THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
Halstead Town 0
Debenham LC 0
Mark Benterman claimed a point on his return to his old stomping ground as his new side Debenham LC drew with Halstead Town on Saturday.
A bumper crowd was in attendance in the spring sunshine at The Milbank Stadium to see the return of Benterman and his new charges.
Both teams set off determined to prove something for the same manager, either for or against him, with Halstead having an early shot which Debenham goalkeeper Steve Fenner handled well.
The Hornets knew they were under the curious gaze of the Halstead faithful and performed a high tempo defensive formation, looking for the pace merchants up front to exploit any weaknesses in their opponents.
Shaun Thorrold put a high one over from a free kick, before Paris Tuwizana turned smartly in the box, but scooped the ball over.
While Halstead were restricted by a superb back-four display to one long-range shot, dealt with by Fenner, Debenham could have gone in at the break ahead if Ryan Gardiner, who was free on the right, had taken another touch before shooting at goal.
Just after the restart, Alex Juniper, a recent signing for the Hornets, went up for a corner and hit the post and was unlucky with a further header, as he came narrowly close to enjoying a goal against his old club.
Another recent recruit, Kyle Ferguson, found himself free in the centre of the Halstead box, and his well-struck shot was blocked, before he won the ball back and shot just over the target.
Thorrold’s corners for the visitors were causing nightmares for the Humbugs, but in a breakaway Fenner raced out to clear, while the Halstead forward rolled over in the box.
It was heart in mouth time for Debenham, but the referee saw no wrong doing and waved away the home side’s appeals for a spot kick, much to the dismay of the vocal crowd behind Fenner’s net.
Benterman made changes as he introduced Zehn Young and Reumel Codrington in a bid to disrupt the Halstead back line.
Both players made an impact, with Young working some great passes on the left and Codrington setting up Tuwizana in the box, but the striker hit it straight at the goalkeeper, who managed to stop the shot with his leg.
Tuwizana made himself another chance with a fine bit of pace, but his shot drifted past the left post.
Halstead turned up the heat in the last 10 minutes, first causing Fenner to block well at the left post.
Then, with a series of in-swinging corners, Debenham managed to deal with the threat at goal and clear them away to make sure they left with a well-earned point away from home.
It was hard not to feel slightly disappointed that the Hornets were not going home with all three points, which in itself is a measure of where the team are now.
It was another team display which gets the juices flowing and is the sort of football the Debenham faithful will be willing to travel to watch.
Benterman’s side put in a courageous display against his former club and it was a lovely day for the boss and his family, as young Charlie led out the team, with Julie and daughter supporting from the sidelines.
Debenham LC: Fenner, Seaman, O’Donoghue, Juniper, Brock, Barker, Gardiner, Gathercole, Tuwizana, Thorrold, Ferguson. Subs: Diaper, Young, Hardwick, Codrington. Booked: Seaman, Codrington. Attendance: 148.