Shaun Gale labelled key decisions as a ‘total disgrace’ as the Hawks slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Blue Square South leaders Braintree Town last night.
For the second time in three days, the Hawks got off to a fine start against high-flying opposition, Jon McDonald putting them ahead on three minutes.
But just like against second-placed Ebbsfleet on Saturday, the opposition were allowed to strike back and seal all three points.
Gale slammed last night’s decisions, though. He felt Braintree handled the ball in the build-up to their leveller and also criticised the late sending off of scorer McDonald.
‘We’ve been well and truly mugged and it was a total disgrace,’ said Gale.
‘I feel there is no place for what happened in football.
‘Having said that, we have to take our chances and learn to kill off teams.
‘We were 1-0 up and missed at least two or three gilt-edged opportunities to put them away.
‘I would rather stick to my principles because I believe if you do things right, eventually it will come good.’
Full-back McDonald returned to the starting line-up after recovering from cracked ribs.
And Giuseppe Sole came in for Ian Selley, who dropped to the bench.
With just three minutes gone, Sammy Igoe swung in a corner from the left and McDonald rose unmarked to thump home a close-range header.
When the visitors tried to respond, Matt Paine’s shot on the turn looped harmlessly to Nathan Ashmore in the home goal.
The Hawks were showing real attacking intent and raced forward again to create another good opening.
Full-back Jake Newton skipped past three tackles and laid the ball across to Wes Fogden. Unfortunately, the latter could only slice his effort horribly over the bar.
The hosts had the ball in the net again when Steve Ramsey’s looping cross was bundled in by Sam Pearce, who was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper.
Fogden then forced a low save from Nathan McDonald with a shot through the crowded area.
The league leaders improved as the interval approached and Kenny Davis sent an acrobatic overhead kick narrowly over the bar.
But the Hawks were bossing proceedings in midfield with Ben Hinshelwood, in particular, impressing.
Braintree began to get forward more at the start of the second half and Gary Calver curled a shot straight at Ashmore.
The hosts had a let-off on 66 minutes when a corner saw the unchallenged Paine head over at the far post.
On 70 minutes the visitors clawed their way back with an equaliser which had more than a hint of good fortune.
From a contested free-kick, the ball went loose deep in the Hawks area and Newton’s clearance struck Akurang and rebounded into the net.
Sole sent a header against the outside of the post as the hosts looked to make a quick response.
But a minute later, Braintree broke and substitute Scott Shulton’s quickly-taken shot from the edge of the area beat Ashmore.
In the final minutes, the Hawks had McDonald controversially sent off after clashing with Akurang, although the defender seemed to have minimal contact, if any.
Hawks: Ashmore, Newton, McDonald, Igoe, Pearce, Simpemba, Fogden, Hinshelwood, Sole, Tiryaki, Ramsey. Subs: Selley, Scott, Tyrrell, Robson, Howe.
Braintree: McDonald, Starkey, Jones, Bailey-Dennis, Paine, Symons, Lechmere, Reason, Davis, Akurang, Poole. Subs: Peters, Quinton, Thorne, Calver, Shulton.
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