into the second half, Leech was unlucky on two occasions, narrowly missing the target.

Halstead’s Pinkney also found fortune elusive with ball control problems spoiling promising charge forwards.

Yet fortune favoured the Bloods.

On the hour, a ball over the top found Head who was tripped by keeper, Jack Cherry.

Leech took the penalty, swiftly levelling the score.

Cherry redeemed himself afterwards with a splendid save off Leech, keeping the score level.

The visitors were under constant threat as tensions ran high at both ends as Halstead’s Older and Walden’s Amir both saw promising shots missing the mark by inches.

In the final moments of an absorbing game, Cherry pulled off a great save at the near post which earned the Humbugs a share of the spoils.

It was a game which gave credibility to the adage that the game isn’t over until the final whistle.