Havant and Waterlooville
Grant 31' | Bettamer 38' | Grant 72'
Williams 2' | Rose 45+1' | Kabamba 90+4' | Rutherford 90+6'
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
With seconds left of injury time it looked as if the Hawks would come away empty handed but persistence by Lee Bradbury’s side saw us secure that first win to kickstart our season.
There were three changes from Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat. Paul Robinson was unavailable due to personal reasons, Dan Strugnell who started his first game on Tuesday Night saw his injury flare up again and Andreas Robinson was dropped in favour of Theo Lewis in an attack minded Hawks XI.
And attack was what the Hawks did leaving the hosts stunned as Williams was teed up well by Nicke Kabamba before driving forward into the penalty area and smashing home a rocket of a shot to give Havant and Waterlooville the lead at Cressing Road and a perfect start.
The Hawks started the game brightly, causing Braintree a whole host of problems as just seconds after the goal the Hawks found themselves with a corner once again as Stock on the right hand side whipped a delightful ball into the penalty area which illudes the initial man Woodford but picked up by Nicke Kabamba who sees his header tipped of the line by Kilip in the Braintree goal.
Quarter of an hour in and the Hawks were pressing forward once more as Wes Fogden drove forward, ducking and diving his way through the Iron challenges before playing it forward to Nicke Kabamba who saw his effort blocked by the Braintree defender.
Minutes after it was Tarbuck’s turn to have a go on goal as Lewis brings the ball down to play into his path but he could only drag his effort well wide of goal.
Half way through the half and the hosts had their first significant chance of note as a mix up at the back saw Luke Allen presented with the ball with an open goal to aim at but much to the Hawks’ relief couldn’t lob it into the net.
But following that chance the Hawks went up the other end and nearly found a second as Brian Stock’s corner, his balls into the penalty area being crucial for the Hawks, saw his latest cross swung into the path of Nicke Kabamba who’s header was directed inches wide of the target, the Hawks coming close once more.
However the hosts would pull back to level terms half an hour in as Reece Grant headed the ball home from 6 yards out following a long ball into the penalty area.
And 8 minutes before the interval, Braintree took the lead as a free kick on the edge of the penalty area by Mo Bettamer was curled deliciously into the top right hand corner to turn the tide of the game.
But the Hawks are starting to get used to games that seesaw in dramatic fashion and before the interval the Hawks got themselves back level as the ball flashed across the penalty area saw Rose in space and Rose used his height to head the ball into the top right to make it 2-2.
The first chance of the second period fell to the Hawks within 10 minutes of the restart as Ed Harris gets on the end of yet another beautiful Brian Stock corner but Harris’ header is well blocked by the Braintree man.
But despite a high tempo start to the second half chances would come few and far between and we’d have to wait another 10 minutes for another moment of note as Williams plays the ball through to Pavey and with the ‘keeper Kilip on rushing he was forced to move the ball out wide and cross to his strike partner Nicke Kabamba but the cross was too high for the Hawks number 10.
With 20 minutes to play Braintree got their noses in front again as Reece Grant gets in behind the Hawks defence and with the goal at his mercy and Young coming out decides to lob the ball past him to put the hosts back in front for the second time.
That meant that Lee Bradbury had to roll the dice with a switch of the Alfie’s as Pavey was replaced by Rutherford with a quarter of an hour left to play.
And Rutherford would be the inspired substitution that Lee Bradbury would have wanted him to be playing a crucial part in both of the Hawks’ injury time strikes.
With the board for Stoppage time reading 4 minutes the Hawks knew there was time to salvage something and salvage they did.
With 30 seconds left of the 4 minutes Ryan Young launched a big kick forward finding Rutherford, who calmly chests the ball down into the path of Nicke Kabamba who from the edge of the penalty area drives the ball low into the bottom left hand corner to bring the scores level.
It seemed as if that was it and the whistle would be blown, but no, the Hawks kept going right until the death and when Wes Fogden won the Hawks a free kick in the 96thminute 40 yards from goal, there was one final chance for the Hawks to nick a dramatic winner.
Stock was the man who took it and he swung a delightful ball into Alfie Rutherford, who unmarked, directed his downwards and goalwards and once he latched onto the effort there was nothing Kilip could do in the Braintree goal as the Hawks secured their first ever National League win in the most dramatic of circumstances.
14 goals in 2 games for the Hawks, as they provide more entertainment but this time the Hawks were on the right side of a 7 goal thriller away from home.
Finally getting that rub of the green this could be the kickstart that the Hawks needed ahead of next week’s encounter against title favourites Salford City at Westleigh Park, kick off 3pm.