Hungerford Town 2-0 Braintree Town: Crusaders move up National League South table as Sol Wanjau-Smith stars at Bulpit Lane
Hungerford Town moved up to 13th in the National League South after a 2-0 victory over Braintree Town at Bulpit Lane on Tuesday evening.
Sol Wanjau-Smith scored the opening goal of the game after 26 minutes when he took the ball past a defender and smashed his driving effort low and hard past Billy Johnson.
The Crusaders doubled their lead shortly before the break when Wanjau-Smith was brought down on the edge of the box.
From there, Jake Evans fired a low and hard shot through a crowded penalty area and it found its way into the back of the net.
Hungerford manager Danny Robinson made four changes to Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Dartford.
Matt Jones, Evans, Wanjau Smith and Callum Willmoth all returned to the squad in replacement for Curtis Angell, Louis McGrory, George Smith and Chris Flood.
After a scrappy start to the game, Braintree created the first opportunity of the game.
A long throw from skipper Matthew Johnson saw the ball eventually fall to Myles Anderson, who hit the ball just wide of the post.
The first attempt from Hungerford came after 15 minutes as Seager, from a free-kick at the edge of the box, forced Johnson into a strong save at his near post.
The breakthrough was made a few moments before the half-hour mark as Wanjau-Smith’s work-rate was rewarded.
After brilliant hold-up play from Seager, he found Wanjau-Smith who then took the ball past the defender and found the bottom left-hand corner.
The goal allowed Hungerford to play with a bit more freedom and they doubled their lead shortly before the break.
After some strong play from Wanjau-Smith, Hungerford were awarded a free-kick on the left-hand side of the pitch.
From there, a powerful shot from Evans resulted in the ball missing everyone in the crowded area and finding its way into the back of the net.
Braintree almost pulled a goal back instantly, but Luke Cairney pulled off a superb save with his feet to deny Alfred Payne from close range.
It woke Hungerford up and they could have extended their lead on two occasions before half-time as Matt Partridge and Evans both had chances that went just past the post.
In the second-half, it was the visitors who came out stronger and Femi Akinwande should have tested Cairney, but he blazed his effort over the bar.
At the other end, Wanjau-Smith broke forward and dragged his shot just wide of the far post.
Seager then went close to finding the back of the net, but his curling effort from the left was comfortable for the Braintree goalkeeper.
Both sides made a number of changes and it took the sting out of the game a little as neither side created much after the substitutions.
Hungerford had to deal with a number of balls into the penalty area, but they stood tall and got over the line to register a crucial three points.
As a result, Robinson’s side moved up to 13th in the table and now turn their attention to an FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie with National League side Bromley at Bulpit Lane on Saturday (3pm).