Iron boss discharges himself from hospital to inspire crucial win
- Credit: Archant
National League Premier Braintree Town 2 Dover Athletic 1 In a battle of the two basement teams it was the Iron who ran out winners to secure their first home league win of the season and the lift themselves off the bottom of the league, writes David Ward.
It was the ideal tonic for Iron caretaker manager Hakan Hayrattin who had discharged himself from hospital in the morning so he could be at Cressing Road to be in charge for what was a crucial game dubbed as a six-pointer.
“It’s certainly the best tonic I could have because all the players were fantastic in the way they showed their pace and commitment throughout forcing the visitors on the back foot for long periods,” he said. “Their workrate was tremendous and I am proud of them.”
The Iron gave a debut to 19 year-old striker Virgil Gomis from Notts Forest, on loan for a month, and he led the line exceptionally well and was unlucky twice in each half not have put his put his name on the scoresheet while both Justin Amaluzar and Reece Grant also fired in tremendous shots well saved by Athletic keeper Mitch Walker.
It was Amaluzar who gave the Iron their 13th minute lead, heading in a right wing corne at the near post and twice before the break he could have added to his tally.
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The start of the second half saw the visitors at last starting to penetrate the home defence with their long balls into the area where they had four six-foot players waiting and the tactic finally paid off on 68 minutes when one such ball was met at the far post by Kevin Lokko to head home the equaliser.
The Iron, without their injured keeper Ben Killip and central defender Dave Nieskins, held firm though with the central defensive pairing of Joe Ellul and Kodi Lyons-Foster outstanding, and the high pressing game paid off in the 78th minute when the on-rushing Lyle Della-Verde raced onto a fine pass and was brought down by keeper Walker in the area.
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Up stepped young Grant to drive the ball into the net and the restore the home side’s lead and although the visitors threw players forward in a last ditch effort to fine another equaliser the home side deservedly held on to record their first home win.
A delighted Hayrettin then had to hurry back to hospital where he awaits an operation for the removal of kidney stones.