The Beavers head to Essex hoping to bring positive momentum from 2023 into the new year. High-flying Hampton & Richmond, currently nestled in second in the league, travel to a Braintree side languishing in 12th after three consecutive defeats.
Mel Gwinnett's men come into the fixture having built up an impressive Seventeen game unbeaten run. Most recently, that consists of three draws (against Braintree, Yeovil and Slough) and two wins in our last five (against Weston and Slough). Ben Seymour sits on fourteen goals, with Bloomfield next in the scoring charts on eight. The Beavers currently boast a three point advantage to their nearest competitors Worthing and Maidstone, and know that they cannot come out of the weekend any lower than fourth place, on goal difference.
The Irons, on the other hand, sit in comfortable mid-table, with the risk of a relegation battle slightly at best. The hosts are eleven points clear of 21st place Eastbourne Borough. With a change of form, Braintree fans will be hoping for a play-off charge, with their side just six points off seventh place.
In the previous encounter, there was late drama at Beveree as Hampton & Richmond came from behind to earn 1 point. Braintree struck first in the 82nd minute as a shot from Reggie Lambe deflected into the goal. Ben Seymour then scored a penalty at the death after being brought down by Lambe in the box.
The Beavers had a penalty shout in the 25th minute after a shove on Seymour was waved away by the referee. The rest of the first half was an even affair.
It wasn’t until the restart after half that the best chances came for both sides. The away side’s speedy frontline had a period of sustained pressure starting in the 78th minute and broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute.
Despite going down, the Hampton & Richmond backline held strong to keep it at 1-0. The drama wasn’t done as 6 minutes were indicated for extra time.
In the 90 +4 minute, Seymour was brought down by Braintree’s goalscorer, Lambe. Seymour stepped up and slotted home it into the bottom left to bring the score level at 1-1.
Historically, the Irons have a big edge in this fixture winning 17 and drawing six of our 31 encounters. The Beavers last win came in February 2022, a lone Miller-Rodney strike securing a 0-1 win at crossing Road.