Vanarama National League South

Braintree Town’s latest meeting with Hampton & Richmond Borough was far less distinguished than the last time the two clashed in Vanarama National League South action.

That previous meeting had been in the league’s play-off final at Hampton and Richmond Borough in May 2018.

That day, when the Iron won promotion at the end of a tight encounter and dramatic penalty shootout, became a part of the club’s folklore, but this was far less memorable.

Braintree had been looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats in their previous two games and to rediscover the form that saw them win 3-0 at Hemel Hempstead, but they never recovered from two early setbacks in a 4-0 defeat.

There were three changes from the Braintree side that started the FA Trophy defeat by Yate Town seven days earlier.

They saw returns for forward duo Alfie Cerulli and Rhys Murrell-Williamson to the line-up and a first start this season for Christian Frimpong after his recent return to the Iron first-team squad.

Coming out were Tom Richardson, who had left the club in the week, while Charley Barker dropped to the bench and there was no place for player/manager Jake Hutchings in the matchday squad.

That previous game saw Braintree take a lead in the first minute and there was an early goal this time as well, however, it wasn’t in the Iron’s favour this time.

The opening strike came with just three minutes on the clock as Ruarridh Donaldson fired Hampton into the lead from an early corner.

It was a setback for the Iron, but they fell further behind on 17 minutes when Louis Soares, who had only just come on after an early substitution by the visitors, found himself space to strike home from the corner of the box to put Hampton 2-0 ahead.

It was nearly 3-0 when Danilo Orsi-Dordamo steered the ball inches wide of the target from a low cross across the Iron goalmouth by Soares as the game approached the half-hour mark.

At the other end, Braintree struggled to make a telling mark and the closest they went was from a Michael Clark header that was glanced just wide of the target from a corner in time added on at the end of the half.

Trailing by two at the end of the opening 45 minutes, Braintree knew a big half was needed after the break and they had a better start than in the first as Dipo Akinyemi went close with a shot after cutting inside from the right-hand side.

However, things quickly went downhill again and they fell further behind on the hour mark.

Hampton & Richmond’s third goal came from a Ryan Hill penalty after referee Jason Richardson ruled that Iron keeper Michael Johnson had committed a foul in the area.

It was a further blow for the hosts, but not the last as Charlie Wassmer headed in a fourth for Hampton & Richmond from a corner in the 90th minute.

That just about capped another frustrating outing for Braintree as they were beaten 4-0 although there was the slim consolation that they held on to eighth place in the league table.

Braintree Town: Michael Johnson, Jack James, Cameron Green, Lucas Kirkpatrick (Isaac Skubich 81), Michael Clark, Christian Frimpong, Ade Cole (Charley Barker 57), Dipo Akinyemi, Jason Banton (Yoav Sade 65), Alfie Cerulli, Rhys Murrell-Williamson. Subs not used: Hayden West.

Referee: Jason Richardson.