ALREADY WEBBED

The Hawks’ penalty misery continued as they surrendered the National League South’s last unbeaten league record.

Saturday, 14th September 2019, 7:17 pm
Anthony Straker missed from the sport for the Hawks Picture: Dave Haines

Anthony Straker became the third Hawks to miss a spot-kick in 2019-20 as his side dominated possession but were beaten 3-1 by Braintree.

Boss Paul Doswell was forced into one change – 19-year-old ex-Winchester City centre-half Joe Cook coming in for his debut in place of the injured Dean Beckwith.

The Hawks suffered double disappointment inside the opening 14 minutes – falling behind and losing their captain due to injury.

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After Sam Magri’s close-range shot had been turned against the bar by keeper Michael Johnson, Braintree took a fifth-minute lead when Tom Richardson headed in Ade Cole’s cross.

Skipper Wes Fogden then hobbled with a hamstring off to be replaced by Bradley Tarbuck.

Within three minutes of Tarbuck’s arrival, though, he had fired the Hawks level – cutting in from the left and hitting a 20-yard shot past a possibly unsighted Johnson.

The hosts poured forward after that, with Josh Taylor seeing one header hit the bar and his follow-up effort cleared off the line.

Both Jonah Ayunga and Roarie Deacon warmed Johnson’s hands with blistering shots, before Braintree regained the lead against the run of play five minutes before the interval.

A quick breakaway resulted in Alfie Cerulli playing Richardson through to round Ross Worner and fire into the roof of an empty net.

In time added on, Deacon was guilty of a horror miss.

Left unmarked on the six-yard line with the goal at his mercy, he contrived to fire his shot straight against the one defender on the line.

The second half followed a similar pattern, but chances were far fewer.

After half-time sub Danny Kedwell - on for hamstring victim Deacon - had volleyed wide at the far post, the home side were awarded a spot-kick for a foul on Taylor.

However, left-back Straker’s poor left-foot effort in the 67th minute was saved by Johnson diving to his right.

The Hawks’ misery was completed in the 88th minute when Braintree broke to make it 3-1. Femi Akinwande was left in acres of space to scamper clear and score with a cool finish.