Substitute Roarie Deacon's strike sinks Braintree Town and fires Hawks into FA Trophy fourth round

Roarie Deacon (left) Picture:  Dave HainesRoarie Deacon (left) Picture:  Dave Haines
Roarie Deacon (left) Picture: Dave Haines
Substitute Roarie Deacon's second-half strike helped send Hawks into the last-32 of the FA Trophy for the first time in six years.

The midfielder hammered home from close range 17 minutes from the end as Paul Doswell's side recorded a 1-0 third round triumph over fellow National League South side Braintree Town behind closed doors at Westleigh Park.

It was a tie lacking in quality yet Deacon was on hand to come up with the one moment for the hosts to send them into Monday's fourth round draw.

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Paul Doswell made five changes from the team that progressed past Bracknell Town in midweek. Anthony Straker, Sam Magri, Craig Robson, Josh Taylor, Daniel Ajakaiye and Joe Iaciofano were those who retained their places in the starting line up.

Hawks were, unfortunately, forced to go back behind closed doors with Havant placed under tier three of the government's coronavirus three-tier system.

The fact supporters were unable to attend might have played a part in what was a first half lacking in quality and any chances of note.

Braintree were more than happy to sit in and allow Hawks plenty of the ball.

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Taylor sent a shot fizzing just wide of the target from outside of the area late in the half but other than that the hosts created very little.A heavy hail downpour just past the half-hour mark - with referee Michael Ryan briefly pausing the game - hardly helped matters as Hawks struggled to find that bit of quality needed to make a breakthrough.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first 45 minutes although the hosts were fortunate not to go behind eight minutes after the restart. Hawks were unable to clear their lines from a long throw with centre-back Taofiq Olomowewe skewing wide from close range.

A breakthrough did finally arrive for Doswell's side 17 minutes through substitute Deacon. Braintree failed to clear Benny Read's cross with Danny Kedwell heading back across goal to Deacon who was on hand to hammer home.

Striker Wright could have all but made sure of victory for the Hawks four minutes later. Another substitute - this time Christian Rowe - slid the hosts' leading scorer in behind but he fired just wide of the far post.

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Braintree striker Danny Bassett did sting the palms of Ross Worner in the final 10 minutes but Hawks comfrotably saw out the final few minutes.

Hawks: Worner; Read, Magri, Robson, Straker, Poku, Taylor, Gomis, Ajakaiye, Wright, Iaciofano. Subs: Rowe (Gomis, 52), Deacon (Poku, 63), Kedwell (Iaciofano, 63).

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