Second-half goals from Zane Banton and Mitchell Weiss helped St Albans City to overturn an interval deficit at Clarence Park last night and stretch their unbeaten start to the National League South season to a fifth game as they beat Braintree Town 2-1.

The victory takes City to fourth in the fledgling table and leaves veteran manager George Borg and his Braintree side firmly entrenched at the bottom of the pile as the only club yet to collect as much as a single point this season.

The result aside though, this was not a performance to convince anyone that City can make a sustained challenge this season. A good performance and a point or three from next Tuesday’s visit to Dartford, however, will make the doubters think again.

The opening couple of minutes were promising with Jordan Chiedozie looking menacing for the Iron, while Weiss and Ryan Wiltshire threatened at the opposite end of the pitch. It proved to be a false dawn and 18 minutes had passed before either side again suggested that a goal might be in the offing.

The play was slow with both sides opting to tease the other with tedious square and backward passing, thankfully that changed when Solomon Nwabuokei shrugged off Romario Dunne on the halfway line and played a neat one-two with Shaun Jeffers before scuffing a weak shot wide.

A minute later Munashe Sundire received a pass from Jeffers and sent Iron goalkeeper Preston Edwards sprawling across his goal to turn the ball away.

Just before the half-an-hour there was an almighty scramble inside the Braintree six-yard box following a Zane Banton corner from the City left. Edwards somehow blocked the ball on the goalline as Dave Diedhiou tried to force a way through before the ball was hacked to safety.

The rest of the half looked to be petering out until City defender Michael Clark – who scored in the corresponding fixture last season for Braintree – smacked an attempted clearance against his own crossbar following a good move by the Iron and a low cross by the London-born Kosovan Arjanit Krasniqi.

Braintree maintained the momentum with Chiedozie forcing former Iron goalkeeper Michael Johnson to save low down while City responded with Jeffers flashing a shot across the face of the visitors’ goal.

City may not have conceded many goals this season but they have made a habit of letting in farcical ones and another was added to the collection on 44 minutes.

A wild clearance by Clark was seized upon by Town captain Matthew Johnson who quickly spayed the ball wide to Louis Yamfam. The Watford youngster chipped a cross towards the edge of the six-yard box, Tom Bender waited for Johnson to collect but the keeper stopped and presented Dunne with a simple opportunity to nod in the opening goal.

City showed slightly more desire and dominated the possession after the break, but they were lacking the pace and conviction of earlier in the season. More often than not the biggest talking point during the second half was the mist that started to appear at the lower, Hatfield Road, end of the ground and gradually wound its way up the hill towards the York Road goal.

Braintree offered little as an attacking entity after the break although, on 53 minutes, Yamfam received a lay-off from Dunne and was only denied by the diving Johnson’s outstretched left arm.

A spell of City pressure looked to be breaking down when Wiltshire collected the loose ball and fired narrowly wide from some 28 yards out. Three minutes later, the 64th, City pulled level.

A cross by Wiltshire on the City left was headed away by Johnville Renne but only as far as Sundire on the right. His poorly directed delivery struck lucky as it hit the boot of Johnson and fell straight to Banton who swept a sweetly timed right-footed shot to the right of the static Edwards from 16 yards.

Banton’s 33rd goal in 130 games for the club was expected to signal a City onslaught but, in fact, they remained somewhat muted but still added a second goal nine minutes later.

Weiss was twice involved in the build up but it was only when Bender played a good ball up to Banton and he, in turn, quickly slid a fine pass down the City left that Braintree were exposed.

Wiltshire excelled to get the better of Renne and Jamie Fielding close to the goalline before cutting a good low ball into the goalmouth that Weiss poked home from just a couple of yards out.

The final 17 minutes, plus more than five minutes of added time, were surprisingly tame. City’s attempts to waste time were clumsy and that spread right through the team with Johnson fumbling a looping header from Liam Smyth and almost allowed Chiedozie to pinch a goal.

The game had an unsavoury finish when City substitute Joseph Chidyausiku quite ridiculously threw himself to the ground clutching his face following a mild spat with former Saint Fielding. It was clear that the City player had not been struck and was swiftly back on his feet.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, T.Bender, K.Wiltshire, J.Kaloczi, M.Clark, S.Nwabuokei, S.Jeffers (J.Chidyausiku 90), Z.Banton, D.Diedhiou (R.Akinola 62), M.Weiss (J.Mukena 80), M.Sundire. Subs not used: C.Onokwai, D.Dada.

Braintree Town: P.Edwards, J.Fielding, J.Renne, M.Johnson, G.Allen, K.Clements, R.Gordon, A.Krasniqi (C.O’Keefe 69), R.Dunne (L.Smyth 82), J.Chiedozie, L.Yamfam (B.Rolt 77). Subs not used: L.Holness, G.Forrest.