Vanarama Conference Premier

Braintree Town’s winning run was brought to an abrupt run by Eastleigh at the Miles Smith Stadium.

The Iron came into this Vanarama Conference Premier game on the back of three wins when they hadn’t conceded a single goal.

However, Eastleigh put five past them on a day to forget.

Braintree Town made two changes from the side that beat Dartford 2-0 on Boxing Day.

Ryan Peters was out with a thigh injury as Mitch Brundle came in and Charlie Strutton was rested as Dan Sparkes made his first start since early November.

It was a slow start from both sides, although Braintree had slightly the better of the play.

However, they were lacking the touch of quality needed with efforts from Simeon Akinola, Matt Paine and Chez Isaac all wayward in the opening stages.

They kept pressing, though, and having defended a threat in their own goalmouth in the 20th minute, they broke upfield and Sparkes was able to cut the ball back to Sean Marks.

He tried to turn it goalward and only a frantic stop on the line from Ben Strevens kept it out.

As play resumed, Eastleigh’s top-scorer, James Constable, had a great chance after good work down the right by Will Evans and his rising shot went just over the bar.

Constable then drilled a low effort just wide and the visitors’ pressure finally told in the 31st minute when Craig Stanley worked a yard of space on the edge of the box and curled a shot past Hamman to take the lead.

The visitors looked in control with that goal and former Braintree midfielder Jai Reason went inches from doubling their lead, but Braintree were handed a lifeline in the 43rd minute.

Akinola’s jinking run into the box saw his heels clipped and, with the referee pointing to the spot, Brundle stepped forward to put the penalty home to pull his team level at the break.

And it may well have been even better as a wonderful run by Akinola down the left ripped the Eastleigh defence open.

He pulled the ball back to the onrushing Sparkes, but his bundled effort came back off the post just before the half-time whistle came.

They continued in confident fashion after the break and only double heroics from Eastleigh keeper Ross Flitney made sure it stayed level in the 49th minute.

First Akinola saw Flitney make a great stop and he recovered just in time to deny Sparkes from the follow-up when a goal looked certain.

They were soon to rue not making more of that, though, as two goals in two minutes put Eastleigh in full control.

It was Constable on both occasions who did the damage, first prodding home from close-range in the 53rd minute and then getting away from Sam Habergham before slotting the ball home in the 55th.

Braintree responded well and pressed hard for a way back in, but they looked vulnerable to breaks and a fourth Eastleigh goal showed that as a cross from the left was headed in by Jack Midson.

It was then quickly five as Constable completed his hat-trick to rub salt into the Iron’s widening wounds.