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Braintree miss chance to do the double over Rovers
FOREST GREEN ROVERS 4
BRAINTREE TOWN 1
Blue Square Bet Premier
Braintree Town were unable to do the home and away double over Forest Green Rovers as they fell to a 4-1 defeat on the road in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Having beaten the promotion hopefuls 3-1 at the Amlin Stadium in December, the Iron were hoping to get back to winning ways after Saturday’s 2-0 loss against Hereford United.
However, James Norwood’s hat-trick proved too much for the Essex side as they failed to build on one of the division’s best away records.
Braintree made just one change to their starting line-up from the side that began their defeat by Hereford.
The change was Crawley Town loanee Aaron Wickham, making his first Iron start in place of Kenny Davis, who had failed to overcome a knee injury picked up during the weekend match.
Braintree were looking to build on the strong finish they made in that home defeat, but were rocked by two goals by Norwood in the opening half hour.
The first came after just 19 minutes when the Rovers forward fired into the top corner of Nathan McDonald’s goal for his 11th strike of the season.
And Forest Green underlined their early dominance in the 27th minute when Norwood struck again, this time finding the target from just outside the box.
A repeat of Braintree’s victory against Rovers at the Amlin Stadium before Christmas looked unlikely at this point, but they found themselves back in the game before half-time.
Having had a halt for a clash of heads deep in their own half, Braintree played the ball long from the restart and it fell to Luke Daley, who thundered a shot past Sam Russell in the home goal from 25 yards out.
So it was the Iron who would have been the more buoyant heading into the interval and they began on the front foot after the break by pressuring the home goal.
However, they were unable to turn that into goals and were left regretting not taking their chances when a goalmouth scramble ended with Forest Green restoring their two-goal advantage.
It came in the 53rd minute and Yan Klukowski got the final touch, but Braintree came back once more with Sean Marks and Dan Holman both bringing saves out of Russell.
There was to be no comeback for the Iron this time, though, as Norwood completed his second hat-trick of the season when a header looped over McDonald from Klukowski’s 64th minute free-kick.
The defeat meant the Iron dropped to 19th in the table, but they will look to bounce back when they host Southport at the Amlin Stadium on Saturday.