THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Framlingham Town 5
Halstead Town 1
Framlingham Town kept up their promotion challenge with a clinical home display against Halstead Town on Saturday, writes Iain Smith.
Having been beaten last time out by Downham Town, it was the perfect response from Mel Aldis’ men, who sit fifth in the table and are seven points ahead of table-topping Swaffham Town with three games in hand.
The home side started brightly with Danny Smith leading the line and his early shot from distance went wide before some good interplay between Johnny Kerridge and Matt Aldis resulted in the first of several first-half corners.
Meanwhile, Jordan Pavett had Halstead’s first opportunity with a free-kick in front of goal that sailed harmlessly wide of the post.
Up the other end, Framlingham eventually got the ball rolling in the 13th minute when visiting goalkeeper Joe Fowler could only half clear Max Willett’s corner and Kerridge was on hand to score from close range.
Halstead remained a threat, though, as they broke forward through James Baker and Karlos Andrade, with the former ballooning his shot over the crossbar.
And that miss was duly punished in the 20th minute when Framlingham doubled their advantage.
Jacob Taylor’s header was picked up by Cyrus Thorpe, who in turn played a one-two with Willett, and then fired into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Both Smith and Alex Ling had chances to extend Framlingham’s lead even further in the closing stages of the half, but neither could convert.
The travelling Humbugs had a better spell of attacking football for the first 20 minutes of the second half, with home skipper James Mayhew clearing a shot from Baker off the line before the same player had a header hit the crossbar soon after.
Framlingham brought on Josh Sprague and Chris Boardley and the former made an instant impact when he planted a 25-yard shot into the top corner of Fowler’s net to make it 3-0.
Smith made it 4-0 soon after, with Halstead going on to pull a goal back in the 85th minute when substitute Adam Morris netted.
That was just the fourth league goal that Framlingham have conceded at their Badingham Road base all season.
However, the final say on proceedings went the way of Framlingham and their marksmen Smith, who pounced on a defensive error to break free and lift the ball into the net.
The Castlemen will go in search of their 14th win of the campaign at 17th-placed Cornard United tomorrow (3pm), while they are without a fixture on Boxing Day.