Vanarama National League South

Not for the first time this season, Braintree Town scored three goals on the road in the Vanarama National League South and finished on the losing side.

The first time it happened was a disappointing trip to East Thurrock United and their game at Hemel Hempstead ended in equally frustrating fashion.

Despite falling behind in the first half, Braintree responded well to take a 2-1 lead into half-time, but there were chances to increase their lead further and not taking them came back to haunt them.

That was because, after the break, Hemel took advantage of a crazy ten-minute spell by scoring three goals and although the Iron added a third with 15 minutes to go, they were left frustrated.

Braintree made two changes from the side that had drawn 1-1 with Welling United in midweek.

Marc-Anthony Okoye returned after two games out and there was also a start again for Tyler Campbell after he had impressed off the bench against the Wings.

Dropping to the bench in this one were Roman Michael-Percil and Osa Obamwonyi.

Braintree started well, with Campbell firing just over the target in the opening minutes and it took a great save from home keeper Laurie Walker to keep out a shot from Phil Roberts as he latched on to a rebound from a Scott Shulton effort.

Despite their good start, though, Braintree found themselves behind in the 21st minute when Charlie Sheringham – son of former England striker Teddy – took advantage of the space afforded him in the Iron box and headed powerfully into the goal.

It was a setback for Braintree after their good start, but they were behind for only five minutes.

Roberts had already gone close to a leveller when he headed just wide, but the equaliser came from a familiar, if unlikely, source.

Taylor Miles, who was a regular member of the Iron’s squad under boss Danny Cowley two years ago but is now at Hemel Hempstead, turned the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear from Billy Crook’s cross to restore parity between the two teams.

Having got themselves back on level terms, Braintree went looking for a second and thought they had it when a Shulton shot rattled off the crossbar and bounced down on to the goal line and away to safety.

Shulton wasn’t to be denied, though, and, with the half drawing to a close, he drilled a low shot on the volley into the bottom corner of the goal from the edge of the box.

That put the Iron ahead at half-time, but it was a slender lead when they may have felt like they should have been further ahead.

That feeling of frustration was compounded at the start of the second half when Hemel scored an equaliser in the 59th minute.

It came when an error at the back gave Hempstead striker Rowan Liburd the chance to go round Braintree keeper Nathan McDonald and slot the ball into an empty net.

Any feelings of frustration were doubled three minutes later as Braintree found themselves behind and then soon trebled.

First, in the 62nd minute, a free-kick into the Iron box ended with James Koloczi scooping the ball over McDonald after a goalmouth scramble.

And worse was to come three minutes later when Hemel captain Jordan Parkes fired a shot from outside the area into the back of the net off the foot of the post.

It was a crazy spell that Braintree had to put behind themselves quickly and a third goal on 75 minutes helped them do that.

A throughball to Roberts ended with the Iron striker slotting the ball between Walker’s legs to cut the deficit back to just one.

It meant a nervy last 15 minutes for the home side and they sat back to try to defend their lead as Braintree bombed crossed into the area, however, they were unable to get a crucial fourth to earn a share of the points.

Braintree Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Ben Wyatt (Ricky Gabriel 78), Christian Frimpong , Marc-Anthony Okoye, Scott Shulton, Luke Allen, Billy Crook Phil Roberts, Karl Oliyide (Dernell Wynter 67), Tyler Campbell (Roman Michael-Percil 85).

Subs not used: Alfred Mugabo, Osa Obamwonyi.

Referee: Alex Blake.