Home   Sudbury   Sport   Article

Subscribe Now

Injuries take their toll but Halstead Town look to bounce back in FA Vase at Baldock Town





Halstead Town manager Mark McLean said he could not have asked more of his injury-hit side than he got in their 3-2 Thurlow Nunn League First Division South home loss to White Ensign.

But despite the same backline issues going into Sunday’s Buildbase FA Vase tie at higher-league Baldock Town (3pm), he still harbours strong hopes of continuing their journey in this season’s competition.

Goalkeeper Jack Cherry is another three weeks away from a return with a fractured nose. Central defenders Gary Burdett, who is yet to play this season, Matt Caley and Connel Dunlop, who only lasted 66 minutes on his return on Saturday, are all sidelined.

Halstead Town's Jack Cherry, pictured making a save against Newham Athletic on the opening day of the season, is currently sidelined with a facial injury Picture: Mark Westley
Halstead Town's Jack Cherry, pictured making a save against Newham Athletic on the opening day of the season, is currently sidelined with a facial injury Picture: Mark Westley

“We are very, very stretched at the back and that is why we went from keeping two clean sheets to losing 3-2 twice in a week,” said McLean, also referencing last Tuesday’s home league reverse to Little Oakley, where he also felt they got caught out defensively.

“It is the madness of football that our two worst performances have been 1-0 wins.”

Halstead had dominated the first half but trailed 1-0 before conceding another two goals by the hour mark to give themselves a mountain to club.

Sam Kendle stepped up from the reserves to play in Halstead Town's 3-2 home defeat to White Ensign Picture: Ivor Dallinger (42584632)
Sam Kendle stepped up from the reserves to play in Halstead Town's 3-2 home defeat to White Ensign Picture: Ivor Dallinger (42584632)

They came close to managing it though with Ricky Gardner’s close range header in the 72nd minute and a penalty converted by debutant Joe Older – with the young forward on dual registration from Step 4 side Heybridge Swifts – four minutes later setting up a frantic conclusion.

With what he believed to be a legitimate equaliser disallowed, McLean was less than happy with the officiating, labelling it ‘shambolic’.

He said: “The boys showed great character though and I cannot fault them.”

Looking ahead to taking on Spartan South Midlands Premier Division side Baldock in the second qualifying round, he said: “It will be a very good test for us but we will certainly not go there fearing them.

Halstead Town's Joe Older in action on his debut against White Ensign Picture: Ivor Dallinger (42584630)
Halstead Town's Joe Older in action on his debut against White Ensign Picture: Ivor Dallinger (42584630)

“We are a good side away from home and maybe an ugly 1-0 win would do us this time.”

READ MORE: Alarm bells not ringing for Mark Morsley after 5 AFC Sudbury defeats