Match Data 2010/2011
Braintree Town 2
James Tyrrell (Scott, 86)
Mustafa Tiryaki (Williams, 86)
Cliff Akurang (Lechmere, 79)
Glenn Poole (Shulton, 86)
League leaders Braintree Town proved too much for the Hawks as the Iron consolidated their place at the top of the league with a 2-0 win at Cressing Road.
It took the hosts just five minutes to find the net as they overpowered their guests at the start; Kenny Davis’s low drive from the edge of the box sliding under Nathan Ashmore’s dive with the game barely begun.
Braintree’s onslaught continued and the side doubled their lead in the 19th minute when they broke down the left and Davis’s cross was weighted perfectly for Sean Marks to punch home with a downward header.
When Guiseppe Sole hit the post 30 minutes in it looked as though the Hawks were about to turn the corner, but despite a battling second half performance the side couldn’t find the net.
It was a bare bones Hawks side that lined up against the title favourites. Jon McDonald, Ian Selley and Steve Ramsey were all missing, with Manny Williams on the bench. They were replaced by Sam Peace, Sammy Igoe, Guiseppe Sole and a rare but energetic performance from Liam Sewell.
Attacking down the slope of the pitch, the hosts made an aggressive start to the game and inside the first minute Ashmore went full length to push Quinton’s free kick wide.
When the Iron came forward again the Hawks couldn’t back pedal fast enough and DAVIS found space on the edge of the box to fire low under Ashmore’s dive.
That signalled the start of a period of intense pressure for the hosts, and Cliff Akurang lifted the ball across the box for Glenn Poole to fire high.
The Hawks replied with a superb attempt from Sole that Iron keeper Nathan McDonald was forced to push wide.
But Igoe’s poor corner was cleared easily and Braintree raced to the other end where Jai Reason curled a shot just wide, followed by another off target effort from Akurang when he tried to turn another Quinton free kick home with a header.
The pressure told however and the Hawks fell further behind when Davis managed to lift the ball free of a tangle of players in the box straight to MARKS for an easy downward header that went under Ashmore’s reach.
Poole then drove another shot home before being flagged offside, and for a while it looked as though Braintree were free to score at will.
But on the half hour the Hawks began to claw their way into the game.
Sewell controlled the ball on the edge of the box and under pressure fed it through to Sole for an 18 yard shot that slammed into the post with McDonald well beaten.
Tiryaki then followed with a free kick that glanced off the edge of the wall and went wide for a corner. Igoe’s effort curled just over Ian Simpemba’s head for McDonald to punch clear.
Braintree Town 2
Havant and Waterlooville 0
The Hawks continued to remain more in contention as the second half got under way. Jake Newton’s cross came to Wes Fogden, who made an awkward attempt that bounced up and fell for Tiryaki to roll an equally difficult shot to McDonald.
Phil Starkey forced Ashmore into another superb diving save at the other end when he took a chance from wide on the right. Quinton then lifted in the corner and Ashmore lost his grip on the ball as it dropped into the box, leaving Davis to latch onto it and fire wide.
Sole almost got his head to a cross from Igoe under pressure, but the ball went for a corner cleared twice from the Iron defence before the hosts broke to the other end.
The Hawks gained a further chance when Quinton fouled Sewell inches outside the box, but Tiryaki’s shot hammered into the wall and deflected for Paul Hinshelwood to slice wide.
Simpemba’s ill timed back pass left Ashmore under pressure, but the keeper expertly wove his way past two attackers with the ball before launching it clear. Newton then picked it up on the wing and ran forward for a cross that saw both Fogden and Tiryaki denied by bodies in the line of fire.
Sewell tried to guide Igoe’s cross in with a header as the Hawks continued to enjoy the better of the second half, and the pressure began to tell as Braintree resorted more and more to the less admirable tactics of diving and time wasting that left them so disliked after their recent trip to Westleigh Park.
However on this occasion the referee was quicker to get the measure of them, and when Adam Bailey-Dennis’s histrionics after a collision with Tiryaki ended with the defender inexplicably throwing himself to the ground, it was he and not Tiryaki who gained the caution.
With four minutes of the ninety remaining, Shaun Gale put on Bobby Scott and Manny Williams in place of James Tyrrell and the inevitably cautioned Tiryaki to refresh the front line.
Six minutes of injury time, on top of four in the first half, served to counteract Braintree’s delaying tactics, and Williams lofted in a cross that almost went in by itself.
But ultimately it was the hosts who gained the most from the added time when Pearce was harshly judged to have pushed Lechmere in the box. With the clock already past the added time, Quinton stepped up to make it three for Braintree with the last kick of the game.
However, his low drive well to Ashmore’s right went wide of the post and slammed into the boards behind the goal.