HALSTEAD Town drew 4-4 with Buckhurst Hill in a Essex Senior League thriller, writes KEN GILLIARD.

The Humbugs played out an eight-goal thriller with the Stags at the Milbank Stadium.

An immaculately observed minute's silence was held prior to the match for former Halstead Town committee member, life member and gateman John Juniper, who sadly died recently.

Halstead took a tenth-minute lead through Kane Gilbert, who scored from the spot after Joel Older had been brought down in the box.

Humbugs keeper Jack Cherry denied Marcus Samuels before on 15 minutes Gilbert added a second, guiding his header from Matt Travell’s cross out of the reach of Reed.

Buckhurst Hill pulled a goal back in the 20th minute when Josh Samuels got behind the home defence and slid the ball under the advancing Cherry.

The goals continued six minutes later when Joe Maybanks' corner was met at the far post by Matt Travell and his bullet header left Reed no chance.

Cherry denied Henry Clark just before half-time, as the hosts went in at the break leading 3-1.

The Stags came out motivated and within three minutes had reduced the arrears as Samuels was pulled down in the area and slotted the resultant penalty home.

Reed made a fine save to deny Alfie Cleal while at the other end, Samuels was again through on the home goal but Cherry was out quickly to block his effort with his legs.

Buckhurst Hill made it 3-3 on 61 minutes when a Samuels goalbound effort from the corner of the six-yard box beat Cherry, after a slight deflection off a defender.

And the visitors continued their comeback on 66 minutes when Samuels held the ball up on the edge of the area and slid in Chandler Wray, whose low crisp effort found the back of the net.

But Halstead made it 4-4 when Gilbert pounced on a poor back pass and thumped the ball passed Reed to complete his hat-trick.

The game took another turn on 80 minutes as Oliseh Okunguni received a second yellow and was dismissed.

The Stags would see the final minutes out with just ten men, which was made worse as at the same time they had a player sin binned and were down to nine.

Halstead pushed hard for a winner but Buckhurst Hill were resolute in defence and still looked to hit their hosts on the break, as the spoils were shared.