HALSTEAD TOWN put daylight between themselves and White Ensign in another crunch Thurlow Nunn League showdown for the Humbugs.

The sides met in a key battle at the top of first division south, with Mark McLean's team starting the day second and two points better off than third-placed Ensign.

The Humbugs' title hopes had suffered a blow after losing 1-0 at home to leaders and champions-elect Hashtag United last Saturday.

However, they dusted themselves down and got back to winning ways after an important 3-2 victory against Ensign.

Chris Harris headed in at the far post to put them ahead.

And although the hosts soon equalised, Harris pounced again to put his side ahead at the break.

Halstead's third followed in the second half, when Kane Munday crossed from the left and Nick Miller converted.

Ensign scored again to ensure a nervous finale but it finished 3-2 to the buoyant Humbugs.

Elsewhere, COGGESHALL UNITED, who started the day sitting fifth, drew 2-2 at Frenford.

They fought back from two-down thanks to goals from George Smith, from the penalty spot, and Mwetsi Matangi.

First Division Knockout Cup finalists HOLLAND FC played host to basement boys Fire United and returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at the W&S Scaffolding Community Stadium.

BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES lost 4-0 at leaders and champions-elect Hashtag.

The Thurlow Nunn League programme had started with a north Essex derby between BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT RESERVES and WIVENHOE TOWN, on Friday night.

The Dragons eventually cruised to a 3-0 victory to continue their recent revival, despite a promising start for Regent's youngsters.

Ironically, Wivenhoe had lost 8-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season but they ensured a very different scoreline this time around thanks to two headed goals from Tim Dennis.

Josh Chapman was also on target with his side's second, converting from the penalty spot.

In the premier division, BRANTHAM ATHLETIC welcomed newly-crowned champions Histon to the Leisure Centre.

The Stutes cemented top spot after a barnstorming 3-0 victory at Wroxham on Tuesday, scoring all their goals in the first 16 minutes.

It was their first title in 12 years, since lifting the Conference South crown to seal promotion to the Conference National in the 2006/07 season.

However, they were brought back to earth after a 2-0 defeat against Michael Brothers' impressive Imps.

Lamell Howell gave them a dream start, coolly slotting home after getting behind the Histon defence.

And the same player added his side's second in the latter stages.

FC CLACTON suffered a 5-1 defeat at high-flying Stowmarket Town.

Two goals in three minutes put the hosts in control and although skipper Wayne Chapman soon pulled one back, the Suffolk side added three more after the break at Greens Meadow.

Neither HARWICH AND PARKESTON or LITTLE OAKLEY had matches on Saturday.

So who deserved our star performance award this week?

Halstead and Brantham are the obvious contenders and, on this occasion, the latter were worthy winners.

Histon are the champions and runaway leaders and had only lost twice prior to Saturday, so it really was an exceptional result for the Imps.