PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN NORTH
BRENTWOOD TOWN 1 – 3 HASHTAG UNITED
Photos by Eli Birch
Three goals in the opening 21 minutes of the first half saw Hashtag take the points from this vital match between two play-off contenders. The teams started the match level on 51 points, but the visitors now move ahead of Brentwood into the league’s top five, the last play-off place.
For Brentwood, it was their third defeat in the last four league matches but they still have a game or two in hand on most of the teams above them.
Blues Ashley Nzala had the first shot on goal in the second minute, but Hashtag took the lead in the third minute when Kojo Apenteng broke away on the right wing and laid the ball across goal where Jermaine Francis scored from close range.
Nzala was a constant threat on the left for Brentwood and he twice went close before Hashtag’s second goal came in the 18th when minute Luke Hirst scored from Francis’s assist. Almost immediately, Hirst nearly scored again when his shot deflected just wide with Blues goalkeeper Harry Girling stranded.
Francis then scored his second, heading home from a corner to make it 3-0.
To add to Brentwood’s problems, captain and top scorer Tom Richardson limped off injured after half an hour’s play. He was replaced by Colchester United loanee Tom Stagg and in a double substitution Joe Wright, a new signing from Basildon United, also came off the bench for his Blues debut.
Josh Gray’s header was cleared of the line by Hashtag’s Tom Anderson five minutes before half time and Brentwood battled hard to get back into the match in the second half. Nzala was finally rewarded when his fierce shot found the corner of the goal in the 64th minute but Blues could not find another way past visitor’s keeper Anthony Page.
Brentwood Town: 1 Harry Girling, 2 Josh Gray, 3 Andrew Freeman (Freddie Gard 60'), 4 Jack Humphrey, 5 Matt Cripps, 6 Jai Reason, 7 Rob Harvey, 8 Connor Hogan (Joe Wright 32'), 9 Tom Richardson (Tom Stagg 31'), 10 Charlie Kendall, 11 Ashley Nzala