Stowmarket Town back on song with victory over Halstead

Halstead's Ricky Spriggs pus Ace Howell under pressure

Halstead's Ricky Spriggs pus Ace Howell under pressure - Credit: Archant

Stowmarket returned to winning ways as they ended the visitors’ unbeaten league record at a bitterly cold Greens Meadow.

Stowmarket's Jack Baker challenges Halstead captain Ricky Spriggs

Stowmarket's Jack Baker challenges Halstead captain Ricky Spriggs - Credit: Archant

Goals from Steve Holder and skipper Duane Wright in the opening quarter of an hour set Rick Andrews’ men on their way and although 10 man Halstead pulled a goal back midway through the second period Stowmarket were able to see the game out.

The home side had suffered defeats to Woodbridge and Diss in their last two games and in addition were missing the influential Danny Cunningham through suspension.

However, this did not appear to faze them and they were quick out of the blocks going ahead in the third minute as Ace Howell’s mazy run ended with his shot being deflected against the crossbar and into the path of fellow striker Steve Holder who was first to react and head home.

Holder then volleyed over after good work from Jack Baker before the lead was doubled when Baker curled a free kick from the left into the path of Duane Wright whose glancing header from 12 yards out found the net though keeper Joe Fowler may think he could have done better.

Lewis Higgins watches as Lewis Cunliffe's header pulls a goal back for Halstead

Lewis Higgins watches as Lewis Cunliffe's header pulls a goal back for Halstead - Credit: Archant

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Ace Howell was continuing to threaten the Halstead defence and had another effort deflected over the bar.

The visitors eventually threatened and Matt Staines shot wide from a good position before visiting midfielder Julian Simon-Parson was booked for dissent after the referee accidentally intercepted a forward pass.

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Halstead made a brighter start to the second half though the game soon became rather fractious and was punctuated by stoppages and yellow cards.

James Murray then carved out an opportunity for himself but his curling effort was tipped over by Stowmarket keeper Lewis Higgins.

After a raft of substitutions the game came to life on 66 minutes when Simon-Parson kicked out at Jack Baker after initially winning a free kick for himself and received the inevitable red card for his rush of blood. Going down to 10 men had no immediate effect on the visitors as the resulting free kick was swung over by Marcus Warren and headed home by centre back Lewis Cunliffe to give the Humbugs hope.

Halstead pushed forward for the equaliser but were leaving gaps at the back as Stowmarket broke using the pace of substitute George Bugg. Anton Clarke was getting through a mountain of work in the midfield for the hosts and he set up Ben Licence who lobbed the keeper only to see his effort go narrowly over.

Halstead came again in a desperate attempt to force the equaliser and to preserve their unbeaten record

However, only a late deflected effort from Tom Cook caused any problems as Stowmarket held on to remain second in the league and four points behind leaders Coggeshall but with a game in hand.

The two go head-to-head at in three weeks time at Greens Meadow.

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