Super-sub Hall-Johnson nets vital winner for Braintree Town against their lowly rivals
PUBLISHED: 14:10 12 February 2017
Braintree Town 1 North Ferriby United 0
Braintree Town have created some breathing space, between themselves and the National League relegation zone, thanks to a precious home win over lowly North Ferriby United at Cressing Road on Saturday.
Iron boss Hakan Hayrettin had insisted before the game that this was “not a six pointer,” but the importance of this win cannot be under-estimated in the Essex club’s quest to remain in non-league’s top tier for a seventh successive season.
In the end, it was substitute Reece Hall-Johnson who came up trumps with the all-important winner, 12 minutes from time.
The Iron had been knocked out of the FA Trophy at Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday night, humbled 5-2 by their Ryman Premier hosts in South London.
But they were back on track against North Ferriby, who sunk to the bottom of the National League after this result, and York City’s home draw against Maidstone.
Braintree, who travel to Eastleigh on Tuesday evening, are now four points clear of the drop zone, and with two games in hand over Southport, who currently occupy the fourth and last relegation slot.
Defender Ian Gayle came in for the suspended Sean Clohessy at right-back on Saturday – ex-Colchester United defender Clohessy had been sent off for a professional foul at Dulwich Hamlet – while the returning Monty Patterson, back on loan from Ipswich Town, slotted into midfield.
Leading scorer Michael Cheek was also back in the starting line-up, after injury, with Lee Barnard dropping to the bench.
A goal-less first-half saw Iron have the better of the exchanges, but without getting that vital breakthrough.
North Ferriby went close when Sam Topliss struck the bar, but it was Iron who grabbed a 78th minute winner.
New Zealand international Patterson was instrumental in the goal, delivering a low cross from the right for an unmarked Hall-Johnson to net from close-range.
BRAINTREE: Beasant, Okimo, Parry, Goodman, Gayle, Twardek (sub Hall-Johnson, 60), Isaac, Farrell (sub Corne, 65), Patterson, Midson, Cheek. Subs not used: Barnard, Henshall, Dias.