Leaders Woodbridge held to draw at home by Halstead

Mark Ray gives Woodbridge the lead against Halstead. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Mark Ray gives Woodbridge the lead against Halstead. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant

Thurlow Nunn First Division Woodbridge Town 2 Halstead Town 2 Top-of-the-table Woodbridge Town were held to a draw at home and it was probably a fair result after the away side’s impressive second half performance at Notcutts Park, writes John Middleditch.

Mark Ray celebrates his goal for Woodbridge. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Mark Ray celebrates his goal for Woodbridge. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant

Jack Shelvis’ goalbound effort was blocked for a corner by Aaron Churchyard after six minutes and Karl Andrade’s shot was well saved by home keeper Alfie Stronge a minute later.

The Woodpeckers took the lead after 19 minutes as George Bowman’s accurate pass found top scorer Mark Ray and his shot easily beat away keeper Joe Fowler to make it 1-0. Then Ray’s shot from an acute angle after 22 minutes hit the side netting.

Callum Sinclair’s cross just eluded Ray after 28 minutes and on the half hour Ray’s shot tested Fowler.

Andrade’s shot was well parried for a corner by Stronge after 32 minutes but then it was 2-0 after 33 minutes when Bowman’s second assist found Ryan Keeble and his shot beat Fowler, although the keeper got a touch to the ball.

Ryan Keeble makes it 2-0 to Woodbridge with a fine curled effort. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Ryan Keeble makes it 2-0 to Woodbridge with a fine curled effort. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant


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Woodbridge kept coming, as Ray’s shot was parried for a corner by Fowler after 35 minutes and Keeble’s pass found Ray after 42 minutes but his shot went inches wide of the post.

In the away side’s first attack of the second half the dangerous Adam Hampson’s pass from the right wing found Andrade and he made no mistake to make it 2-1.

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Shelvis’ header went wide of the post after 58 minutes and Churchyard made another excellent tackle to deny Hampson on the hour.

Halstead made levelled after 70 minutes when Andrade’s shot was well parried by Stronge but Jamie Baker was first to the rebound to score the equaliser.

Woodbridge's Ryan Keeble enjoys his goal with Callum Sinclair. Picture: PAUL LEECH

Woodbridge's Ryan Keeble enjoys his goal with Callum Sinclair. Picture: PAUL LEECH - Credit: Archant

Ban Garnham’s shot from 20 yards went inches over the bar after 72 minutes for the Woodpeckers and Keeble’s effort after 77 minutes missed the target as Woodbridge went in hunt of the winner.

Ray’s pass found captain Alex Greggor and his shot again tested Fowler after 78 minutes.

There was a crucial moment a minute later when Andrade’s goalbound shot from Hampson’s cross was cleared off the line by Dale Hammond to keep the score at 2-2.

Keeble’s cross was well held by Fowler after 86 minutes as an entertaining game for the neutral ended level, with the away side deserving a point.

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