Pitch fails two pitch inspections
This afternoon's FA Trophy tie at home to Ebbsfleet United has been postponed. Over the past few days the pitch has been frozen and rarely thawed much as the temperature struggled to get above zero. With the pitch still frozen, we had a lot of rain on it last night and the new drainage struggled to cope until it thawed this morning. We started work on it early and had dressed the Quag End goalmouth but, at 12.30, the referee asked for more work on it. He re-inspected it at 1.30 and advised that there was another small area he was concerned with. Both managers were happy to play, but the match referee decided that the pitch was not fit and the game was postponed. The game will now take place on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45pm.
Braintree Town's Vanarama Conference trip to Southport this evening has been postponed. The Haig Avenue pitch is frozen and the weather forecast for the area provides little hope of a thaw. News on a new date when we have it.
Iron to visit Bristol Rovers in late February, if ...
Braintree Town have agreed a provisional date of Tuesday 24th February for their Vanarama Conference trip to Bristol Rovers. The match, originally scheduled for this coming Saturday - but postponed due to Iron's continued involvement in the FA Trophy, will take place on this date - only if the clubs are not involved in FA Trophy action. If that is the case, it has been agreed that the game will be deferred to either the 3rd or 10th of March.
Back in the game at 1-1, Braintree concede too quickly
Iron slipped to a frustrating home defeat at the hands of a smash and grab raid by Forest Green Rovers on Saturday. Braintree were looking to extend their unbeaten start to 2015 by recording a victory over the Gloucestershire side, who sit just outside of the playoffs. The game turned out to be the first defeat for the Iron as a brace from Jon Parkin consigned Braintree to defeat.
The games first opening came within a few minutes when a Braintree corner was headed low into the corner by Jordan Cox, the Rovers defence managed to deflect the ball inches wide. Cox then missed a sitter just a few minutes later. Simeon Akinola showed great strength to shrug off three defenders and turn them before passing to Chez Isaac out on the right wing. Isaac burst into the box and instead of shooting at an angle, he cut the ball back for Cox lurking yards from goal. Cox took a swipe at the ball but a bobble on the pitch put Cox off his strike. Had Cox been able to make proper contact, it would have been a glorious chance as Sam Russell was out of position to make a save.
It was a fast start from the Iron, but after twenty minutes Forest Green battled into the game, turning the match into an end to end entertaining match. The Rovers came close to opening the scoring when a long range blistering effort by Sam Wedgbury was saved by the fingertips of Nick Hamann, the ball rattling the crossbar before cannoning back into play. Braintree responded to the threat with a dangerous Isaac corner met by the head of Akinola, the chance going narrowly over. Aarran Rancine had an opportunity moments later, his shot from the edge of the six yard box bounced narrowly wide. The Iron had a very similar chance moments later with James Mulley whipping the ball into Cox but debutant Charlie Clough was on hand to clear the danger before Cox could pounce.
Forest Green Rovers Elliott Frear was a handful throughout the game, and towards the end of the half with no support he did well to dance through a couple of challenges to get himself into a shooting position, the however shot lacked any power and was easily scooped up by Hamann. There was still time in the half for Ryan Peters to go on a run himself, unleashing a shot that cannoned off the defence for a corner. The corner was whipped in by Isaac and bounced around the box before falling to the feet of Kenny Davis with his shot also being deflected wide for a corner. It was Isaac again with the delivery, this time met at the far post by Remy Clerima who could not direct his header towards goal.
The first half was end to end entertainment, but with no end product for either team. In fairness at half time neither team deserved to go in behind, but Braintree had certainly created more goal scoring opportunities.
Jon Parkin had an early chance in the second half as Forest Green hit the Iron on the break with the pace of Frear. The ball into the box by Frear found Parkin, his effort was tame and went wide without troubling Hamann. Moments later Akinola played a peach of a cross field ball that put Isaac clear on goal. Isaac did well in rounding the defender and goalkeeper, but as he went to shoot the ball appeared to slow down in the mud and Isaacs effort was straight at Russell. Russell could not hold onto the ball and it was spilled back into the path of Cox, but Clough was able to get in the way to block the ball, which was eventually smothered by Russell.
The first goal of the game came on sixty-eight minutes when Parkin was first to react in the box. A corner from the left side was met at the near post by Clough who knocked it on across goal. The ball fell at the far post kindly for Parkin who was able to apply the finish. After the game Nick Hamann commented that he felt it was a soft goal to concede.
From the restart the Iron went straight back on the offensive but were unable to create any clear cut chances. Substitutes Dan Sparkes and Sean Marks combined straight after being brought on when a Sparkes cross almost found Marks rushing in at the far post. They did however combine in the eighty-forth minute, a Sparkes delivery from a free kick created chaos in box. Davis was able to get a shot away which fell kindly to the unmarked Marks who struck the ball low and hard into the net to equalise.
They say you are most vulnerable right after you score, and that proved to be true for Braintree. On eighty-sixth minutes almost straight after the restart, Parkin got his second goal of the game. Frear again showed his pace on the left wing and delivered a cross into the near post, where Parkin had managed to get in front of the defence. The header from Parkin was deftly knocked on over Hamann and across goal landing just inside the post.
It was a sucker punch for the Iron who had worked very hard to get back into the game so late on. After the game Alan Devonshire praised the effort of his team and felt that in the end Braintree did enough to get at least a point from the game. Devonshire also shared Hamann's belief that Braintree needed to take the chances they created early on. The next game for the Iron is an away trip to Southport, one that Devonshire is now focusing to get a result at.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, James Mulley (Dan Sparkes, 75 mins) Matt Paine (Charlie Strutton, 80 mins) Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Jordan Cox (Sean Marks, 75 mins) Simeon Akinola. Unused Subs: Dan Walker, Carl Pentney. Forest Green Rovers: Sam Russell, Charlie Clough, Sam Wedgbury, Stuart Fleetwood (James Norwood, 80 mins) Marcus Kelly, Clovis Kamdjo (Chris Stokes, 84 mins) Aarran Rancine, Kurtis Guthrie, Elliot Frear, Rob Sinclair, Jon Parkin. Unused Subs: Chris Stokes, Corby Moore, Danny Coles, Steve Arnold. Match Report by Ryan Delaney. Attendance: 661.
Iron to meet Vanarama South opposition
The draw for the Third Round Proper of The FA Trophy has been made at Wembley today. Braintree Town have been drawn at home to Vanarama South side Ebbsfleet United. The tie is scheduled for 24 January, just 12 days away. The Third Round Proper draw:
Stockport County or Wrexham v Grimsby Town or Gateshead
Braintree Town v Ebbsfleet United
Chorley or FC United Of Manchester v AFC Fylde or AFC Telford United
Dartford v FC Halifax Town
Maidenhead United or Farnborough v North Ferriby United
Hemel Hempstead Town v Torquay United
Bath City v Altrincham
Oxford City or Woking v Dover Athletic
Braintree involved in FA Trophy action
Following Saturday's FA Trophy victory, our Vanarama Conference trip to Bristol Rovers scheduled for Saturday, 24 January is postponed. News on a new date for our trip to Bristol Rovers will be announced as soon as it is agreed.
Davis and Cox secure comfortable win
Braintree Town eased into the last sixteen of this season's FA Trophy competition following Saturday's 2-0 victory at Gosport Borough. Iron were in control of the tie for the majority of the game, made easier by their numerical advantage as Gosport Borough received two red cards on their way out of the competition. The goals came from Cox and Davis, the two scorers in Braintree's last match at Chester.
The match started slowly with both teams getting to grips with each other as well as a strong wind. Despite not creating any clear cut chances Braintree were comfortable and were putting in crosses that were testing the Gosport defence.
After twenty-five minutes Braintree were awarded a penalty when a Simeon Akinola cross was handled by Lee Molyneaux, the defender sliding in to block the cross with his hand high above his head. The referee had no hesitation in giving the penalty, which Kenny Davis stepped up to take. Davis placed his shot low to the right of the goal which Nathan Ashmore did well to get down and save.
The half progressed without too many attempts on goal by both sides. Both Matt Paine and Chez Isaac had blocked shots in the Gosport box before Matt Paterson attempted an acrobatic scissor kick that fizzed over the bar. Akinola showed a glimpse of what he could do with a sharp turn and shot that was parried by Ashmore.
Akinola grew into the half and was again behind the Gosport defence after a beautiful turn into the box. Akinola was bearing down on goal and was ready to pull the trigger when Dan Wooden unceremoniously brought Akinola down as the last man. The referee again had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and brandishing the red card. There were few complaints from the Gosport players regarding the decision. Davis showed nerves of steel by stepping up to take the spot kick after his previous attempt had been saved. Davis changed direction instead going down the middle as Ashmore went the same way as before, unable to get his foot to the ball. The goal came on the stroke of half time.
There was more drama before the half finished as Justin Bennett attempted to lob Hamann unsuccessfully. This was followed by more drama when Paterson was denied a penalty following a defensive error. Paterson was still able to get a shot away that was well saved by Hamann. The save was parried and the ball rolled into the path of Paterson who had a second bite at the cherry but this time Hamann made the save and smothered the ball. The first half finished with a flourish after a slow start and Braintree had a one goal advantage.
Almost immediately from the second half kick off Jordan Cox got himself on the score sheet after an embarrassing mistake by Ashmore. The ball was passed back to Ashmore by Sam Pearce, Ashmore then inexplicably played the ball along the ground straight to the feet of Cox who had the luxury of being able to take a couple of touches before dispatching the ball low into the opposite corner of the goal.
With twenty minutes to go Gosport were down to nine men for the second time in two games. Mike Carter was dismissed for the second time in a week for a two footed tackle on Matt Paine, who had to be treated on the sidelines following the challenge. Gosport had little complaint over the decision and now faced a very tough challenge to overcome the Iron. With the result more or less secured the Iron slowed the pace down, allowing Gosport to pass the ball around without getting close to Hamann.
Late on chances fell to both Charlie Strutton and James Mulley. Strutton's chance came from a Dan Walker cross that found him at the far post unmarked. Strutton had to stretch to make contact with the ball, but sent it over the crossbar. Mulley was put through on goal following a swift counter attack but as he ran into the box his feet got tangled with the ball which went out for a goal kick.
In time added on, Iron had a number of chances to add to their tally, but settled for 2-0. After the game Alan Devonshire stated that he feels that Braintree can do well in the competition and is taking it seriously. Victory over Gosport made it eight wins out of the last eleven games and with that form the Iron will be looking forward to the draw for the last sixteen on Monday.
Gosport Borough FC: Nathan Ashmore, Lee Molyneaux (Adam Wilde 51 mins) Dan Wooden, Mike Carter, Robbie Matthews, Sam Pearce, Tom Dunford, Danny Smith, Matt Paterson, Justin Bennett (Lee Wort, 78 mins) Steve Ramsey (Paco Saez, 51 mins). Unused Subs: Matt Benham, Jonathan Muleba. Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis (Dan Sparkes, 63 mins) Simeon Akinola (Dan Walker, 76 mins) Jordan Cox (Charlie Strutton 61 mins) Remy Clerima, Ryan Peters, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Joe Maybanks. Attendance: 460.
Third Trophy trip to Gosport in seven years
After an encouraging Christmas and New Year haul of twelve Vanarama Conference points, Iron can now switch their attention to the FA Trophy and Alan Devonshire's squad face a daunting trip to last season's beaten finalists - Gosport Borough - on Saturday. The Hampshire club were beaten by (now) Football League side Cambridge United at Wembley, with the game attracting an 18,000 crowd. It was the latest step in a seven year journey that has seen Gosport rise from the Wessex League at step 5 as recently as 2007, through the Southern League's two tiers to within touching distance of non-League's top flight.
Last season had seen the Privett Park club languishing at the foot of the Conference South table before Christmas, but the Trophy run coincided with improvement in league form to a mid-table finish and Gosport have continued that improved form this season. A fine run of results in the run up to Christmas saw Gosport as high as third in the Vanarama South table. Although they have lost just six of their 34 games so far this season, recent form has been less consistent, but Borough still currently sit just two points outside the Vanarama South play-off places, in eighth place, with a couple of games in hand over three of the four sides immediately above them. Last Saturday saw them travel to St. Albans City and return home beaten by the odd goal in three. The game also saw Borough finish with just nine players on the pitch after both defenders Lee Molyneaux and Mike Carter were dismissed.
Gosport's progress this season has not gone unnoticed, with League One side Swindon Town reported to be in negotiations over the possible transfer of striker Matt Paterson - who signed for Borough in the summer from Aldershot Town. The 25-year-old former Southampton striker has scored 17 goals this season and his partnership with 25-goal striking partner Justin Bennett has been a key reason behind the club's success this term. That said, Gosport manager Alex Pike has stated that he would not stand in a player's way if they are offered a route into the pro ranks.
We've met in the FA Trophy before. Back in November 2007, goals from James Hawes, Robbie Martin and two from Chris Sullivan saw Iron win a FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round tie 4-1 at Privett Park. Four years later in December 2011, the FA Trophy again paired the clubs in Hampshire with Dean Wells scoring the only goal of the First Round tie.
For those making their own way to the game on Saturday, the address and telephone details are as follows: Gosport Borough FC, Privett Park, Privett Road, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 3SX. Tel: 023 9250 1042.
Iron respond after transport woes
Iron completed a successful five game festive season by deservedly winning this game at the Swansway Stadium on Sunday having come back from conceding a goal just before half time to collect 12 out of a possible 15 points and consolidate their mid table league position. The squad's preparation for the game wasn't helped by the non appearance of the team coach, but the Braintree lads responded positively to complete a good holiday period for the Club.
It left a broad smile on manager Alan Devonshire's face who was clearly delighted at his side's latest performance adding: "I think we deserved the victory and again showed what this squad of ours is capable of achieving particularly with coping with five games within 15 days.
"I had to change the players around again to give some a rest and then we lost Chez Isaac early on with an injury before conceding what was an unlucky goal just before the break," he said. "But they showed great character and determination in the second half and everyone worked hard to make sure we won and collected the points."
It was also a fine return for young striker Jordan Cox, starting his first game for almost two months because of injury, because his second half brace ensured the Iron returned home with a win.
"I'm pleased for the boy who has had a frustrating time with injury recently and I have only been able to bring him on as a substitute for short periods as he gets back to fitness," said Devonshire. "He is still young and learning the game but he took his two goals well which will give him a lot of confidence."
The Iron, keen to avenge their home defeat by Chester back in August, had started with Cox and Simeon Akinola leading the attack as Devonshire was forced to rest Charlie Strutton while Sean Marks had not fully recovered from his ankle injury picked up in the New Year's Day win over Dartford.
In what was a fairly scrappy and tame first half in front of the home's side's 1,690 crowd - and the Iron were a little unlucky to go a goal behind five minutes before the interval.
The home side's Sean McConville cut inside from the left driving a right foot shot straight at Iron keeper Nick Hamann but it took an awkward deflection off defender Alan Massey on the way and into the net.
This season the Iron have found it difficult to come back from being a goal down but that didn't happen here because with 10 minutes of the restart they were back on level terms when skipper Kenny Davis lobbed a fine shot over home keeper Jon Worsnop following a Danny Sparkes corner.
A minute later the Iron stunned the home crowd when they took the lead and again it all came from Sparkes who sent over an accurate cross straight to the head of Cox who duly nodded it past Worsnop for his first goal since late October when he netted in the FA Cup tie replay with Weymouth.
The home side naturally tried to retaliate and minutes later John Rooney Ð the younger brother of Manchester United and England striker Wayne Ð headed just wide at the end of a decent move.
But the Iron rearguard, again led in style by Alan Massey and Remy Clerima, managed to keep the home forwards until the 76th minute when from a corner Rooney headed the ball on to Chester skipper Matt Brown and he levelled matters with a another header that beat Hamann.
But any hopes that the home side would then snatch all three points were dashed within a minute because the Iron responded in fine fashion, moving the ball straight up field and again it was the busy Sparkes who caused problems for the home defence.
His fine cross could only be partially parried away by Worsnop and there was Cox on hand to pounce on the rebound to send a right foot shot into the home net.
Despite this sudden setback the home side rallied again but the Iron defence held out and manager Devonshire brought on some fresh legs in the final minutes with Marks replacing the tiring Cox and fit again Dan Walker making his first appearance since the end of October replacing Akinola.
"We knew it would be a hard game particularly as it was a fifth in such a short period but to come away and up here and win was great and all the players deserve credit for the three points," added Devonshire.
This Saturday the Iron go to Gosport Borough in the FA Trophy Second Round.
Braintree: Hamann; Brundle, Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Davis, Paine, Isaac (Sparkes 31); Cox (Marks 78), Akinola (Walker 83).
Late goal prove decisive as superior fitness shows
Iron faced the Darts for the second time within a week and recorded a 3-0 victory that gives them a league double.
Simeon Akinola had the first chance after two minutes, connecting with a James Mulley cross with a firm header that glanced wide of the goal. After ten minutes a free kick cross from Isaac resulted in a goal line scramble which almost saw Sean Marks poke home from a few yards out, instead the ball deflected off the legs of a Dartford defender and Daren Ibrahim was able to pounce on the ball before Charlie Strutton could get to the rebound. After the first ten minutes Dartford began to dominate possession and territory but were unable to penetrate the Iron defence with Alan Massey and Remy Clerima winning the aerial battles and outmuscling Dartford.
Despite having less possession Braintree looked the most dangerous going forward, on twenty-six minutes Matt Paine lined up a shot from 30 yards out and unleashed a blistering effort with his right boot that whistled narrowly wide of the goal, had it been on target no keeper would have been able to save it. Some fantastic link up play between Mulley and Strutton put Mulley into a dangerous position on the line, his cross was too fast for Marks to connect and Peter Sweeney managed to flick the ball just over Akinola who was rushing to meet the ball at the far post.
Dartford had their first real efforts in the dying minutes of the half, the first came when Tom Bradbrook evaded the offside trap and was put through on goal, his effort from the edge of the box bounced narrowly past the Braintree goal. Their second effort came from a corner which Elliot Bradbrook met with a strong header in the six yard box, Nick Hamann was equal to it and pulled off a stunning reflex save to prevent the ball crossing the line. Isaac had the last chance of the half when Strutton charged down a clearance the rebound fell in a dangerous position just inside the Dartford box, his effort however was straight at the keeper and did not have enough power. At halftime it remained goalless. The Iron had the majority of the chances, however Dartford had perhaps the best chance, drawing a fine save from Hamann.
Braintree started the second half the brightest creating chances in the first few minutes. Akinola picked out Marks in the box with a low cross, Marks then laid the ball off to Strutton who hit a fierce shot which was fantastically saved by Ibrahim, the save was not held though and the rebound fell to Isaac who smashed his effort marginally over the bar.
Dartford grew back into the game, getting more possession and territory and after sixty-five minutes had a chance from a corner that was headed just wide of the near post. An attempted clearance by Sweeney from 45 yards turned into a fluke shot that Hamann could only parry, the ball landed at the path of Harry Crawford but he was unable to get a shot away before being dispossessed by Sam Habergham.
The opening goal came from Isaac after some good build up play from the Iron. After a Braintree corner was cleared, Habergham headed the ball back up the pitch to Kenny Davis who laid the ball of to Paine who swept a fantastic cross field ball to Isaac out on the left wing. Isaac took the ball under control and burst into the Dartford box cutting inside his defender and unleashing a powerful drive that found the net at the near post.
Almost immediately after the goal Braintree had two clear opportunities to double their lead, first with substitute Jordan Cox having his shot blocked on the edge of the six yard box, then Akinola pounced on the rebound, but Ibrahim had rushed out to make a vital save that went out for a corner. It was from the resulting corner that Akinola then got himself on the score sheet. Isaac turned provider, whipping in an in-swinging corner that Akinola headed in at the far post.
Dartford had been rocked by the goals and Braintree came close to adding to their tally with an Akinola free kick parried and cleared and a Cox header from a corner was well saved. Dartford did keep looking for a goal and a shot from Tom Bradbrook on the edge of the six yard box rocketed over the bar, before he tested Hamann with a curling shot from the edge of the box that Hamann did well to tip around the post.
The points were more than secured when substitute Dan Sparkes bagged himself a goal. A clearance from Habergham was headed back by Sweeney to Tom Bender who was unable to take it under control under pressure from Davis, Sparkes then dispossessed Bender who tried to make a challenge but Sparkes was already away on goal. Sparkes then kept his composure to calmly place the ball beyond Ibrahim into the bottom left corner.
The match finished 3-0 and despite Dartford arguably having more possession and territory, it was Braintree that created the most chances and even more importantly were more clinical. The goals may have been late in the game, but manager Alan Devonshire explained after the game that he felt it was only a matter of time and that Dartford would eventually tire out.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, James Mulley, Matt Paine, Chez Isaac, Simeon Akinola (Dan Sparkes 90 mins) Sean Marks (Jordan Cox, 58 mins) Charlie Strutton (Kenny Davis, 75 mins). Unused Subs: Steve Smith, Carl Pentney. Dartford FC: Daren Ibrahim, Mat Mitchel-King, Tom Bender, Peter Sweeney, Rory McAuley, Lee Noble, Tom Bradbrook, Elliot Bradbrook, Harry Crawford, Luke Daley, Lee Burns,. Unused Subs: Ryan Hayes, Max Cornhill, Danny Harris, Callum Driver, Nathan Collier. Attendance: 934. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.
Double blocks by Flitney the turning point
A fine double reflex save from Eastleigh 'keeper Ross Flitney, with the two sides all square at 1-1, proved to be the turning point in Braintree's defeat at home to Eastleigh on Christmas Sunday.
It was the home side that had the first of the chances when Simeon Akinola took a tumble outside the box on the left hand side. Chez Isaac stepped up for the resulting free kick, but drilled his cross behind the goal, failing to threaten. Following a great block from Alan Massey in front of his own area, Iron picked up the play and countered quickly to find James Mulley in the box. Mulley twisted and turned to get himself into a shooting position, then raising appeals for a penalty as he fell in the box in front of the Quag End. However, referee Colin Lymer waved away the appeals and play continued.
On 20 minutes, a Chez Isaac effort from the left was cleared off the line by Will Evans to the relief of the travelling fans. Goalkeeper Ross Flitney received treatment after a collision, but was able to continue as the Iron seemed to be the dominant side in the opening exchanges. The away side then had their first real effort on goal, firing jut over the bar before McAllister struck a strong shot just wide of the goal as Eastleigh began to get into their stride.
Just past the half an hour mark, Iron were then stung badly with a shot from outside the box by Craig Stanley. Stanley had enough time to set himself up before curling an effort beyond Hamann from twenty yards out, handing the visitors the lead. Jai Reason had an opportunity to double the lead within two minutes of the goal, but fired wide as Iron appeared on the ropes having just conceded.
With five minutes remaining of the first half, Jai Reason's ball in presented Will Evans with a great opportunity to score again, but the right back fired well wide and would be punished down the other end almost instantly. Simeon Akinola drew a foul down the other end inside the visitor's box when breaking on the counter, and Colin Lymer blew without hesitation to award the Iron a penalty. With Kenny Davis on the bench, Mitch Brundle stepped up to the challenge, sending Ross Flitney the wrong way and drawing the Iron level just prior to the break. Akinola was at it again just before the whistle, carrying the ball half of the length of the pitch from a clearance. His through ball to Isaac hit the post, which then signalled the end of the first half as the whistle was blown.
Four minutes into the second half, Ross Flitney was at his best to deny Iron with a double save that proved to be the turning point in the game. Flitney got down low to push clear Akinola's shot, but could only do so as far as Dan Sparkes, who blasted the rebound towards the opposite corner which was again reached by the outstretched 'keeper.
James Constable then hit the Iron hard, not once, but twice in as many minutes to give his side a two goal lead. Constable first fired past Massey, who was standing the striker up in the area to give Eastleigh the lead on 54 minutes. No sooner than the celebrations had finished, Constable had the ball in the back of the net again, having this time skipped past the challenge of Sam Habergham, the only man back, to slot a second, to give his side a two goal lead.
Iron responded with multiple crosses from Isaac on the left, forcing Flitney to punch away the danger, and through Mulley on the right hand side. Devonshire made a double change just beyond the hour mark, replacing Sean Marks and Chez Isaac with Jordan Cox and Kenny Davis.
Braintree continued to threaten, with multiple shots on goal, but couldn't find the back of the net as the clock ticked down. However, Jack Midson put the game beyond doubt on 75 minutes when he found a lofted delivery in from the Eastleigh left flank towards the back post. Midson's task was simply to direct the ball beyond Hamann which he did with plenty of time to spare to extend the lead to three.
Failing to learn from conceding earlier in the game, Iron were again most vulnerable after dropping a goal, and Constable pounced on a cutting ball through on the right hand side. Constable did little to spare the Iron blushes as he slotted the ball beyond Hamann to net his hat-trick and Eastleigh's fifth of the evening.
With the game clearly beyond reach for the Iron, Eastleigh could now defend and comfortably take all three points which they did efficiently despite some efforts in the final minutes from the home side.
Reflecting after the game, manager Alan Devonshire suggested that he felt the score line was maybe not a true reflection of the game.
"The kid up front finished great and I don't think Nick had a save to make apart from picking the ball out of the net five times. It's funny how you've lost a game 5-1 and probably the man of the match was their 'keeper. At the start of the second half he has pulled off a couple of worldies, but you have score them as goals change games. We gave away the third which killed us as well and its poor goals after that. 5-1 is very harsh on us, but we'll pick ourselves up and go again."
"We know Eastleigh are a big budget side. At the end of the day I have young boys who are learning the game. We wasn't clinical today, and we haven't been all season to be fair but at the end of the day that is that you pay for."
"I feel for them because 5-1 is like a hammering and it wasn't like that. We just dust ourselves off and look forward to Dartford here on Thursday."
On Ryan Peters, Alan commented that Ryan had a dead leg and will be out for a couple of weeks before wishing everyone a Happy New Year.
Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Clerima, Massey, Habergham, Mulley, Paine, Isaac (Davis 62), Sparkes, Akinola (Strutton 76), Marks (Cox 62) Unused subs: Smith, Pentney. Eastleigh: Flitney, Green, Beckwith (Todd 45), Stanley (Collins 67), Constable (Fleetwood 77), Reason, McAllister, Midson, Strevens, Evans, Reid. Unused subs: Odubade, Noice. Referee: Colin Lymer. Assistants: Sean Feerick and Paul Evans. Fourth Official: Anthony Da Costa. Attendance: 748. Match report by Chris Pargin.
Charlie and Sim get the goals
Braintree Town recorded their third successive victory without conceding, winning 2-0 on a heavy pitch in the rain at Dartford on Boxing Day. Iron took the lead from the penalty spot after home defender Tom Bemder handled in the penalty area and Charlie Strutton stepped up to drill the resultant spot kick passed Dartford keeper Jason Brown. Iron were marginally the better of the two sides during a niggle first half that saw both James Mulley and Remi Clerima have chances. After the break Iron controlled the game for lengthy periods and were good value for their second when Sim Akinola steered home Chez Isaac's cross. Late on Matt Paine looked set to add a third only to be denied by a fine point-blank Brown reflex save. The three points lifted Braintree to fifteenth in the table and Iron entertain Eastleigh at the Miles Smith Stadium this coming Sunday, 28th December, with kick-off at 3pm.
Sean Marks and Sim Akinola score the goals
Braintree Town played host to former League 2 side Torquay United for the first time in the Conference Premier. The Gulls visited Cressing Road in sixth place, chasing a play off place, with Braintree Town a little too close to the relegation zone for comfort in nineteenth place. Given the performances of the two teams, Braintree looked as though they were the team in sixth. After the match Chez Isaac stated that he and his teammates still believe that the Iron can finish much higher in the league, and if Braintree can repeat performances like today their belief is understandable.
The Iron were straight out of the tracks and after two minutes had their first chance. A shot from Simeon Akinola deflected off a defender across the face of goal and falls to James Mulley on edge of six yard box. Mulley took a first time shot which was blasted into the side netting.
The first goal came after twenty minutes, with Sean Marks getting himself on the board. Braintree had been playing a high line, pressing the defenders and not allowing Torquay to play it out of the back, and this decision was how Braintree created Marks' chance. The ball was won back by Braintree on the halfway line and when Ryan Peters was given possession he broke at the Torquay defence down the right wing, his cross was dinked into the middle of the box where it was met by the head of Marks. Marks had his back to the Torquay goal but managed to flick it on towards goal and the outrushing Torquay keeper, Martin Rice.
The second goal came just before half time from a free kick won by Marks on the right edge of the Torquay box, a similar position to where Peters crossed for the first goal. It was Isaac who provided the assist, curling an out swinging cross into the box where Akinola was on hand to provide the finish, connecting with the bottom of his boot. Martin Rice dived to his right and managed to get fingertips to the ball but was unable to prevent the ball creeping over the line.
The Iron went in at half time two goals to the good and it was a very deserved lead. Braintree took the game to Torquay, playing with pace and intent, getting the ball down and passing well, making good attacking runs and harassing defenders at every chance. Whilst Torquay were poor going forward, Braintree did still look strong in defence, this showed by the fact that Torquay United had not managed a shot, either on or off target. The back four won most of their headers and put in plenty of interceptions, with Matt Paine providing strong cover in front of the back four.
The second half started with Torquay fighting to find a way back into the match, but Braintree remained composed and organised and in the words of Isaac was quick to put out any fires. The Iron created a number of chances for a third goal through Strutton and Akinola but their chances were easily held by Rice.
Torquay managed to register their first shot at goal late on in the second half when a free kick was blasted over the bar. Some good link up play put Courtney Richards through on goal with ten minutes to go, but his shot from a few yards out went wide of the goal. Moments after Richards chance, Marks had perhaps the best chance of the half. Akinola twisted and turned into the Torquay box before dinking a cross into the feet of Marks. Marks then swivelled to goal and unleashed a shot that grazed the top of the bar and out for a goal kick. Marks had one more chance to get a brace in added time. Mulley skirted his way the box before passing to Marks on the edge of the six yard box, Marks could not quite get his shot away and the danger passed.
Akinola was handed the man of the match award, which in fairness could have been awarded to a number of Braintree players. Alan Devonshire had praise for Akinola, a player he feels can go a long way in the game. Devonshire also had positive comments on the result, especially as he felt it was a real team performance. Torquay could have no complaints about the result as they never threatened Braintree and arguably a 2-0 score line flattered the Gulls given the dominance of the Iron.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters (Mitch Brundle ,80 mins), Remy Clerima, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Alan Massey, Matt Paine, Sean Marks, Charlie Strutton (Dan Sparkes, 70 mins), Simeon Akinola (Steve Smith, 90 mins), James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Joe Maybanks. Torquay United FC: Martin Rice, Krystian Pearce, Ben Harding, Louis Briscoe (Jordan Chapell, 61 mins), Ryan Bowman, Toby Ajala, Courtney Richards, Angus MacDonald, James McQuilkin (Tom Cruise, 30 mins) Duane Ofori-Acheampong (Ashley Yeoman, 67 mins) Levi Ives. Unused Subs: Jordan Seabright, Oneil Odofin. Attendance: 818. Match Report by Ryan Delaney
Braintree drawn away to Gosport again
Braintree Town have been drawn away to last season's finalists Gosport Borough in the Second Round of this season's FA Trophy. Gosport defeated Basingstoke Town 2-1 in their First Round replay on Tuesday evening, after extra time. This match will take place on Saturday 10th January 2015.
Back here on Monday to see who we get
Iron's reward for Saturday's FA Trophy win over AFC Sudbury is a place in the competition's last thirty-two. The draw for the FA Trophy Second Round is scheduled for Monday from The FA's headquarters at Wembley Stadium. The Second Round match will take place on Saturday 10th January 2015. News on our opposition here - as soon as we have it!
Braintree into FA Trophy last 32
Braintree Town had to work hard to get a result against AFC Sudbury, as the team three divisions below them put up a tenacious fight. The result could have read more favourably for the Iron given the number of chances they created, as it is the solitary strike from Simeon Akinola proved to be the difference, as Braintree Town came out 1-0 victors.
AFC Sudbury started the brightest, creating a few early chances and testing Nick Hamann. A fine ball across the Braintree box caused confusion with Hamann unable to either catch the ball or punch it clear, instead it fell to Jack Wilkinson at the far post. The Sudbury players shot blocked well by Ryan Peters who had to be alert as Hamann was not on his line. Correy Davidson had a shot inside the Iron box blocked by Mitch Brundle and Terry Rymer had a drive at goal well held by Hamann.
After the first twenty minutes Braintree Town came into the game, asserting control of the midfield and defending solidly. Mid way through the first half, perhaps the easiest chance fell to Akinola. A long ball out of the Braintree half was chased down by Akinola and the Sudbury clearance was blocked. Akinola got control of the rebound from his block and put on a turn of speed to get past the last defender and go round the goalkeeper. With the hard part done Akinola bared down on goal with two defenders on the line as makeshift keepers. The shot from ten yards beat the defenders on the line but thumped against the upright and bounced clear of danger. It was a sitter that Akinola and Alan Devonshire acknowledged after the game should have been buried.
It was that man again, Akinola, who had another fantastic opportunity to break the deadlock. James Mulley did brilliantly to get to the ball into the feet of Akinola from the left edge odd the box after taking on the Sudbury defence. Akinola's shot from twelve yards out was hit low and hard, but also down the centre of the goal. It still required a great reflex save from Marcus Garnham to get down low and put enough of his body behind the ball to keep it out. The ball was not held by Garnham and the rebound dropped to the edge of the six yard box where Brundle was waiting to pounce. Brundle powered a low drive at goal, however, the Sudbury defence had regrouped and reorganised and two defenders put their bodies on the line to keep it goalless.
Moments later Akinola was again gifted a great chance to open the scoring. Some fine link up play between Akinola, Brundle and Sean Marks put Brundle into a dangerous position to cross on the right side of the box. Brundle fed the ball across the face of the goal to the unmarked Akinola who had to stretch to get a toe to the ball. Akinola made contact with the ball but could not quite convert the chance, instead directing the ball wide. The first half finished goalless, but Braintree certainly had created the majority of the goal scoring opportunities and had been able to nullify the threat posed by AFC Sudbury.
It was after fifty seven minutes that the deadlock was broken, with Akinola the scorer and making amends for previous chances. A deep cross from Peters was taken under control by Mulley who was then bundled over in the box on the left side, with the ball dropping into the path of Akinola. From just inside the Sudbury box, Akinola unleashed a volley low into the right side of the net, with Garnham unable to react to the shot. It was the most difficult of the opportunities that Akinola had, and after the game both Devonshire and Akinola said that it was the hardest of all his chances.
After the Iron took the lead it became a less frantic end to end encounter and more of a midfield battle. Whenever Sudbury pushed forward their attempted long balls were easily headed clear or taken under control by the Iron defence, and when Braintree were on the offensive the final product was lacking, and Sudbury were playing with plenty of men back behind the ball. James Baker, a former Braintree Town player, normally used as a striker was utilised in defence. He looked natural in the position and he hardly gave Braintree a kick at goal in the second half.
Akinola was taking on Sudbury defenders and on many occasions was finding his way past challenges, even when they doubled up on him. He was composed in possession and spread the ball well with some fantastic cross field balls. Shortly after his goal Akinola put a peach of a cross into the feet of captain Kenny Davis who could not quite get the ball from under his feet to take the shot.
The closest Braintree came to doubling their lead was through Dan Sparkes in the dying minutes of the game. Sparkes attacked the Sudbury defence, run directly and at pace, managing to jink past two challenges down the left wing and into the box. Sparkes appeared to try to cross the ball to the far post but instead it whistled agonizingly close to the far corner of the Sudbury goal, going narrowly over.
There was late drama as Sudbury won a contentious free kick in a dangerous crossing position on the right side of the Braintree half. The delivery was perfectly met and the header looked to be looping over the head of Hamann who was stretching, instead it grazed the top side of the crossbar, going out for a goal kick. Had it been a few inches lower Hamann looked to have it covered.
It was perhaps not as easy as Braintree Town would have liked, and not the winning margin they may have hoped for, but they will be in the draw for the next round which pleased Alan Devonshire, who also stated after the game that Sudbury deserve plaudits as they performed very well. He also said that he would love to go on a cup run and that these games provide something else for the players to enjoy.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Mitch Brundle (Charlie Strutton, 64 mins), Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Matt Paine, Sean Marks, Simeon Akinola (Dan Sparkes, 81 mins), James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Remy Clerima, Steven Smith. AFC Sudbury: Marcus Garnham, Ben Robinson, Lee Flynn (Mark Ray, 81 mins), Jack Wilkinson, Craig Pope, James Baker, Ayrton Coley (Scott Kemp, 73 mins), Sam Clarke, Correy Davidson (Jordan Blackwell, 66 mins), Terry Rymer, Ollie Berquez. Unused Subs: Tyler Kemp, Jack Guyton. Attendance: 547.
Can Suffolk club continue their giant-killing run?
Braintree Town start their involvement in this season's FA Trophy competition with a First Round tie at home to Ryman League Division One (North) side AFC Sudbury on Saturday. While all Vanarama Conference clubs enter the competition at this stage, our visitors have battled their way through six matches from the Preliminary Round and three Qualifying rounds. The Suffolk club have been consistently unlucky with the Trophy draws so far this season, with Saturday's First Round tie belong their fifth successive away pairing!
Progress to the competition proper started with a 3-1 Preliminary Round win at Ryman League Division One (South) side Whitstable Town in mid-October. This was followed by a creditable 2-2 draw at Ryman League Premier Division side Bognor Regis Town, in the First Qualifying Round, before their first giant-killing in this competition was completed with a 2-1 home replay win in early-November. The Second Qualifying Round sent the Kingsmarsh club to another Ryman League Premier Division side - this time championship-favourites Maidstone United in mid-November. Sudbury produced the shock result of the round winning 2-0 on the plastic pitch.
The Third Qualifying Round saw them again drawn away to a step 3 side chasing promotion to the Conference - this time Southern League Premier Division promotion hopefuls St. Neots Town at the end of November. An equaliser in the third minute of time added on saw the home side deny Sudbury another notable victory. But the Suffolk club completed the job 1-0 in the replay with a twenty-five yard drive from Lawrence Yiga securing a third successive giant-killing and a seventh game in the FA Trophy. Their progress in the competition has been as follows:
Preliminary Round, away v. Whitstable Town, won 3-1
First Qualifying Round, away v. Bognor Regis Town, drew 2-2
First Qualifying Round replay, home v. Bognor Regis Town, won 2-1
Second Qualifying Round, away v. Maidstone United, won 2-0
Third Qualifying Round, away v. St. Neots Town, drew 1-1
Third Qualifying Round replay, home v. St. Neots Town, won 1-0
Since earning promotion to non-League football's top flight, Iron's record in the FA Trophy has been disappointing with only two wins in six matches.
In 2011-12, Braintree won 1-0 at Gosport Borough in the First Round before going out at home in a penalty shoot out to Gateshead in a Second Round Replay at Cressing Road. The dreaded spot kicks were needed following a 2-2 draw in the North East and a 1-1 draw (after extra time) in the replay. Season 2012-13 saw Iron the victims of an embarrassing giant-killing as they went down by the odd goal in three at home to Conference South side Havant & Waterlooville. Last season was little better. Despite beating Welling United 3-0 at home in the First Round, Braintree were then well beaten 3-1 by Lincoln City at Cressing Road in Round Two.
This match has been designated as a category 'C' fixture with reduced admission charges in place for the third time in Braintree's last four matches at the Miles Smith Stadium. No segregation will be in place and entry will be all pay at the turnstile on the day.
St. Neots Town or AFC Sudbury to visit a week on Saturday
Braintree Town have been drawn at home to the winners of the Third Qualifying Round Replay between St. Neots Town and AFC Sudbury in the First Round of this season's FA Trophy competition. The replay will take place at AFC Sudbury's Brundon Lane stadium on Tuesday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Braintree enter the Road to Wembley at last 64
The draw for the First Round of this season's FA Trophy takes place at Wembley Stadium today. The 32 ties are scheduled to be played on Saturday 13th December, with the winners each picking up £5,000 from The FA's prize fund. This is the stage when the 24 Vanarama Conference clubs enter the competition to join the forty qualifiers who have battled their way through from the preliminary round and three qualifying rounds.
Cambridge United, last season's Wembley winners, won't be defending the Trophy, having been promoted to the Football League last May, but runners-up Gosport Borough have started their involvement already, having come in at the Third Qualifying Round stage on Saturday with a 4-0 victory at Peacehaven & Telscombe. Local interest includes neighbours Bishop's Stortford (4-3 winners over Chelmsford City in Saturday's Third Qualifying Round) and AFC Sudbury (who will need a replay after drawing 1-1 at St. Neots Town).
Last season Iron defeated Welling United 3-0 at Cressing Road in the First Round, before bowing out in the Second Round 3-1 at home to Lincoln City. We will have the draw here as soon as it is released by The FA.
Iron struggle to break down Cards defence
IRON manager Alan Devonshire left the Kingfield Stadium baffled that his side had come away with nothing to show for their afternoon's work after dominating most of the game and creating a host of chances that all went begging.
"It's difficult to believe really that we had so many chances to score but we failed to find the onion net as the old saying goes," he explained. "We didn't play badly at all and it was a tight game but we need to start scoring goals because that obviously wins you matches."
He went on: "We have to sort out the problem ourselves and we'll be working specifically on that now in training as we have time to rest and with no game next Saturday when the players will train.
"Out keeper Nic Hamann didn't really have a decent shot to save while their keeper was busy all afternoon and to his credit did keep them in the game," he continued. "But we did lack that little bit of quality and we had the chances to have come away with something.
"I can't criticise the players because they all worked hard but we've got to address the problem of not scoring when we've created so many chances," he added. "Kenny Davis had three good efforts in the first half, Sean Marks should have scored with a second half header and other chances simply went begging and you can't afford not to take such chances at this level."
It was the second 1-0 defeat in four days for the Iron - they lost at home to Welling on Tuesday - where in both games they created more than enough chances to have won both but they now slip to 18th in the table.
Devonshire, who made two changes for this match with skipper Davis returning after injury along with Mitch Brundle replacing the injured Ryan Peters at full-back, added: "It's disappointing not to have returned home with something from the game but we'll dust ourselves down, get ourselves sorted out with shooting practice and be ready for the next game."
The only goal of the game came in the 37th minute and it was a scruffy affair when the Cards' John Goddard picked up a clearance from the Iron area and fired a shot goal ward, the ball bouncing through a ruck of players low into the bottom left hand corner of the net with Hamann clearly unsighted.
With Davis back in the middle for the Iron they still looked the more likely side to score and he had three good first half efforts on goal, the best being brillianly tipped away by home keeper Ross Warner.
The Iron were even more impressive with their approach play in the second and certainly had more chances to score with Marks, Simeon Akinola and James Mulley all going close while the Iron's best player on the day, defender Alan Massey also missed a chance with a header.
The Iron couldn't even rely on their recent regular goal scorer, 27 year-old striker Charlie Strutton, who again was substituted almost on the hour still looking tired after his year long lay-off with injury.
"He is still off the pace but trying to find his feet and full match fitness after such a long lay-off but the more time he can spend on the pitch the more he will improve," said Devonshire. "Obviously it's not fair to rely on him to score every time and really in this game we didn't need to because others created more than enough to have scored goals and have won the game and three points."
He added: "It wasn't a particularly exciting game and it was not a bad performance from us but we must starting converting chances and scoring goals."
Braintree Town: Hamann; Brundle, Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Davis, Isaac (Cox 89), Akinola; Marks, Strutton (Sparkes 57). Unused subs: Paine, Walker, Pentney. Attendance: 1,622.
Braintree frustrated by visitors from Kent
It was the Wings that came away with three points and completed a league double over the Iron in an even game of few chances.
The match started at a fast pace and for the first few minutes of the match Braintree Town were on top. Charlie Strutton, on a high after his recent goal scoring run, broke through the Welling defence before crossing to Sean Marks. There was a scramble in the Welling box with Marks shot blocked before the danger was finally cleared.
After twenty minutes Welling came into the match and had a few chances from set plays, with two free headers from corners going narrowly wide and over. Welling also threatened with a dangerous cross from the right wing that bounced across the box, but no Welling player was close enough to the ball. Chez Isaac had an opportunity to score for the Iron with a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box but his chance went over the bar.
Simeon Akinola nearly scored a fluke of a goal just before half time when his cross from the right wing curled over Liechtenstein international Benjamin Buchel towards the far corner, before curling away from goal inches from the line. It was the last real chance of the half and it finished at half time goalless with neither team managing to get a shot on target.
The second half started brightly for the Iron and on fifty minutes James Mulley had possibly Braintree's best opportunity to score. Matt Paine played a fast cross into the Welling box from the left side of the pitch, which found its way to Mulley on the far side of the Welling box. Mulley hit it low and hard but also wide of the near post and he should have done better with his chance. It was on sixty minutes that Braintree registered their first shot on target. Isaac linked up well with Strutton, feeding him the ball on the left side of the box, however, Strutton's left footed drive was comfortably held by Buchel. Moments later Mulley played a dangerous ball from the right wing that was almost met at the far post by Marks who was sliding in at the far post but the Welling defence were first to the ball.
The deadlock was broken after sixty-one minutes and it was Charlie Penny with the goal. Aristide Bassele worked himself into shooting space just outside the Braintree box, but his attempt was inaccurate and instead hit Remy Clerima, with the ball falling nicely for Penny who had no hesitation in blasting the ball left footed into the top right corner of the net from the middle of the box. Penny had been dangerous throughout the match, Alan Massey had been yellow carded in the first half for a foul on Penny and Clerima was also yellow carded shortly after the goal, although it could have been a red card as Clerima was debatably the last man.
Alan Devonshire made three substitutions for the last twenty minutes, bringing on Dan Walker, Dan Sparkes and Kenny Davis. The Iron showed more attacking intent and had the greater share of possession but could not find a breakthrough. The closest the Iron came to an equaliser was after some good build up play saw a long range shot from Paine deflect wide of the goal for a corner. From the corner there was a goal line scramble and any shot would have asked serious questions of Buchel, but the Wings managed to get the ball clear. Welling had a chance in extra time to put the game beyond doubt after Kieron St Aimie wriggled to the side line and put a low cross in to the edge of the box where Joe Healy connected with the ball, his powerful effort however was narrowly over the bar.
The game finished in defeat for Braintree and Alan Devonshire was not at all happy with the result nor the performance, saying that it felt like "two steps forward, one step back" and given the Irons recent results he had "not expected that kind of a performance." Devonshire also went on to say that he would be making changes to the team that faces Woking away in the next fixture as he has almost a clean bill of health to choose from and will be looking to freshen things up.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Sam Habergham, Alan Massey, Remy Clerima, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, James Mulley (Dan Sparkes, 71 mins) Simeon Akinola (Dan Walker, 68 mins) Sean Marks, Charlie Strutton (Kenny Davis, 68 mins). Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Mitch Brundle. Welling United FC: Benjamin Buchel, Barney Williams, Zac Fagan, Michael Chambers, Jack Taylor (Malachi Hudson, 84 mins) Jamie Day, Jake Gallagher, Sam Corne, Charlie Penny, Aristide Bassele (Kieron St Aimie, 87 mins) Joe Healy. Unused Subs: Jonathan Henly, Jamie Turner, Johnson. Attendance: 580.
Category C game for our match against Kent club
For the second time this month, the Club are offering reduced admission prices. For this coming Tuesday evening's Vanarama Conference fixture against Welling United, Category 'C' prices will apply - reducing adult admission charges to just £15 for the terraced areas of the Miles Smith Stadium and just £16 for seats in the main stand.
FA Cup fixture takes priority for Lancashire club
As a result of Southport's continued involvement in this season's FA Cup competition, the Vanarama Conference fixture at Haig Avenue - scheduled for a week on Saturday, 6th December - has been postponed. More news on a new date when we have it.
Braintree back to their best in sizzling display
A scintillating first half display by the Iron that saw them score three goals which manager Alan Devonshire admitted afterwards should have been six because of his side's total domination laid the foundation for this impressive first ever win at the Bucks Head Stadium on Saturday.
Two superb strikes by Charlie Strutton and a well-taken goal by Sean Marks effectively sealed the points for the Iron after they had completely outplayed the home side in the first 45 minutes.
"Let's be honest we were in complete charge and should have come in at the break by six goals with the chances we had," said Devonshire. "I'm pleased for Charlie who took his goals well but he should have scored after only 17 seconds of the game and then again just before half time.
"But he's still coming back from his lengthy lay-off with that broken leg and I have to be careful not to over play him which is one reason he came off on the hour," Devonshire explained. "But every player did exceptionally well on the day and they've gained their rewards for their outstanding effort."
Devonshire, who was forced to change tactics for the second half after the home side made a triple substitution at the interval, said: "They changed their formation to 3-5-2 so I knew we had to respond and although they did pull one goal back even then I never felt we were going to lose the game.
"It's good to have back to back wins and clearly the players' confidence has returned as a result," he said. "I never had any doubt we would come back strongly once we had all the injured players fit again and I'm delighted for them because we pressed them right high up from the word go and we played some good, passing football which they couldn't cope with on what was quite a rain-sodden pitch."
With Simeon Akinola and James Mulley causing havoc down either flanks every time the Iron attacked they created a host of goal chances in that first period only to be denied by some brave saves by home keeper Freddy Hall.
Strutton finally opened the scoring on 14 minutes when a clever Akinola through ball saw him beat the offside trap to coolly slide the ball low into the net to beat the advancing Hall.
The best goal of the game came on 38 minutes when the Iron swept up field with Chez Isaac crossing a waist high cross in from the left straight into the path of Strutton who's first-time half volley from 30 yards gave Hall no chance - a really classy strike from a forward gradually finding his feet after a year on the sidelines.
The hard working Marks added a third two minutes before the interval sliding the ball home at the near post from a fine deep left wing cross from full-back Sam Habergham and there was still time for Strutton to almost grab his hat-trick on 45 minutes but, unmarked at the far post, he just failed to connect with another Mulley right wing cross.
With three fresh faces in at the start of the second half the home side responded and naturally applied some pressure for the first time on the Iron defence and they were rewarded on 54 minutes when Tony Gray race into the area from a left wing centre from substitute Kyle Brownhill to slide the ball past keeper Nick Hamann.
But the Iron soon weathered the short storm and Devonshire made a tactical change, bringing on experienced midfielder Kenny Davis, replacing Strutton on 63 minutes, to help calm things down and ensure the Iron were back in control of the middle of the park.
A delighted Strutton said he was pleased with his goals but disappointed not to have grabbed a hat-trick adding: "I had a couple of first half chances and then another early in the second half but each time just failed to get to the ball but I feel I'm getting there and hopefully the more I play the more match fit I will be."
Towards the end of the game the Iron still kept up the pressure on the home defence and chances fell to Mulley, Akinola and Marks late on but tired legs saw the chances go begging.
Devonshire added: "We had the right game plan, the players worked their socks off and I always had faith in them that once we were back to almost full strength we are capable to doing well.
"We now look forward to a home game against Welling on Tuesday and obviously I want to keep the momentum going," he added. "Some players have picked up knocks today but I'll have a roll call and yes may make some changes for Tuesday."
Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters (Brundle 73), Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Isaac, Paine, Akinola (Sparkes 83); Strutton (Davis 63), Marks. Unused subs: Smith, Pentney. Attendance: 1,523.
Iron host Essex Football Association Soccability Festival
Soccability Festival - Disabled Football
The Discovery Centre, Braintree; 20th November 2014
Braintree Town Football Club (BTFC) played host to an Essex Football Association Soccability Festival on Thursday 20th November. Soccability is designed to promote football for children with a range of disabilities and the festival included skills sessions and friendly matches, with the emphasis on fun. The weather was very kind, and around 50 children attended from schools around the county and enjoyed the excellent all-weather facilities at The Discovery Centre in Braintree. There were many contributors to an enjoyable morning. Braintree District Council donated use of the Discovery Centre facilities, while coaches and students from the BTFC Academy - supported by The Football Conference Community Trust - offered soccer drills for the children and refereed a series of friendly matches on the excellent all-weather surface. The climax to the festival was a ceremony where Braintree Town 1st team players Carl Pentney and Mitch Brundle presented certificates and a tournament trophy souvenir to every attendee. We have three pictures of the day below:
BTFC Academy student Steven Rolfe supervises a skills session
Players congratulate each other after a match
BTFC Players Mitch Brundle (centre) & Carl Pentney (right) present certificates and souvenirs
Charlie hits the target to secure Braintree win
Iron ended a winless run of ten league matches through a Chalie Strutton goal, who was making his first league start since returning to the Miles Smith Stadium. Injuries to Captain Kenny Davis and Jordan Cox allowed room in the starting eleven for Strutton, who chalked up 68 much needed minutes of game time, starting alongside Simeon Akinola and Sean Marks in an attacking line-up. In a display more reminiscent of the start of the season than recent weeks, Braintree did what was needed at the right time, creating chances and looking solid at the back, a scene that delighted manager Alan Devonshire who said that it was "the first time that he felt that they had really felt pressure, and they responded brilliantly".
Iron got underway quickly with Chez Isaac putting in a dangerous looking ball in the opening minutes of the game from the right hand side; the cross being headed clear. Some tricky feet from Akinola allowed a pass down the line to Sam Habergham on the other side of the pitch, the two working well as a pair on the left. Habergham managed to find the head of Akinola, but the flash header was directed over for a goal kick.
Akinola was at the heart of it again with 20 minutes on the clock, picking up a looped flick on from Charlie Strutton. Akinola tied his marker in knots with some good footwork again, and worked enough space to drive in a low shot, unfortunately drifting the wrong side of the post. Habergham saw yellow for a late slide just inside his own half, with the resulting free kick in punched back out by Hamann.
Isaac was next in the book for dissent, although it was Iron who had just won a free kick just a few yards outside the Wrexham box when Hudson slid in late on Muley. Strutton's shot from the dead ball rebounded back off the wall, but presented Strutton with another chance which this time he buried. Strutton instinctively struck the rebound hard and low into the bottom left corner of the goal, firing the Iron ahead with 25 minutes played.
Sean Marks came breathtakingly close when he won the second ball in the box with his back to goal ten minutes later. From just six yards out, Marks managed to turn and snatch a shot, but his attempt was blasted at Coughlin who's reaction save turned the ball behind. Mulley picked up a yellow a few minutes before half time for a late challenge in the centre circle, but with no further chances, the referee blew for half time with the Iron a goal ahead.
Seven minutes into the second half, a good spell of Iron play lead to a chance for Mulley, who picked up the ball from a cleared Sam Habergham cross. Mulley volleyed from the wide right, but could not keep his shot down as it sailed over the bar.
Wrexham saw a desperate need for change as the hour mark approached, making all three substitutions at once. The fresh legs of Keates and Moult almost made an immediate impact, with Keates delivering a long free kick into the area, narrowly escaping the head of Moult in an advanced position. Desperate Iron defending saw Isaac with a last ditch tackle, and Sean Marks scuff a clearance in a scramble at the edge of the box on 63 minutes. As Iron failed to clear their lines, it was down to Hamann to pull off a great diving save to deny a thunderous strike from the edge of the box.
With Sparkes coming on for Strutton, Alan Devonshire changed to a 4-5-1 formation with 20 minutes to go. Marks isolated up front won a long ball up, and used his strength well to hold up the ball and play out to Sparkes. A good delivery back in to Marks saw the forward make a diving header at the near post, nodding just wide.
As Iron looked to be attempting to see out the game with 13 minutes left to play, Robbie Evans gave a threatening reminder that there was only a goal in it by firing in a shot to test Hamann from outside the box. Hamann collected well, and Iron were handed a boost just minutes later down the other end when Wrexham were reduced to ten.
Having already received a yellow card and giving away the free kick that lead to Strutton's goal, Blaine Hudson was the man that left his side with even more to do to get anything out of the game when he slid in late on James Mulley outside the area.
A minute before the end of normal time, a corner ball in from Dan Sparkes towards the far post found the head of Matt Paine, whose attempt was narrowly tipped over by the hand of Coughlin just below the bar.
With the man and the goal advantage, Iron did what was needed to wind the clock down, bringing on Mitch Brundle in added time and recording the result that they desperately needed after a winless run of ten Conference games.
Speaking after the game, a passionate Alan Devonshire complimented the performance and work ethic of his side. "At the end of the day we played well and totally deserved it today. We haven't had the rub of the green recently, we've had loads of injuries and people need to realise that."
"I'm pleased for them because they work their backsides off. We dominated that game today against a good Wrexham side. People need to start looking at what we are doing. The reasons why we have had a blip is because this is the worst I have known in the 16 years that I have had as a manager, and we can't afford to do that. We had another three today but we put another shift in and I'm proud of my boys. The one thing that they will not do is put a shift in and work hard, and when people question that it really riles me. We may lack quality at times, but we don't lack effort. We make sure of that, the players always do and we always do as the staff."
"Look at the league, the bottom eight sides are all the part time teams. It is easy to criticise. Some of the things that are coming out are an absolute disgrace."
Charlie Strutton echoed his managers delight at the three points more so than the individual achievement saying that "It was a massive three points that we needed badly."
"It was a poor freekick. It's gone in and that's all that matters. We got the three points and that's what's important."
"I was getting a bit tired in the second half, but the manager obviously knew when to take me off."
"We definitely deserved the win, we were the better team today. They never really looked like scoring."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Clerima, Massey, Habergham, Mulley, Pine, Isaac, Akinola (Brundle 90+1), Marks, Strutton (Sparkes 68). Unused subs: Smith, Sownmi, Pentney. Wrexham: Coughlin, Carrington, Smith, Hudson, Clarke, Durrell (Keates 59), Bishop, York (Moult 59), White (Evans 59), Jennings, Hunt. Unused subs: Tomassen, Rushton. Referee: Nigel Lugg. Assistants: George Sprague and James Turner. Fourth Official: Adrian Waters. Attendance: 840. Match report by Chris Pargin.
Sparkes comes closest, but Iron need a goal
THE Iron have now played 540 minutes of Vanarama Conference Premier football without scoring a goal after they went down 1-0 at the Crabble on Tuesday evening. Although it was a much improved all round performance compared to their FA Cup defeat against Chesterfield on Sunday the lack of goal scoring remains a major worry for manager Alan Devonshire.
It was the old Iron story really in that they conceded a poor goal right on half time after the home side had been the more threatening and then with a much better second half saw them create chances to have equalised but they again failed to find the net.
In a not particularly inspiring game the real Iron culprit this time was substitute Dan Sparkes, brought on to replace James Mulley on 75 minutes. He had a great opportunity to equalise on 85 minutes but managed to put his left-foot shot wide of the upright and he had a similar if easier identical chance three minutes into stoppage time but again his left-foot shot missed the target.
Devonshire made three changes from the cup game with both Sam Habergham (who arrived late) and Chez Isaac dropped to the bench and starts for Matt Paine, Jordan Cox and Remi Clerima with young on-loan Ipswich Town defender Omar Sowunmi returning to Portman Road.
In a game of few chances for either side it was the home side, fresh from their FA Cup home win over Morecambe, who started the more brightly and they really had the upper hand in the first period.
Again hard as they worked the Iron were let down in the final third of the pitch and they never really threatened the home goal and it was clear to handful of Iron fans in the paltry gate of 696 that Alan Devonshire needs to bring in a fresh striker if they are to start scoring goals.
Having contained the home side fairly well in the first half the Iron conceded a poor goal three minutes into stoppage time before the interval when home midfielder Nicky Deverdics was allowed space to head in a cross from Stefan Payne to give them the lead.
The Iron did improve in the second half, particularly in the latter stages, but before then the home side could have increased their lead when Payne was through on goal but failed to make it count.
Young Cox tried hard to score - his goal at Gateshead on October 4 was the last time the Iron scored a league goal - while the late arrival as a substitute of striker Charlie Strutton gave fresh hope but he clearly needs more game time to be really effective.
The Iron should have come away with a point at the end of the evening and they would have done but for Sparkes missing his two late chances while this defeat pushes the Iron down to 16th place.
Braintree: Hamann; Peters, Massey, Clerima, Brundle, Mulley (Sparkes 75), Davis, Paine (Isaac 84), Akinola; Marks (Strutton 79), Cox. Unused subs: Habergham, Pentney. Match report by David Ward.
League One side take their chances
A great FA Cup occasion at Cressing road saw a very good League One Chesterfield side prove too difficult for the Iron to overcome in order to progress to the second round proper. Six goals was the difference between the two sides who sat 52 positions apart in the football tier at the start of the game, but Iron created some good chances in the game. Though well beaten on the day, Iron showed glimpses of promise in their performance in some areas against what they knew would be a massive test at Cressing road on Remembrance Sunday.
Iron had the early chance with Sean Marks played through by James Mulley in the centre of the pitch. Mulley beat the Chesterfield back line with a single ball, which Marks controlled well and fired hard and low towards the bottom right hand corner. Goalkeeper Tommy Lee had to be on top form to palm the ball behind five minutes in.
From the early chance, Chesterfield responded with a ten minute spell of pressure, the majority of play taking place deep inside the Iron half. Braintree coped well, looking solid defensively and dealing with any test that the Spirites gave in the initial quarter of an hour. However, following a free kick into the visitor's box where a foul was given on Sean Marks against Tommy Lee, Chesterfield created the necessary chance to open the scoring. Beaten down the right hand side, Iron allowed Eoin Doyle space in the centre of the goal to reach a pass played along the six yard line from Clucas. The ball was squeezed beyond the outstretched Hamann, which Doyle tapped in unchallenged and with ease to put Braintree a goal behind 20 minutes in.
The breakthrough signalled the end of Braintree's good defensive performance, and the floodgates were to open in this match, with Chesterfield contining to threaten through Doyle who narrowly missed a pacey ball in from Morsy, which would have been certain to double the lead. The second did come just ten minutes after the first with a great strike from Jay O'Shea just outside the Iron box. Turning with his right, O'Shea turned in a curling effort, which found the top corner giving Hamann no chance and the Iron a mountain to climb within half an hour if they were to progress to the 2nd round.
Just before half time, Akinola turned Ian Evatt, and looked to be through on goal. Having been beaten by Akinola's acceleration, Evatt went to ground, pulling down Akinola in the process and escaped with a yellow due to a covering defender being available on the far side. The free kick in was nodded down by Sowunmi to Alan Massey, whose shot was scooped up by Lee. Straight down the other end, some sloppy defending allowed Sam Clucas to scuff a shot in from close range, being on his own again inside the 6 yard box. Similar to the first, simple football played around the Iron defence allowed a ball across, which this time Hamann got to but could not prevent, and Clucas was the man presented with the opportunity to tap in unchallenged.
Devonshire made a double substitution at the break, with Marks and Brundle making way for Cox and Strutton. Strutton had an immediate impact, catching a great shot with his right which was palmed away by Tommy Lee. The goalkeeper was the centre of controversy moments later, when outside the box he charged down Jordan Cox who appeared to be through on goal. As Cox went to ground, the referee immediately blew the whistle for a free kick just outside the area, but strangely no word was said to the goalkeeper, nor a card shown for the challenge.
Down the other end, and against the run of play since the break, a Gary Roberts solo effort from outside the area extended the lead to four in the 53rd minute. Tandayi Darikwa ran at the Iron defence, and through a challenge found a looping ball to Roberts. Roberts looked up and nestled the ball into the top left hand corner with a great attempt from outside the area, showing the quality that the League One club has. The Spirites were to have the ball in the back of the net yet again when Jay O'Shea thumped a Gary Roberts through ball past Nick Hamann, but O'Shea was ruled offside and it remained 4-0 with half an hour to play.
The Iron never gave up, with Jordan Cox looking lively up front with Strutton, coming back to receive the ball when possible. Cox did just that, playing the ball out to the right hand side and getting himself into a good position looking for the return. Iron played the ball across the box searching for the opening, and it was eventually Akinola on the other side that found the space required to pull the trigger; a shot fired at Tommy Lee that was palmed away. Cox met the return with his head, which flew over the bar and behind for a goal kick.
On the counter, Chesterfield punished Braintree yet again in the crulest of ways with fifteen minutes remaining when Remi Clerima turned in an own goal when trying to meet a cross in from the left. Gary Roberts tore down the left hand side and provided the cross, but as Remy slid to turn the ball behind, he instead deflected it past the 'keeper Hamann to further extend the lead.
Iron fans held their breath as Akinola cut in to shoot down the left had side, only to be denied by the head of the Chesterfield man on the line. But the day was finished with a final goal from the league side, when Eoin Doyle bagged another just before full time, slotting past Hamann with ease. Moments before the full time whistle, Doyle was put through on the right, and took his chance well, side footing into the bottom corner to wrap up the day which saw Chesterfield ease past Braintree with six goals and no reply.
Iron boss Alan Devonshire showed his discontent on the result, which did see his side match up against a far superior league side. In terms of positioning, the distance between the two is the same as that of Chesterfield and Manchester City at the start of the game. However, Devonshire pulled no punches following the game stating that he was "bitterly disappointed" with his side.
"We did alright for five minutes, started well and then after that we were poor. I'm bitterly disappointed, I feel that the players have let the club down. They are better than that, you know that, you see them week in week out and I'm trying to put my finger on it - I don't know. I am bitterly disappointed with that performance, and all we can do is move on."
"We didn't go with runners and sloppy mistakes, we couldn't clear the ball. How many times did we scuff it ten yards to them? It's just poor. I don't know what they want. It's the first round of the FA Cup, the TV cameras are here, have a go lads and show them how good you are. I've got to apologise to the fans because I feel they were brilliant today and we were poor."
"I said to them in there that they were playing against League One players, but we made them look like Championship or Premier League players today. We need to roll our sleeves up now because we have a game against Dover on Tuesday who had a great win yesterday."
"At the end of the day we have had enough chances to score. Charlie (Strutton) had a chance and Jordan (Cox) had a chance that should have been in the back of the net like it was at the other end. There finishing was good but at the end of the day we also gifted them some goals as well. Especially the third one which I just felt at half time had killed the game, it was so sloppy. We've got to learn quickly."
"I don't know if the confidence is low, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to roll our sleeves up and make sure we get another thirty points in this league to make sure that we stay in it. There are a few people coming back now, so I will have a choice to make. I could probably drop them all after today, but there will be a few changes after today because that was poor."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Habergham, Sowunmi (Clerima), Massey, Isaac, Davis, Mulley, Brundle (Strutton), Marks (Cox), Akinola. Unused subs: Sparkes, Paine, Walker, Pentney. Chesterfield: Lee, Darikwa, Evatt, Ryan, Morsy, Clucas, Jones (Humphreys), O'Shea (Gardner), Raglan, Roberts (Boco), Doyle. Subs: Wright, Ariyibi, Banks. Referee: Brendan Malone. Assistants: Ian Fissenden and Chris O'Donnell. Fourth Official: Darren Blunden. Attendance: 1206.
Match Report by Chris Pargin.
Pay on the day, but tickets on sale Saturday 1-5
Tickets for tomorrow's FA Cup First Round match are on sale this afternoon. Although you can pay on the day at the appropriate turnstile, Braintree supporters are encouraged to purchase their ticket(s) in advance so as to be able to take advantage of turnstiles 5 & 6 that will be open for home ticket holders only - to avoid the expected queues. Thanks to the support of advertisers, in particular Braintree District Council, ticket prices have been reduced for this match, which has now been designated as a Category C fixture and admission will be reduced to:
Seats - adults £16, concession £12
Ground - adults £15, OAP £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
Both ground and seat tickets will available this afternoon from the Clubhouse from 1pm to 5pm
Cup tie on TV and happy hour beer!
The turnstiles for Sunday's FA Cup match against Chesterfield will be open from 12 noon, as will the Iron Clubhouse! We will be showing the Halifax v Bradford City FA Cup tie live on the big screens and offering selected draught beers at discounted prices of just £2.50 a pint for the happy hour of 12 noon - 1pm.
Pay on the day, but tickets on sale now
Tickets for Sunday's FA Cup First Round match are now on sale. Although you can pay on the day at the appropriate turnstile, Braintree supporters are encourages to purchase their ticket(s) in advance so as to be able to take advantage of turnstiles 5 & 6 that will be open for home ticket holders only - to avoid the expected queues. Thanks to the support of advertisers, in particular Braintree District Council, ticket prices have been reduced for this match, which has now been designated as a Category C fixture and admission will be reduced to:
Seats - adults £16, concession £12
Ground - adults £15, OAP £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
Both ground and seat tickets will available as follows:
Thursday (6 November) evening from the Clubhouse 7.30pm-9pm
Friday (7 November) from the Club Office 10am-3.30pm
Saturday (8 November) afternoon from the Clubhouse 1pm-5pm
Braintree's poor league form continues
It was a change of formation for Braintree, playing five in the middle of the park, with James Mulley sitting behind Sean Marks. But it was another defeat for Braintree as they were unable to break through the Mariners defence.
Grimsby started brightest, with the first chance coming from a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the area which went harmlessly over. After twenty minutes another dangerous free-kick was whipped in and cleared by a Braintree head. From the corner it was again headed clear by the Iron defence. Mitch Brundle had to make a last ditch interception to prevent Jack MacKreth from being clean through on goal. It was a two-on-one situation with Nathan Arnold unable to pass the ball beyond Brundle. Braintree continued to absorb the pressure from Grimsby, with iron defending from Massey diving low to scoop a header clear off the boot of Lenell John-Lewis. The best chance came after thirty-seven minutes for John-Lewis, when a headed knock on left him behind the Braintree defence for the first time in the match. His shot however was rushed and sliced which made it easy for Nick Hamann to deal with. There were very few chances created and it finished goalless at half time. Manager Alan Devonshire felt the Iron were "too respectful to Grimsby in the first half and were not themselves."
The second half saw Braintree be more, as Devonshire described, like themselves. There was strong defending in the air and solid tackles, particularly from Omar Sowunmi. Grimsby did not threaten often in the second half, with most of the pressure being dealt with by the Irons defence and crosses and passes were also going astray. The first real chance for Braintree came in second half. An in-swinging corner was meet at the near post going narrowly wide with James McKeown rooted.
The breakthrough goal came from John-Lewis in the sixty-sixth minute. A long range shot by Clay zipped across the surface heading for the far post. Hamann saved the initial shot but could only get his fingertips to the effort and the rebound fell kindly for the lone front man John-Lewis near the penalty spot. His effort was blasted into the roof of the net with Hamann unable to get a touch to the ball. Devonshire stated after the game that he felt that Hamann could have done more to prevent the goal, as the initial shot by Clay was fairly tame.
Braintree had a fantastic opportunity to equalise through Omar Sowunmi after seventy-five minutes. A free-kick in a dangerous position on the right wing was curled into the box perfectly for the unmarked Sowunmi to connect with his head. His effort however went narrowly wide of the post. It was Braintree's only clear opportunity of the game.
There was an opportunity for Grimsby to double their lead late on. A corner was knocked on by Harry Pell which fell to the feet of John-Lewis, his shot in front of goal from a couple of yards out was hit across goal and the ball was then cleared by Habergham who was standing on the post.
There was late pressure from Braintree, but it proved to be too little too late as they were unable to get a decent shot away, with both Kenny Davis and Charlie Strutton having blocked shots and Jordan Cox unable to find a shooting position in the box. Devonshire was not happy with the result of the game, as he felt Grimsby only had the one real chance, but Devonshire also conceded that the team had played poorly. It is now nine games without a win for Braintree. When questioned on this Devonshire reassured that the club will be back to winning ways soon and that he is confident of the upcoming game on Sunday against League One side Chesterfield in the FA Cup first round. Devonshire was quick to point out that a lot of players were coming back into the squad from injuries which gives him confidence as he will have choices to make and options on the bench.
Teams: Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Omar Sowunmi, Chez Isaacs (Charlie Strutton, 68 mins), Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Dan Walker, James Mulley (Jordan Cox, 80 mins), Sean Marks, Dan Sparkes (Kenny Davis, 68 mins). Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Simeon Akinola.
Grimsby Town FC: James McKeown, Aswad Thomas, Shaun Pearson, Carl Magnay, Jack MacKreth (Jon-Paul Pittman 85 mins), Craig Disley, Lenell John-Lewis, Craig Clay, Nathan Arnold, Aristote Nsiala, Harry Pell. Unused Subs: Paul Bignot, Ross Hannah, Scott Neilson. Jon-Paul Pittman, Paddy McLaughlin. Attendance: 875. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.
Surrey club withstand second half barrage
On the back on an eight goal thriller midweek at Cressing Road, Iron took a well-earned point in a tight game with few chances when they returned home in the league. Simeon Akinola looked a threat throughout the game, a positive that manager Alan Devonshire will take along with the clean sheet that the Iron will be keen to repeat against Grimsby on Tuesday night.
Woking had the initial chances of the game, with Hamann recovering well around ten minutes into the match to dive onto a loose ball that looked to be trickling towards the goal line. In a mix up with Omar Sowunmi, Hamann committed himself at the edge of the box, but as the ball skipped past, Hamann was on the back foot, recovering quickly enough to scoop up the danger.
Guiseppe Sole had a shot inside the Braintree area 16 minutes in, which he took on the turn and forced Hamann into a good save. The Iron 'keeper could only parry the ball back into the box, but Sowunmi was there to clear the danger.
Just after the half an hour mark, Scott Rendell found himself in space after some work around the Iron box by Woking. Rendell struck a weak shot from a great position in front of the centre of goal, allowing Hamann to get down low in time to cover. Straight down the other end, Akinola eventually picked up the clearance, but was denied by Ross Warner who parried his attempt behind goal. The resulting corner was flicked over the bar by Akinola after a good delivery into the box.
The next Iron attack left James Mulley furious after some nice build up play which ended with Mulley face down on the Cressing Road turf. Walker played a nice ball through to Mulley who looked to be pushed by Joe McNerney, who was clearly losing the foot race. As the last man, a blow of the whistle would have been sure to have led to a red card, but the referee waved play on much to the dismay of the Iron faithful.
After the restart, Iron gained momentum and had a great chance on the hour mark. Akinola stood his ground against the odds to drill in a cross to strike partner Jordan Cox. Directly in front of the Iron fans behind the goal, Cox's shot was blocked, and a cry came from the faithful for hand ball. But the referee waved away appeals, and Jordan's second attempt went wide.
Despite some good build up play by Braintree, Woking restricted the chances, and frustration set in as the whistle loomed. Brundle resorted to a speculative effort from way out which he put well wide with two minutes of normal time to play. Isaac drifted a ball in from a free kick in a good area in additional time. With a goalmouth scramble, Iron looked about to shoot, but with the goalkeeper on the floor the referee stopped play. The dropped ball came to nothing, and both sides were forced to settle for a point in a game of very few chances.
Reflecting after the game, manager Alan Devonshire confirmed his content with the team's performance.
"Second half I thought we bossed and were the only team that were going to win the game. I was pleased with it. It was a decent game, with two decent sides on the day and it was probably a fair result in the end. To get a draw at the end of the day, we'll take it and look forward to Tuesday."
"I might start Charlie (Strutton) on Tuesday, I'll have a chat with him and see how he feels, but I will be resting a few on Tuesday."
"I felt that we were a bit shaky defensively first half, but second half I was really pleased with our shape was and the way we played. All that was missing was a goal, but they are a very good side. Gary's done very well with them this season. We'll take it, and we'll see how we go for Tuesday."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Habergham, Sowunmi, Massey, Mulley, Isaac, Brundle. Walker, Akinola, Cox. Unused Subs: Sparkes, Strutton, Pentney, Paine, Case. Woking: Warner, Newton, McNerney, Clarke, Payne, Murtagh (Jones), Rendell, Sole (Marriott), Betsy, Lewis (Goddard), Arthur. Unused subs: Cester, Cole. Referee: Brett Huxtable. Assistants: Paul Yates and Paul Howard. Fourth Official: Carl Pearse. Attendance: 876. Match report by Chris Pargin.
Now a Category C game for visit of Chesterfield
Thanks to the support of advertisers, in particular Braintree District Council, ticket prices have been reduced for our FA Cup First Round match against Chesterfield, a week on Sunday, 9th November. This match has now been designated as a Category C fixture and admission will be reduced to:
Seats - adults £16, concession £12
Ground - adults £15, OAP £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
Although the game will a 'Pay on the day' fixture, we will have seat tickets available in advance - hopefully by next Tuesday at both clubs. We also hope to have ground tickets available in advance - more news on their availability when we have it. Home supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to reduce the queues through turnstiles on the day.
Club to review ticket pricing
Braintree Town's FA Cup First Round fixture at home to Chesterfield is one of eight ties that will feature in the BBC's FA Cup Final Score with Jason Mohammed on Sunday 9 November, with kick-off at 2pm. As a result of additional funding and advertising secured for the match from, in particular, Braintree District Council, the Club will now be reviewing the ticket prices for the game and, with the agreement of both our opponents and The FA reduce them accordingly - more news when we have it.