The Hawks would make the 140 mile journey to The Rare Breed Meat Co. Stadium to take on Essex side Braintree Town. The Hawks going into the game having taken a point against Weymouth at Westleigh Park this time last weekend and seen a Hawks XI win 7-0 on Wednesday night in the Portsmouth Senior Cup. Braintree come into the game with 2 wins in their last 3 following 2-0 victories over Weston-super-Mare at home and Hemel Hempstead Town at The Focus Community Arena before a defeat last time out, losing 2-0 to Yeovil Town on the road. The hosts go into the game in 14th Place knowing a win could see them rise into the top half of the table depending on other results. Steve King’s Hawks head into the game without the Suspended Tom Bonner as well as the injured Yoan Zouma and Leon Baker on top of long-term absentee Sam Matthews.
The Hawks would start the brighter of the two sides with an early chance falling the way of Sion Spence. Roarie Deacon found Spence in space but his strikes was blocked behind for a corner. The hosts would grow into proceedings with Tompkins and Blackwell seeing chances come and go.
Berkeley-Agyepong would have one of the best chances of the half for the Hawks as he was the final part of a great attacking move. In on goal, Berkeley-Agyepong was denied by the outstretched leg of Reyes to keep the game goalless. Deacon was intelligent to latch onto a half-cleared ball and recycle play. Roarie drove down the line, beating his man before crossing into a dangerous area but nobody was there to convert.
The hosts would take the lead just a few minutes later through Will Davies. Ben Mason capitalised on some space in between the lines and would strike at goal. His effort was saved but the rebound fell back out towards him and he was afforded the space to cross to Davies who finished the move off to give the hosts the lead generally against the run of the play.
Berkeley-Agyepong would be involved in a move that could’ve seen the Hawks back on terms just a few minutes later as he slid the ball across the edge of the area towards Spence. He looked to strike at goal but was denied by a last-ditch sliding block.
The hosts would look to extend their lead with Blackwell coming forward and picking out Mason with his ball in but he saw his volley blocked before Blair came close after being picked out by Coulthirst in a move that could’ve easily doubled Braintree’s advantage. One of the main battles of the First Half was between Kai Innocent and Tom Blackwell as the hosts kept up their pressure to take a more convincing lead into the break.
The hosts thought they had a second as Lambe combined with Blair who rounded the keeper and slotted home, but the assistant’s flag was raised to deny a doubled advantage before the break. The score would remain with the hosts having a slender advantage and the Hawks having work to do in order to get back into the game.
HALF TIME: BRAINTREE TOWN 1-0 HAVANT AND WATERLOOVILLE
The hosts would come out firing after the interval and should’ve grabbed a second 8 minutes into the second period as a low Tompkins shot that was saved was collected in space by Will Davies but could only fire over inside the Hawks penalty area, a big let off for Havant as Davies didn’t punish the defending.
The Hawks would have a great passage of play just before the hour mark as they held onto possession and knocked the ball looking to find a gap and that gap eventually appeared. Berkeley-Agyepong looked to fire a pass into Spence but the Welsh midfielder was unable to control and the hosts regrouped.
Shaquille Coulthirst would extend the hosts advantage just before the hour mark latching onto a flick from Will Davies, big offside appeals waved away after Coulthirst lifted the ball over Worner for it to nestle in the back of the net. The Hawks felt aggrieved by the decision but the officials upheld their decision and the goal stood. The goal would set up a difficult final 30 minutes for the Hawks.
Havant would look to bounce back and reduce the deficit as young Forward Jafer Mahammad-Kier had a pair of opportunities not long after coming onto the field. He challenged Braintree goalkeeper Vicente Reyes for a James Roberts cross and very nearly got there ahead of Reyes. Minutes after, he would collect at the back post from a Hawks corner but would bend an effort over while trying to find the far corner.
The search for a goal would continue for the Hawks as Muhammadu Faal had a golden chance after latching onto a cross but was somehow denied by Reyes from close range. The pressure from the Hawks would continue as a cross came into the area, not fully dealt with by Reyes with the loose ball falling to Spence but he blazed his effort over. Another huge chance coming and going for the Hawks.
Just after a change for each side which saw Busari replace Faal for the Hawks and Ward replace Coulthirst for the Iron, the Braintree sub Ward would pick up an assist. In one of his first involvements in the game, Ward was picked out down the line by Will Davies before flashing a low cross to Aaron Blair at the back post to give Braintree a third and out the tie well out of reach with just 15 minutes left on the clock.
Reggie Lambe would finish off Braintree’s fourth driving forward from midfield, bursting through the lines before rounding Worner and rolling into an empty net to put the game beyond any doubt heading into the final exchanges.
Hawks Substitute Billie Busari would net a consolation goal on his return to league action from injury meeting a cross and smashing home at the back post. This wouldn’t be the Hawks’ last chance of the game however as McCarthy struck wide from distance in an effort that had Reyes scrambling across his goal before in the last moments of added time a venomous strike from Joe McNerney from the edge of the area which looked destined for the back of the net but for Reyes flying across his goal to save.
The Full Time whistle would bring proceedings to a close, a far from ideal start to a busy November for the Hawks who have very little time to prepare for another tough test on Tuesday night at Woodside Road against high flying Worthing.
FULL TIME: BRAINTREE TOWN 4-1 HAVANT AND WATERLOOVILLE
Braintree Town: Reyes (GK), Mason (White 82’), L. Davies, Lambe, Grimwood, Tompkins, Blair, Payne, W. Davies, Coulthirst (Ward 74’), Blackwell (Critchlow 67’)
Unused Subs: Blunkell (GK), Herschel
Cautions: Blair 32’, Critchlow 77’
Goals: W. Davies 21’, Coulthirst 59’, Blair 75’, Lambe 80’
Havant and Waterlooville: Worner (GK), Stanley, Innocent, McNerney, McCarthy, Faal (Busari 74’), Jebb, Berkeley-Agyepong, Deacon (Mahammad-Kier 60’), Roberts, Spence (Jewitt-White 86’)
Unused Subs: Stedman
Cautions: Roberts 22’, Jebb 32’
Goals: Busari 82’