A DEVASTATING spell of three goals in four minutes shattered Braintree Town’s dreams of a first National League South point of the season as they tumbled 4-3 to a Hemel Hempstead team that had also lost their first three matches, writes RON FOSKER.

Leading 2-1 with 43 minutes on the clock, Iron’s shell-shocked players entered the dressing room at half-time 4-2 down.

They made something of a fight of it in the second half and pulled one goal back but even when facing ten men for the last half hour could not grab the equaliser.

Six of the goals came in a 27-minute spell in the first half.

Hemel took the lead in the 22nd minute through a Taofiq Olomowewe header but Braintree were back on terms within two minutes through a neat flick from Liam Smyth after new signing – and skipper – Matt Johnson had surged forward from midfield.

Iron took the lead in the 39th minute when Romario Dunne scored the goal of the game.

Picking up the ball in midfield, very little seemed on but he unleashed a cracking drive from fully 30 metres that arced beautifully over keeper Dean Snedker into the top corner.

It all began to unravel in the 44th minute when Reggie Young was brought down in the area and Hemel captain Matt Bateman stepped up to slam in the penalty.

Two minutes later it went even further awry as George Forrest, in an unaccustomed centre-back role, chested the ball into his own net from a cross by former Iron Ade Cole.

A minute later Jake Evans volleyed in a left-wing cross to make it 4-2.

There was still time for further drama when Dunne thought he had scored after a pull-back from Louis Yamfam but the assistant referee deemed that the ball had crossed the by-line before the cross.

Yamfam was incensed at the decision and there may have been some justification as the same assistant had flagged on an earlier occasion when the whole of the ball had clearly not crossed the whole of the line.

The second half was a more humdrum affair featuring only one goal – although Hemel did manage to hit the post twice.

The goal came with a quarter hour to go and a quarter hour after Chris Paul had been sent off for a second bookable offence.

Arjan Kresniqi met a free kick at the far post and his cross was turned in by Kyran Clements.

Cue much frenzied activity in the final stage of the game but the closest Braintree came to stealing a point came in time added on when substitute Johnville Renee worked his way neatly past two defenders but Jordan Chiedozie could not get a proper purchase on the ball and it sailed harmlessly over the bar.

There were positives to take from the game.

Johnson added grit to the midfield and looked to have the experience to mould the game to his thinking while Dunne was something of a revelation up front, far more bustling and determined than in his earlier midfield appearances.

But when a defence lets in four goals in 25 minutes, it is not difficult to spot where the main problem lies.

Braintree Town: Preston Edwards; Jamie Fielding, Kyran Clements, George Forrest (Johnville Renee 46), Charley O’Keefe; Rohdell Gordon, Arjan Kresniou (Olumide Oluwatimilehin 81), Matt Johnson, Louis Yamfam (Declan Cameron 57); Romario Dunne, Liam Smyth.