Hungerford beat Braintree to move out of the relegation area

Hungerford moved out of the relegation zone, won their third away match in four and kept a second clean sheet in three games. It was a well deserved win which puts confidence back into the squad ahead of two crunch home games coming up over the next two weeks. Ian Herring made two changes to the side beaten by Hampton. Matt Jones came in on the left-wing, Yan Klukowski returned from injury in place of James Constable and the suspended George Smith. James Rusby moved to his more conventional centre back position with the more mobile Akinwale Odimayo acting as a box to box midfielder. 

There was a clear game plan from the start, pressing the hosts high up the pitch meaning their usual passing game was disrupted. The usual crisp passing was missing with the long ball route having to be constantly used to beat the never-ending press. Liam Ferdinand was a key part of the press and potentially should’ve scored inside three minutes however a sliding tackle from Michael Clark stopped him in his tracks towards goal. The promising start could’ve all unravelled if Hungerford would’ve been properly punished for a poor defensive lapse. Femi Akinwande collected a misplaced pass a yard outside the penalty area. His heavy first touch allowed Adam Siviter to come out and stop the striker shooting at goal. Siviter though was thankful for Marcus Johnson-Schuster for covering and clearing the rebound off the line. It was a crucial moment as just five minutes later Cameron McGilp’s goal-bound effort deflected in. The afternoon was cut short for midfielder Klukowski who was forced off through injury on twenty minutes. Iron keeper Michael Johnson was tested for the first time, pushing away a fierce drive from Jones. There was a timely reminder just before half time that the visitors had to keep switched on despite their dominance. Ade Cole saw his shot saved well by the feet of Siviter. 

The first action of the second half saw Hungerford double their advantage. Joe Tomlinson’s cross/shot across the face of goal was met by the predatory instincts of Ferdinand. The two goal cushion was just what was needed and further deflated Glen Driver’s out of colour side. To their credit though the hosts did try to keep playing football on the floor and could’ve pulled a goal back instantly after going two down. Adam Mills’ deep cross was met by Jack James and despite being close to goal his header flew over the bar. Johnson-Schuster, Jones and Rusby all had further chances to seal the three points. Ferdinand, Taofiq Olomowewe, and Tomlinson also went close as a host of opportunities to win more than one football match presented itself to the Crusaders. Siviter still had to be alert in-goal as Lucas Kirkpatrick’s curling shot tested the goalkeeper. With ten minutes to go and both teams going through the motions, McGilp heaped more misery on a rain swept Cressing Road and sent the vocal away fans into jubilation. The midfielder’s calm finish left Johnson stranded and having to pick the ball out of his net on a third occasion. Substitute Alfie Cerulli should’ve scored late on but a consolation for the hosts wasn’t deserved.

 

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