Goals aplenty to entertain the faithful
The curtain came down on another season of Conference football for the Iron, and it came down in some style, a six goal thriller. The Iron attack ran riot at times and really put the Altrincham defence to the sword, the game finishing with a 4-2 victory.
The Iron started brightest and within minutes had fashioned a chance for Jordan Cox, who could not keep his header down. Moments later Mitch Brundle burst from right back, slalomed through the Altrincham defence and powered a shot at goal that required a smart save from David Parton to see it over the bar. After fifteen minutes Simeon Akinola showed his talent, dancing past a defender before being body checked by Gianluca Havern. Akinola stepped up to take the free kick and his missile of an attempt barely changed direction in flight, flying narrowly wide of the mark. Cox had another great opportunity to score when Kenny Davis gently chipped the ball over the Altrincham defence, putting Cox in behind them. The shot from Cox flashed across the face of goal, a whisker wide of the far post.
Having had plenty of opportunities to score, the Iron broke the deadlock hitting Altrincham on the break after the visitors had enjoyed a decent spell of possession. Akinola used his pace to get around the defence and was once again unceremoniously body checked. Dan Sparkes was given the responsibility of taking the free kick and delivered wonderfully finding an unmarked James Mulley. Both Mulley and Cox were queuing up unmarked on the six yard line to head it home, with Mulley getting to the ball first to nod it low into the bottom left corner. The goal came after thirty-five minutes.
The Iron had been on top and deserved to take the lead and almost doubled it immediately with a headed attempt from Davis dropping wide of the goal. Altrincham however found the equaliser just three minutes after the Iron had taken the lead. Some neat passing whilst hitting the Iron on the break created room on the edge of the box for James Lawrie, his shot looked to take a deflection on its way through, as it had wrong footed Nick Hamann.
The teams went in at half time level, a fact that aggrieved Mark Sansom as he stated at full time that he felt Braintree had been by far the better team. Once the second half started it did not take long for the Iron to get back on top. Having toe poked an effort wide moments earlier, Cox was on hand to take advantage of a defensive error by Gianluca Havern. A weak attempt to pass back to the keeper was pounced on by Cox who was clean through on the left side of the box and Cox rifled a half volley into the opposite corner.
The following five minutes were fast and furious from the Iron who did not allow Altrincham any time or space to breathe. Even the Iron defence were bursting forward with real intent with all the action firmly entrenched in the Altrincham half. Dan Sparkes was desperately unlucky not to have scored what would have been the goal of the game, a dipping, curling effort from outside of the box that cannoned against the crossbar. The crossbar was still shaking when Sparkes whipped an excellent ball into the box which was headed beyond the reach of Parton by Cox rising high at the far post to double his tally.
The pace left the game after the Iron built the two goal cushion, happy to absorb the pressure applied by Altrincham, who had a number of half chances but were unable to show the same lethality that the Iron had displayed. On seventy-eight minutes, however, Altrincham were given too much space and clawed a goal back. Nicky Lee galloped forward and found Kyle Perry out on the left wing. Perry drilled in a low cross with the outside of his boot that flashed across the face of goal and in off of the inside of the post, Hamann being deceived by the direction of the ball again.
The goal kick started the Iron once again and Alan Massey blazed an effort wide of the goal. The pressure and attacking play from the Iron paid dividends again as Bernard Mensah used his fresh legs to finish the scoring in the eighty-second minute. Mensah pounced on a loose ball and used his pace to get clean through on goal. From the edge of the box Mensah calmly slotted his shot passed Parton into the far bottom corner.
There was almost a late chance for Cox to finish with a hat trick when George Pullen put him in on goal, the linesman however had his flag raised. There were plenty of positives for the Iron to take from the game, and if a potential new manager was watching the match, then they surely would had been encouraged by what they saw. For Mark Sansom it was a result that gave him great pride, he went on to say that the result and performance were a thank you to the fans for their support throughout the season.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Matt Paine, Joe Maybanks (Sean Marks, 84 mins) Simeon Akinola, Dan Sparkes (Bernard Mensah, 75 mins) James Mulley (George Pullen, 78 mins) Jordan Cox. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Michael Bakare. Altrincham: David Parton, Adam Griffin, Gianluca Havern, Scott Leather, James Lawrie, Ryan Crowther (Kyle Perry, 57 mins) Damian Reeves, Nicky Lee, Tom Marshall, Jake Moult, Jordan Sinnott. Unused Subs: Steven Gillespie, Kyle Perry, Sean Williams, Simon Richman, Peter Cavanagh. Attendance: 535. Match report by Ryan Delaney.

Wrexham prevail in North Wales
Iron made the long trip to sunny north Wales to face FA Trophy finalists Wrexham and returned home beaten by three goals to nil. It was a strong performance for most of the game from the Iron, despite the 3-0 score line, and had they not been cruelly forced into substitutions could have come away with a share of the points. Wrexham have now gone eleven matches unbeaten at the Racecourse Ground.
From the first corner of the game Wrexham headed the ball against the bar, after ten minutes Carl Pentney had to be alert after a goal mouth scramble resulted in a shot straight down the centre. After half an hour there was concern for Sean Marks who went down after a clash of heads. Moments later Chez Isaac thumped a twenty-five yard effort narrowly over the bar that had Andy Coughlin struggling. Having recovered from a knock to the head, Marks had to be replaced with Jordan Cox having picked up another injury.
The last few minutes of the half were dominated by the Iron. Bernard Mensah pounced on dawdling Wrexham defence and pinched the ball high up the field. In a two on two situation Mensah rolled the ball to his left, into the path of Cox who bent an effort inches wide of the post. Minutes after, Dan Sparkes volleyed an effort from the edge of the box that went fizzing wide of the goal. The last effort the half fell to Mitch Brundle who meandered across the Wrexham half before thumping an effort over the bar. At half time it was goalless, yet it was the Iron that looked most likely to make the breakthrough. The Iron had been more solid at the back and were effectively breaking down Wrexham attacks in the midfield. Substitute Cox had also picked up an injury, bringing the total to two, but Cox was able to continue.
The second half started fairly evenly, but the Iron were dealt a massive blow when a clash of heads left Matt Paine with a broken nose, forcing a substitution, Simeon Akinola taking to the field. The deadlock was broken in the sixty-second minute by Louis Moult. The Iron were unable to clear a long throw from the right channel, the ball only reaching the edge of the Iron box. Pentney was able to get behind the following shot from Sam Finley, but could not hold onto the ball and Moult was on hand to tap in from close range. To add further insult to injury Isaac had to be carried off the pitch, the forth injury of the day, and replaced with James Mulley, who is himself not at full fitness.
With both Paine and Isaac having to be replaced the Iron were no longer winning the majority of the midfield battles. Moult got his second goal of the game in the seventy-eighth minute. Wrexham worked the ball well to the right wing and to Joe Clarke who was in space. Clarke then whipped in a dangerous cross that Moult met with his head at the near post, a few yards from goal. Moult got real purchase on his header which took it past Pentney, slamming against the crossbar and into the net.
Andy Bishop wrapped up the scoring in the ninetieth minute when he nodded a Jay Harris cross beyond Pentney. The result does not reflect fairly on the battling performance from the Iron, and had there not been so many injuries the result could have been remarkably different. Mark Sansom stated at full time that the injuries disrupted the flow of the team and that never before has he been forced to make all three substitutions due to injury. The Iron will hope that they can shake off their knocks and perform the way they did in the first half against Altrincham next week.
Wrexham FC: Andy Coughlin, Neil Ashton, Manny Smith, Blaine Hudson (Anthony Stephens, 30 mins) Louis Moult, Andy Bishop, Dean Keates, Steve Tomassen, Rob Evans, Connor Jennings (Joe Clarke, 63 mins) Sam Finley (Jay Harris, 86 mins). Unused Subs: Wes York, Kyle Storer. Braintree Town FC: Carl Pentney, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac (James Mulley ,67 mins) Matt Paine (Simeon Akinola, 53 mins) Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Sean Marks (Jordan Cox, 40 mins) Dan Sparkes, Bernard Mensash, Remy Clerima. Unused Subs: Nick Hamann, Joe Maybanks. Attendance: 2766. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

Iron looking for new manager
Braintree Town Football Club will be looking for a new manager for next season. On Saturday the Board offered Alan Devonshire an extension to his current employment on the same terms and, to assist with our preparations for next season, we asked for an answer by Thursday evening. Last night (Thursday) Alan declined our offer and the Club will now be seeking applications for the post.
Chairman Lee Harding said: "We had a lengthy chat with Alan on Saturday and advised him that we would like him to remain with us for a fifth year. Alan advised that he had been approached by third parties for next season and was not prepared to sign as he felt that he wanted to speak with them. We agreed to give him until Thursday evening to consider our offer, but he was still not prepared to sign. The Board have therefore decided to ask Mark Sansom to act in a caretaker role for Saturday's trip to Wrexham and at home to Altrincham a week on Saturday.
On behalf of all of us, I'd like to thank Alan for his efforts over the four seasons he was with us, more so this season when a number of injuries have made the job difficult.
But now the Board look forward to a new era and new challenges. We continue to make progress with our discussions on relocation. Both Braintree Council and the Club are taking time to ensure we get the arrangements right, but we have made real progress in recent weeks and hope to be in a position to make an announcement on our future in June.
As a club we like to think we have our feet on the ground. We've always said that we have ambition tempered with reality and want to play our football at the highest sustainable level. Our current stadium meets the entry requirements for the Football League, but a small fortune would need to be spent on further improvements, so we believe relocation to a purpose built stadium is the best way forward.
Over the coming weeks we will be looking for a new manager that can work with the Board to build a team on the pitch to compete and help prepare us for the challenges that lie ahead."

Cox and Isaac do the damage
Braintree Town made the long journey up the M6 for a mid-week Vanarama Conference trip to Southport and came home winners by two goals to nil to move up to fifteenth place. Iron made a positive start and could have taken the lead when Southport keeper Thompson performed heroics to twice deny Jordan Cox within a matter of seconds on fourteen minutes. Cox headed just wide on 23 minutes as Iron continued to press.
But Southport came more into the game as the half progressed. On 35 minutes the Lancashire side took advantage of a Clerima mistake, but Steven Hewitt's shot was well saved by Nick Hamann and the Iron keeper had to be at his best two minutes later to deny Louis Almond. Goal-less at the break Southport started the second half better, but it was Iron that scored with arguably their first attack eleven minutes after the re-start when Bernard Mensah's cracking cross from the left was headed home by Jordan Cox.
On 69 minutes Matt Paine could have had a penalty when he was pushed in the home 18-yard box, but Southport then broke only for George Donnelly to miss the target when well placed. On 73 minutes Connor McCarthy's header missed the target for Southport and, a minute later, Hamann did well to deny Tom Davies header. Southport had a penalty appeal waived away on 82 minutes, but Iron added a second on the counter.
Akinola broke from deep and released Sam Habergham. The Iron left back set up Dan Sparkes who, in turn, teed up Chez Issac to drill the ball into the top corner. Brundle tried his luck from deep on 87 minutes, but just failed to hit the target. Iron saw out the remainder to register an ultimately comfortable win.

Dan Sparkes hits the target again
With a fifth consecutive season of Conference football confirmed the Iron took on an Aldershot side who had also just secured their status for next season. Prior to the game the Iron boasted an unbeaten home record against the Shots, and have two wins from the last two fixtures between the sides. There was no third straight victory for the Iron, however their unbeaten home record against the Shots remains.
The Iron started the brightest and within the first minutes of the game Mitch Brundle was afforded plenty of space, allowing him to attempt a 35 yard half volley that clipped the edge of the post on its way out, with Phil Smith unable to get anywhere near the shot. Brundle was very lively and moments later he had another chance, darting into the box between two Shots defenders and unleashing a low drive that had to be held by Smith. After five minutes Brundle had another attempt, latching onto a low cross from Jordan Cox in the middle of the box. The Aldershot defence were out of shape but managed to block the attempt and get the ball clear.
As the first half wore on the Shots came into the game. After twenty-five minutes a dangerous through ball by Sean McGinty put Ryan Jarvis behind the Iron defence down the left channel. Jarvis was then able to turn past Remy Clerima putting him through one-on-one with Carl Pentney, however, Jarvis only managed to find the side netting with his effort. The warning signs were there for the Iron as the Shots were pressing and the goal had been coming. On twenty-nine minutes a low cross from the right wing across the face of goal was latched onto by Sam Hatton a few yards from goal to easily tap in. There were protests from the Iron defence and Alan Devonshire stated after the game that he was certain that Hatton had been a few yards offside for the goal.
There was not much to separate the two teams at half time. The Iron had dominated the first twenty minutes of the first half but could not turn their dominance into goals. The Shots on the other hand had been able to find the breakthrough when they were on top of the game.
The Iron came out for the second half as lively as they had done in the first half. Sparkes had his first sight at goal five minutes into the second half after he volleyed a high cross from the left edge of the box beyond the far post. Sparkes was setting his sites as six minutes later Sparkes bagged the equaliser, his tenth of the campaign. Simeon Akinola had a quiet first half, but it was his powerful running and expert close control that got himself into a dangerous position. Akinola then played a brilliant ball into the box behind the Shots defence for Sparkes to run onto. Sparkes was calm and composed as he slid the ball under the outrushing Smith into the bottom corner of the net.
The rest of the second half was finely balanced between the two teams and either team could have snatched a winner. Carl Pentney, making his first appearance of the season had to be alert after a direct run and powerful shot from Mark Molesey had to be tipped over the bar. With ten minutes left on the clock Tristan Plummer found space on the right edge of the Iron box. His drilled shot, turn cross, fizzed dangerously across the face of goal, but went harmlessly wide.
The Iron had plenty of possession and territory and came close to taking the lead ten minutes after the equaliser when a dipping cross into the six yard box deceived an Aldershot defender and was almost converted. Kenny Davis had a long range drive whistle wide of the post in the closing stages of the second half, before substitute Joe Maybanks had a sniff at goal, his long range shot curling wide of the goal.
At full time Mitch Brundle felt the result in many ways reflected the way the Irons season has unfolded. He stated that the Iron should have been in the lead early on, maybe by a few goals, but had not taken their chances and had been punished. He did praise the character of the team to come back out and dominate long spells of the second half and to get back into the match. A draw may have been a fair reflection, but the Iron certainly could have won the game.
Braintree Town FC: Carl Pentney, Ryan Peters (Bernard Mensah, 45 mins), Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, Mitch Brundle, Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Jordan Cox, Dan Sparkes, Simeon Akinola (Joe Maybanks, 90 mins). Unused Subs: Matt Paine, James Mulley, Nick Hamann. Aldershot Town FC: Phil Smith, Sean McGinty, Damon Lathrope, Glen Wilson (Cheye Alexander 60 mins), Chris Barker, Sam Hatton, Brett Williams, Tristan Plummer, Jordan Roberts, Ryan Jarvis (Andre McCollin 74 mins), Jim Stevenson (Mark Molesey, 38 mins). Unused Subs: Dan Thomas, Giorgio Rasulo. Attendance: 621. Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Victory at Nuneaton delivers National League football
Braintree Town made the short journey to Nuneaton Town on Easter Monday and came home winners by the only goal of the game. Scored by the in-form Dan Sparkes, with just nine minutes remaining, the three points lifted Iron to sixteenth in the table and also secured the Club's status in next season's Vanarama National League. Iron had the better of the first half and could have taken the lead on 25 minutes when Bernard Mensah's shot was deflected by the feet of home keeper Max Crocombe onto the bar and away. Jordan Cox was replaced by substitute Mitch Brundle on the half hour after a clash of heads left the Iron striker needing stitches from the club doctor. After the break the home side came more into the game with Nic Hamann having to be at his best to deny Josh Rees. But Iron always looked lively on the break and, with nine minutes left, good work from Sam Habergham and Sim Akinola set up Dan Sparkes who steered the ball home from just inside the home 18-yard area. The Braintree defence stood firm to the late home onslaught and were good value for the three points. Next up for Iron is the visit of Aldershot Town to the Miles Smith Stadium, this coming Saturday, 11th April, with kick-off a 3pm.

Too many players already on the beach
Iron slumped to their third consecutive defeat in eleven days when going down to the Imps in a defeat which left manager Alan Devonshire "bitterly disappointed and flummoxed" by his side's inconsistent performances.
"We started so well and for the first 20 minutes dominated the game, hit the bar and had our chances but they catch us twice on the break in their only real attacks of the half and through bad defending on our part we go two goals down," he said. "We get ourselves back into the game a minute before half time but four minutes after the restart we give another bad goal away and we're 3-1 down.
"I told the players at half time to keep it tight for the first 15 minutes or so and then we can push forward and even win the game," he explained. "But we don't and even at 3-1 down we still had chances to get ourselves back in the game, although I admit in the last 15 minutes of the game we all looked tired and they we were well in control.
"I can't understand our inconsistency and I know we are down to the bare bones of a squad but that's no excuse," he continued. "Since the win at Torquay we've gone backwards and at the end of today's match I had harsh words to say to the players along with a few home truths.
"We've now got to dust ourselves down and get ready for the tough trip to Nuneaton and I shall expect to see some honest endeavour there because we don't want our season with five games to go just to fizzle out," he added. "We owe it to the loyal supporters who keep backing us even when we play badly as we did today."
The Iron's first 20 minutes in this game saw them dominate the game and on 16 minutes Alan Massey was unlucky to see his dipping 35 volley beat keeper Paul Farman but hit the underside of the bar and the ball kicked clear while both Chez Isaac and Simeon Akinola had shots saved.
But against the run of play it all went wrong for the Iron on 26 minutes when Ben Tomlinson was allowed to skip in from their left wing and drive the ball goal ward and although keeper Nic Hamann did get a touch to it the ball bounced off him and into the net.
On 32 minutes the visitors had a second and again it was through dreadful Iron defending down the home side's right flank where Jordan Cranston drove the ball into the penalty box straight to Jordan Burrow who slid the ball home with a first time shot past Hamman.
The visitors were successful when they did attack because they passed the ball better and created space while the Iron's all too often long ball up the front was of no problem for the Umps' defence.
Dan Sparkes gave the Iron a lifeline a minute before the break when he curled in a low left-foot shot round the defensive ball into the far corner of the net - a goal badly needed to boost the home side's confidence.
But the game was effectively over four minutes into the restart when Burrows grabbed his second from close range with two Iron defenders static close to him yet nobody closing him down.
The Iron still had chances to have come back into the game but this season's problem of not having a proven goal scorer showed itself again and although Sparkes, Jordan Cox and Akinola had half chances there was no penetration with their final deliveries.
At the other end only good work by Hamann kept the visitors from adding to their goal total on a day Iron fans will want to forget because late on they looked tired and jaded while the visitors continued to push for more goals.
Braintree Town: Hamann; Brundle (Mulley 37), Massey, Paine, Haabergham; Peters, Davis, Issac (Moore 91), Sparkes; Cox (Mensah 76), Akinola. Unused subs: Maybanks, Pentney. Referee: Justin Amey. Attendance: 650.

Iron three goals down before the break
Braintree journeyed to the West Midlands to visit Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday and came home beaten by three goals to one. Iron looked to bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Telford with an improved performance with a trip to Aggborough to face Kidderminster Harriers. Iron had to contend with a pitch that was in a poor state and a number of questionable officiating decisions. It was defeat for the Iron and they remain one point away of the fifty point target.
There was an early test for Nick Hamann as Lee Hughes was played in behind the defence with a long pass. There were suspicions of offside, Alan Devonshire certainly felt so, but play continued. Hamann had to get down low to make the save and then to smother the ball. It only took eights minutes for the first goal to arrive. The goal came from a ball played from the Kidderminster half, over the top of the defence, which Danny Wright was able to latch onto thirty yards from goal. Wright bore down on goal and withstood the pressure from Mitch Brundle and placed his shot just out of reach of Hamann.
The second goal came just four minutes later as Lee Hughes was again found in space behind the defence. It looked to be another offside but again play continued. Hughes had his back to goal and attempted to play in Wright with a back heel, the ball instead deflected off the legs of Alan Massey and back into the path of Hughes who burst into the box and fired it in low from an angle. Keith Roland's at full time expressed his disappointment in conceding the first two goals from deep passes.
The best chance of the first half for the Iron came when a delightful through ball from Kenny Davis put Simeon Akinola behind the Kidderminster defence. Akinola lined up his shot, but as he took a swing at the ball it bounced on the rough pitch and the shot was sliced into the crowd. There was a moment of real concern for the Iron after half an hour when Sean Marks was caught on the ankle after a strong challenge. Jordan Cox came onto the field as Marks injury required him to be substituted.
With five minutes to go before half time Wright bagged his second goal of the game. A deep free kick from just inside the Iron half was floated into the box and was only half cleared by the defence with the ball falling to the feet of Jack Byrne on the right wing. Byrne had the time to pick out the head of Wright who was unchallenged at the near post, the header going low to Hamann's left.
It had been a poor first half for the Iron having conceded three first half goals for the first time this season in the league. Keith Rowland conceded at full time that it would have required a massive effort to comeback from three goals in this league.
The Iron made an immediate impact scoring within the first minute of the second half. It was Kidderminster who kicked off but lost the ball in midfield. Kenny Davis was afforded the time and space to pick his spot with a thirty yard peach of an effort that curled into the far top corner. It was a fantastic effort from the captain and it had Kidderminster rattled.
Just moments later Bernard Mensah had an opportunity to peg Kidderminster back to one goal. After some tenacious play by Davis to win the ball in the Kidderminster half, Mensah was played in on the left side of the box, his low shot at goal beat Danny Lewis but went agonisingly wide of the far post. The Iron had the better of the second half and created another opportunity, this time for Matt Paine who was lurking on the edge of the Kidderminster box. Davis fed the ball low and to his feet, but again the pitch may have changed the balls direction as the shot was scuffed wide of the goal. After some neat play Akinola burst down the left wing, crossing low into the box and finding the feet of Mensah. Again the shot at goal was scuffed and trickled wide of the goal, Chez Isaac managed to keep the ball in play and win a corner, but nothing came of it.
The Iron won the second half but were unable to create and convert enough chances to overturn the three goal half time deficit. The Iron will instead have to look at reaching the fifty point target at home to Lincoln.
Kidderminster Harriers FC: Danny Lewis, Jared Hodgkiss, Jake Green, James Fry, Nathaniel Kelly, Jack Byrne (Luke Maxwell 71 mins), Danny Wright (Akwasi Asante, 75 mins), Jamie Grimes, Aman Verma, Callum Gittings, Lee Hughes (Ahmed Obeng, 87 mins). Unused Subs: Keyin Reffell, Kevin Nicholson. Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac (Dan Sparkes 71 mins), Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Sean Marks (Jordan Cox, 34 mins), Simeon Akinola, Bernard Mensah (James Mulley, 81 mins), Ryan Peters. Unused Subs: Joe Maybanks, Carl Pentney
Attendance: 1379. Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Braintree fail to impress in front of bumper crowd
Live TV cameras beaming the game around the world, over two-thousand inside the ground, the stage was set for the Braintree players to impress, as they had done the previous week in the 5-1 win at Torquay. Iron went into the fixture on a decent run of form, unbeaten in the last three and on the back of a spectacular drubbing of Torquay in their own backyard. AFC Telford on the other hand started the match staring bleakly at the ever looming prospect of relegation having lost their previous three fixtures. In front of a bumper crowd, Telford went against the form book as they showed greater lethality in front of goal, claiming a 2-0 victory.
It was a fairly scrappy start to the match, possibly the nerves of playing in front of cameras, with the Iron exerting the most pressure but unable to break through the Telford defence. Sean Marks did test James Montgomery with a half volley that was dipping wickedly under the crossbar. It was comfortable enough for Montgomery to hold onto as the shot came down the centre of the goal. Simeon Akinola, back in the starting line-up, threatened the Bucks goal with a ferocious effort from outside the box, his effort going wide of the goal.
As the first half wore on Telford grew in to the game and had a number of set pieces that gradually became more threatening. Glenn Matthews slammed a speculative 40 yard free kick into the billboards, narrowly wide of the goal. It was Marks who was having the best chances for the Iron. He created a his own opportunity when he flicked on a high ball over the defence, spun and chased his pass, bearing down on goal. His shot had pace and was just out of the reach of Montgomery, but was also just narrowly wide of the goal.
Both teams went in at half time with neither keeper seriously being tested. The Iron had not been at their best but had created a few chances and looked solid in defence, the Bucks had at times looked threatening, particularly from set pieces, but had also been sloppy with their passing, the second half was all to play for.
Five minutes into the second half a low cross from the right wing bounced into the six yard box and was pounced on by Marks. Montgomery had seen the danger and had come out to make a save with his body. The loose ball was unceremoniously hacked clear by the defence for a corner. It was a better start to the second half by the Iron as they showed more attacking intent.
The first goal came after fifty-nine minutes and arguably came against the run of play, as the Bucks hit Braintree on the counter they found plenty of space to get a strong shot away and Nick Hamann was forced to make a great save low to his right. The ball was parried away from goal with Bradley Reid in possession with his back to goal. As Reid attempted to find space he was fouled by Remy Clerima and the referee gave the Bucks a penalty. Tony Gray stepped up to place the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, with Hamann diving the opposite way. The goal came as a blow to the Iron and a boost to the Bucks, up until the goal the Bucks had not asked any serious questions of Hamann in the second half but took their chance when it presented itself.
It took just five minutes for Telford to double their lead through Danny Ventre. It was again from a counter attack that the opportunity arose as Godfrey Poku picked the ball up in midfield and burst forward evading the Iron challenges. The Iron did not have enough men back to cope as the ball fell nicely for Ventre thirty yards outside of the box. Ventre was able to take a touch to set himself before curling the ball into the bottom right corner.
The Iron kept on plugging away looking to get themselves back into the game but could not create an end product. A Chez Isaac free kick was met in the middle of the penalty area by an unmarked Akinola, his touch set the ball narrowly wide of the goal with two other Iron players lurking unmarked. Another chance came after a handful of Iron crosses were half cleared before rolling out of the box and into the path of Kenny Davis. The shot was low and hard but it was drilled narrowly past the post. The Iron's final chance to find the net came from a dangerous cross to the far post that deceived John Disney as he nearly diverted the ball into his own net, the ball bouncing agonisingly wide.
It was a tough result for the Iron as they were not overwhelmed or outplayed by the Bucks. It was a result that hinged on the Bucks taking their chances when they came, which were also the clearer chances. The fifty point target will have to wait a little bit longer.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine (Jordan Cox, 73 mins), Kenny Davis, Sean Marks, Bernard Mensah, Simeon Akinola. Unused Subs: Joe Maybanks, Ryan Peters, James Mulley, Carl Pentney.
AFC Telford United: James Montgomery, Neill Byrne, Mike Grogan, Adam Farell (Ross Dyer, 90 mins) Tony Gray, Sean Clancy, Godfrey Poku (John Disney, 81 mins) Danny Ventre, Glenn Matthews, Ian Sharps, Bradley Reid. Unused Subs: Andy Pryce, Jordan Deacey, Sam Smith.
Attendance: 2115. Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Free admission for game against AFC Telford United
Braintree Town, supported by the Braintree & Witham Times, BBC Essex, Community Iron and Titan Storage Solutions will be offering FREE admission to all for this coming Tuesday evening's Vanarama Conference match against AFC Telford United, 24th March with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Chairman Lee Harding was quick to thank both their sponsors for their excellent support: "We really do appreciate the help and support in spreading the word about the free admission for this game. We know times are hard for a lot of people at the moment and that many follow the Club, but are unable to afford the cost. To say thank you to all our regular supporters and help those that would like to come along, we've decided to make the game free to all-comers and hope that the town and district will get behind the team for what is a big game for us."
For more details of how to find the ground click on the 'Find Us' link above!

Braintree impress in first trip to Torquay
Braintree made the long two hundred and fifty mile trip to the English Riviera to face Torquay United away for the first time. It turned out to be a journey well worth taking as the Iron celebrated St Patricks day by doing the double over Torquay and hammering them in the process 5-1, the heaviest home defeat inflicted on Torquay for twenty years.
It was a great start for the Iron, producing a goal within four minutes of the game. A deep cross by Mitch Brundle from just inside the Gulls half was expertly controlled by the chest of Sean Marks. Marks had the time and space to take another touch to put the ball into the path of Dan Sparkes who was making a run into the box. Sparkes shot low and hard to the left of the goal, out of reach of the outstretched leg of Martin Rice.
Braintree may not have had as much possession as the Gulls, but in the opening exchanges they looked sharpest. Matt Paine tested the alertness of Rice with a curling effort from the edge of the box, a sign of things to come, before a low cross on the left wing from Sparkes was met at the near post by Marks, who had gotten past his defender and in front of Rice. His effort had too much spin on the ball as it bounced narrowly wide of the far post with the net gaping.
The equaliser came in the twenty-third, when a free kick floated into the box was palmed into the path of John Campbell. Nick Hamann was unable to get any real purchase on his clearance and Campbell was on hand at the back post to fire the ball under the sliding body of Paine.
Torquay were asserting themselves onto the game and Hamann was kept busy with a few shots from outside the box. Kenny Davis was doing his defensive duties, clearing a low shot from a corner off the goal line. The Iron defence all had to do their part as they weathered the storm, looking composed under pressure.
With five minutes left of the half the Iron retook the lead with a swift, incisive counter attack. Marks was able to win a high ball and pass it to the feet of Bernard Mensah in space. Mensah then played a precise pass through the Gulls defence, perfectly in the path of the rushing Sparkes who was left one on one with keeper Rice. Sparkes took a touch to set himself up before unleashing a high drive that soared into the top corner. It was a sublime finish that had Rice unable to get near the shot.
At half time the Iron had had less possession than the Gulls, yet it was the Iron that looked the most dangerous on the attack. Torquay came out for the second half swinging and from a corner they hit the crossbar. Some neat play by the Gulls saw them work the ball into a dangerous position on the right wing. The cross sent in was low and hard and required a vital block from Matt Paine to prevent a goal scoring opportunity.
Torquay were pushing for an equaliser and when the Iron regained possession it left the Gulls defence exposed. On seventy one minutes and within minutes of coming onto the pitch, Simeon Akinola ran at the Gulls defence and was like a hot knife through butter, skipping past a challenge before threading a ball into the path of Sparkes. The use of three centre backs and wing backs by Torquay allowed plenty of space on the wings, which the Iron took advantage of. Sparkes picked the ball up on the right side of the box and finished his chance with aplomb, thundering his shot into the net off of the underside of the bar. Sparkes deserved his hat trick with three sublime finishes and when he was substituted he was applauded by Iron fans and Gull fans alike.
Akinola was showcasing his talent as soon as he took to the field and moments after setting Sparkes up for a third he had a low stinging shot turned around the post by Rice. Torquay were rattled by the third goal and the Iron took an iron grip of the game and just four minutes later had a forth. Akinola took a run at the Gull defence before feeding the ball to Sparkes on the edge of the box. Sparkes powered a shot at goal looking for his forth but his shot was blocked by Sean Marks ricocheting to the feet of Matt Paine outside of the box. Paine had his attempt saved by Rice earlier in the game, but Paine's powerful, precision effort this time could not be kept out. The Iron were queuing up to get a shot away, and Paine had plenty of options had he chosen not to shoot.
Braintree were in a ruthless mood. Marks attempted to head a ball into the box into the path of substitute Ryan Peters. The header was not dealt with and the ball dropped in front of Peters just yards from goal. Peters did not hesitate and pounced on the loose ball, poking it past Rice to further the Irons impressive lead. It was only his second goal for the club, the first this season, and came after being on the pitch for only six minutes.
Alan Devonshire felt that the final score line was not flattering to Braintree and was a fair reflection of the quality that Braintree showed, and in particular Dan Sparkes. Devonshire went on to say that the result had been coming as the Iron had been performing well in recent games without getting the points they deserved. It was Braintree's biggest win of the season and was delivered at a former league club.
Torquay United FC: Martin Rice, Aaron Downes, Krystian Pearce (Jordan Chapell, 55 mins), Luke Young, Ryan Bowman (Liam Prynn 67 mins), Toby Ajala, Courtney Richards, Levi Ives, Ollivier Gueguen, Aaron Dawson, John Campbell (Louis Briscoe, 85 mins) Unused Subs: Courtney Cameron, James McQuilkin. Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Sean Marks (James Mulley, 90 mins), Dan Sparkes (Ryan Peters, 76 mins) Bernard Mensah (Simeon Akinola 67 mins), Remy Clerima. Unused Subs: Joe Maybanks, Carl Pentney. Attendance: 1103. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

Iron earn deserved point on greasy pitch
Braintree Town travelled down the M4 to face play-off hopefuls Forest Green Rovers and came home with a deserved point from a 1-1 draw. Iron were arguably the better of the two sides first half on a heavy playing surface made more tricky by the use of pre-match watering! But, despite their promising start, Braintree fell behind on 23 minutes when Rovers' Charlie Clough headed home Rob Sinclair's corner. Iron continued to push forward and Mitch Brundle levelled when his 30 yard free-kick evaded home 'keeper Arnold and sailed into the top left hand corner. The second half again saw Iron start brightly, but they were pushed back late on as the Nailsworth side threw players forward in increasingly desperate numbers. The Iron defence held firm and were good value for the draw. The point leaves Iron in 17th, looking forward to Tuesday evening's trip down the M4 and M5 to visit Torquay United.

Council's feasibility study - a crossroad in our history
We caught up with Chairman Lee Harding at the weekend and there appears to be some progress with the Club's hope of relocation to a new stadium.
We understand that Braintree District Council have received the results of their long awaited feasibility study into the possibility of relocating the Club from its existing Cressing Road home to a new purpose-built stadium, ready for the Football League, at land allocated in the Council's Core Strategy growth location at Panfield Lane.
Both parties have been working hard behind the scenes over recent months. In August last year, the Council completed the purchase from Essex County Council of the vacant land off Chapel Hill for the sum of 1.2 million.
The Club too have worked hard to maintain Vanarama Conference football, while striving to operate on a sensible financial footing and retain all their assets to put towards the cost of relocation. The Club currently own the stadium freehold and have a lease on the land adjacent, which the Council and the Club are currently discussing.
Both the Council and the Club have been sensibly cautious about the deliverability of the new stadium. Both want to ensure that the Club can afford relocation and that the new facility will secure the long-term future of the Club and be an asset for the community.
Chairman Lee Harding said: "I think that we are fortunate in Braintree in that we have a well run local authority and football club who have both been very focused on the affordability of the new stadium. We've been talking to the Council about moving for eleven years now and have seen the location allocated for the new stadium site in the Council's Core Strategy."
He added: "We are happy to contribute all we can towards the new stadium and this study really is a crossroads in the Club's history. We like to think we are ambitious, but sensibly so. We have seen many clubs prosper following relocation, clubs like Burton Albion, Wycombe Wanderers and Yeovil Town - who were non-League clubs before new stadiums provided the facilities and financial impetus to reach the Football League. That said, we are very wary of the clubs that have struggled when they have not planned relocation thoroughly like Rushden & Diamonds and Darlington, so it's right that we take our time."
Harding concluded by saying: "The draft feasibility study from their independent consultants is with the Council and we understand it was to be discussed last week at Causeway House. We hope to see an approved copy for discussion at this week's Club board meeting and we can then start making some decisions about our future. Fundamentally about whether we plan for a new stadium or look at how we further develop our existing site at land off Cressing Road."
More news when we have it!

Free admission for Vanarama football
Braintree Town, supported by both the Braintree & Witham Times and BBC Essex will be offering FREE admission to all for the Vanarama Conference match against AFC Telford United on Tuesday 24th March, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Chairman Lee Harding was quick to thank both the local newspaper and radio for their excellent support: "We really do appreciate their help in spreading the word about the free admission for this game. We know times are hard for a lot of people at the moment and that many follow the Club, but are unable to afford the cost. To say thank you to all our regular supporters and help those that would like to come along, we've decided to make the game free to all-comers and hope that the town and district will get behind the team for what will be a big game for us."
For more details of how to find the ground click on the 'Find Us' link above!

Braintree get the victory recent performances have deserved
Having lost their last four games by a single goal, Iron bounced back against play off hopefuls Gateshead with a win. The result was again decided by a solitary goal, this time the Iron taking all the points on offer, Kenny Davis the goal scorer.
Chances were few and far between at the start of the match, Bernard Mensah met a Kenny Davis cross but headed harmlessly over whilst Matty Pattison flashed a cross along the six yard box out for a goal kick with no one able to make any contact.
There was a moment of concern after half an hour when Davis was caught high on the leg after a challenge from Pattison, who escaped a booking. Davis was down for a while receiving treatment but was able to continue, albeit gingerly. It was a challenge that aggrieved Alan Devonshire, as he stated after the game he was certain had Davis had his leg anchored then it would have possibly been broken by the challenge.
Both teams were looking to test each others defence with a mixture of crosses from the wings and neat link up play, but neither team managed to deliver a goal scoring chance.
The first half finished goalless with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested. It was a battle in the midfield with neither team able to fashion a clear cut chance. The game had an end of season feel to it, surprising given that Braintree have not yet hit their points target and Gateshead are chasing a play off place.
The second half started a little nervy for the Iron, a miss-kick from Remy Clerima saw Alex Rodman through on the right side of goal. Rodman slipped around the outrushing Nick Hamann, but had been forced wide to the by-line. Rodman attempted to put the ball across the box but only managed to find the side of the net with Mitch Brundle having the near post covered.
Akinola came very close to opening the scoring moments later. Sam Habergham did well to break down a Gateshead counter attack at the half way line and carried the ball into Gateshead territory. Habergham fed the ball into the feet of Akinola on the left side of the box. Akinola advanced with the ball and passed it low to Bernard Mensah who then laid the ball back into the path of Akinola. Despite pressure from three Gateshead defenders Akinola managed to connect well with the ball curling and dipping a powerful effort that slammed into the middle of the crossbar, out of the reach of Bartlett. Just moments later Akinola managed to wriggle himself into space this time on the right hand side of the goal, his shot however blazed over the bar.
The Iron were showing more intensity when going forward and Mensah had an opportunity to open the scoring when attempted to divert the ball into the net with his heel following a low corner. Bartlett scurried across the face of the goal but Mensah's attempt was dragged just wide. At the other end of the pitch Nick Hamann had to be alert when Rodman got a solid connection with on a deep cross from John Oster.
Kenny Davis got the only goal of the game after sixty-nine minutes from the penalty spot, calmly dispatching his effort low to the left corner of the goal, Adam Bartlett diving the other way. The penalty was won by Mensah, who had been tripped by Pattison as he latched onto an Akinola flick on. A partnership between Akinola and Mensah flourished in the second half and their skilful interchange got the better of the Gateshead defence. There were few complaints from the Heed regarding the referees decision and Alan Devonshire was convinced the officials made the correct call. Devonshire was full of praise for Davis after the match, not only for being able to soldier on the heavy challenge, but for stepping up to take the spot kick.
The Iron had been firmly on top since the second half and Akinola kept probing for a goal and again came close after seventy minutes, drilling a powerful effort from outside the box just wide of the far post. It was a defensive finale to the match for the Iron who had to withstand a barrage of crosses. Gateshead however were unable to get any real purchase on the handful of attempts they created with Hamann able to gather the crosses with relative ease. Braintree were defending well but at times were unable to get their lines clear or hold onto the ball allowing the Heed to keep attacking. Substitute Adam Campbell, bursting into the box, almost had a free header in injury time, but the ball narrowly evaded the top of his head and Remy Clerima was able to smash the ball clear. There was not enough venom in the Gateshead attack to create an equaliser, and the urgency they showed came too late in the game, as the Iron held them at bay to secure the victory
It was a deserved victory for the Iron, after a lacklustre first half, their endeavour in the second half put them ahead and secured the three points. It was a result that put a smile on the face of Alan Devonshire as the Iron edge ever closer to the targeted fifty point mark. It was a result that Devonshire hopes to build on, especially with the anticipated return of Jordan Cox, Sean Marks and Ryan Peters all to full fitness in the upcoming fixtures.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Alan Massey, Remy Clerima, Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Matt Paine, Dan Sparkes, Simeon Akinola (Ryan Peters, 89 mins), Bernard Mensah (Joe Maybanks, 90+4 mins) Unused Subs: George Pullen, Carl Pentney, Sean Marks. Gateshead FC: Adam Bartlett, Jamie Chandler, James Curtis, John Oster, Carl Finigan (Kevin Sainte-Luce, 72 mins), Rob Ramshaw (Adam Campbell, 72 mins), Craig Baxter, Alex Rodman, Matty Pattison, Valentin Gjokaj, Lynden Gooch (Jon Shaw, 72 mins). Unused Subs: Dillon Morse, Michael Rankine. Attendance: 515. Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Fourth successive defeat for Braintree
A frustrating evening for Iron resulted in a single goal from the visitors taking all three points in a game that Braintree would have felt that they had the upper hand for the vast majority of the game. With Iron dominating possession and goal mouth action, but failing to create clear cut chances, a first half goal from Alex Grant coming from a loose clearance would steal the game from Iron, who will have been disappointed not to have had the ball in the back of the net at least once during the night.
Iron gained two good chances from dead balls early on, the first of which Sean Marks failed to control when he chested a ball played in from Davis into the goalkeepers arms. The second free kick on the left hand side was floated into the box and nodded on by the defending visitors.
Paul Lewis had to resort to a long range effort from around 35yards out for Macclesfield's first attempt, his shot floating innocently over the Iron bar. Sean Marks had further efforts in the air before Matt Paine blasted an effort from outside the box which drifted just wide. Iron were the dominant side in the opening quarter of an hour, looking comfortable at the back but failing to create the clear chance to fire themselves ahead.
After a relatively quiet 10 minutes in terms of chances, Thierry Audel saw yellow for a high challenge on Sean Marks. Akinola's feet proved too quick for even him as we hit the 25 minute mark when he knocked a ball past the final man unknowingly, failing to latch onto the pass to himself which would have seen him through on goal. It was Akinola again who would cause problems for the visitors, picking up a ball with his back to goal. Akinola found space to turn and shoot hard and low, but watched his effort skip past the post and out for a goal kick. As the game grew older, Akinola found the ability to create plenty of space for his pacey runs, which worried the Silkmen's defence as they failed to keep up with both the forwards mind and feet.
Against the run of play, Macclesfield made the most of a corner from 25 yards out on 38minutes to deal a cruel blow against the run of play. A floated ball into a congested area lead to confusion in the Iron box. The hosts could clear only as far as Alex Grant on the edge of the area, who dropped a shoulder and placed the ball cooley into the bottom left hand corner, handing the visitors a goal advantage before the break.
Without many faces familiar with first team football on the bench, Devonshire decided against changing things at half time, and it was only Kenny Davis' shot from way out which presented any form of chance early on. Davis set himself up from around 25yards out, but failed to test Taylor five minutes into the second half.
Braintree began to pile pressure onto the visitors, with some great work between Sparkes and Habergham to set up Marks with a lofted cross, whose looping header fell onto the roof of the net. Sparkes tried his luck from 20yards out with a hard shot that forced Taylor to parry and collect the rebound, which he had plenty of time to do.
Paul Lewis picked up a yellow on the hour mark for a cynical foul, and Brundle fired the resulting free kick toward the top corner with an effort equally match by a solid looking Rhys Taylor in goal.
Though Iron remained on top, they could have been punished further on 70 minutes when they failed to clear their lines. A loose ball bobbled from man to man around the Iron box, eventually poked clear to relieve the danger. Habergham was then called into action, stealing the ball from Holroyd before he could unleash a shot from 6 yards out in a shakey spell for the home side.
Cowen picked up a yellow for bringing down Akinola 25 yards from goal, but Sparkes could not level the scores when his attempt flew over. With seven minutes left of the 90, Brundle floated a ball in which was tipped over by Taylor. The resulting corner was pinged at the keeper, and a scramble in the area saw a loose ball launched clear to keep the visitors a goal to the good.
Iron could not further push the equaliser, and the clock was run down to hand the away side all three points on the night. Against the run of play for most of the game, but with Braintree failing to take their chances, the opportunity for one goal to devastate the Iron was always on the cards.
Alan Devonshire commented after the game on the performance. "I can't fault what they are giving me. It's one of those days at the moment in the last three or four games. If we keep doing what we are doing we will be fine."
"I just said to them in there keep your heads up and we go again on Saturday. We should have Chez back and Barnard back on Saturday so we will have more bodies back."
"The injuries we have had again has crippled us. At the end of the day if there were two games to go and we had to win the last to I would be worried. We'll knuckle down again and go on Saturday."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Clerima, Massey, Paine, Davis, Peters (Maybanks 72), Sparkes, Akinola, Marks. Subs: Pullen, Moore, Pentney. Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Halls, Audel, Pilkington, Lewis, Holroyd, Fairhurst, Moke (Rowe 79), Cowan, Grant. Subs: Branagan, Rowe, Bailey Jones, Turnbull. Referee: Nick Kinseley. Assistants: Christopher Francis and Mark Potkins. Fourth Official: Carl Pearse. Attendance: 445. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Iron score but it gets waived away
Iron suffered a third defeat on their travels in a week at Grimsby Town on Saturday, but it could all have been so different if an early chance that seemed to cross the goal-line had been allowed to stand.
A long week of travelling culminated in a trip to Blundell Park to face Grimsby Town, who are currently play off hopefuls. It was the eighth time the Iron have faced the Mariners since August 2011. In the Irons two previous hard fought away trips they were denied a share of the points by late goals. The last fixture against the Mariners was decided by a solitary second half strike in an otherwise uneventful affair. It was an almost exact replica in this fixture, Grimsby winning with a solitary second half strike, this fixture however was slightly more exciting. The win for Grimsby now makes it three in a row for them against Braintree.
It did not take long for the Iron to fashion their first chance of the game. Sean Marks showed his strength to shrug off Shaun Pearson and latch onto a ball into the box. From a few yards out Marks took a swing at the ball but was unable to connect properly, the ball dribbling across the six yard box. James Mulley was first on hand to the shot, his effort being fumbled by James Mckeown as the ball crossed the goal-line. Grimsby were struggling to clear their lines and Dan Sparkes slide in to attempt to force the ball the few yards it needed to go back over the goal-line. Pearson had other plans and nicked the ball away from the toes of Sparkes, but not as far as Kenny Davis who was lurking on the penalty spot. Davis had time to pick his spot as the Grimsby defence were still in disarray, his shot was too strong and whistled just over the bar. It was the best chance of the half.
James Mulley started the match but had to be replaced early on in the game by Joe Maybanks, a product of the Academy and just seventeen. It was a lengthy run out for the young player and valuable experience of the first team.
After the bright start from the Iron, the Mariners grew into the game, crafting a few chances but nothing of any value and Nick Hamann had not had to make a save in anger throughout the first half, despite the amount of possession the Mariners had.
The second half started with intensity and a goal after forty-seven minutes. Carl Magnay slipped to ground as he attempted to play the ball forward out of defence and it ironically turned out to be the prefect cross for Craig Disley who had made a run behind the Iron defence. The header was from the middle of the box and looped over the head of the stranded Hamann and had stunned the Iron. Grimsby started the second half at pace and continued to probe after opening the scoring but could only fashion one chance of real value, with Jack Mackreth blazing over.
Braintree played their best football after going behind, showing more urgency and committing men going forward. There was however no end product, the net only rippling when Mitch Brundle fired a shot in from the right wing with the ball skimming the roof of the net having already gone wide.
A tough day got tougher with the dismissal of Chez Isaac in the eighty-sixth minute, a second yellow card given for a tackle that Isaac slide into. Alan Devonshire stated after the match that he felt it was a harsh decision as Isaac had clearly won the ball, there were also no protests from the home team. There was nothing malicious in either of the incidents that the referee chose to card Isaac for, something which Devonshire was keen to express. The Iron worked right up to the last whistle and were helped by Grimsby's inability to keep the ball and run down the clock. In added time Sean Marks got clean contact with a header but could not direct it at goal and Akinola had a chance with a half volley, bur he could not wrap his foot around the ball and it sailed harmlessly over.
It was a result that on another day could quite easily have gone another way. As it is, its a third straight away defeat for the Iron against tough opposition. Despite the result, Devonshire was proud of the effort that his players put in, especially as the team was down to the bare bones. He conceded that it had been a long week for the Iron but is looking to put it all behind them with the fixture against Macclesfield coming up.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Alan Massey, Remy Clerima, Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Dan Sparkes, Sean Marks, Simeon Akinola, James Mulley (Joe Maybanks, 18 mins(Ryan Peters, 77 mins))
Unused Subs: George Pullen, Joe Moore, Carl Pentney. Grimsby Town FC: James McKeown, Shaun Pearson, Carl Magnay, Jack Mackreth, Craig Disley, Lenell John-Lewis (Daniel Parslow, 85 mins), Craig Clay (Scott Brown 75 mins), Jon-Paul Pittman, Nathan Arnold (Christian Jolley, 68 mins) Aristote Nsiala, Gregor Robertson. Unused Subs: Ross Hannah, Oliver Palmer. Attendance: 3339. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

Harsh dismissal leaves Iron with too much to do
Braintree Town made the journey to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening and came home beaten by the odd goal in three. Iron looked the livelier of the two sides early on and it was against the run of play when the home side took the lead. On the half hour, a hopeful ball from deep saw Rovers Matt Taylor escape behind the Iron defence. He was brought down inside the 18-yard box by Matt Paine who was then rather harshly dismissed for denying a goal-scoring opportunity, despite being surrounded by other Braintree players. Taylor despatched the resultant spot kick, but Iron continued to take the game to the home side and drew level on 38 minutes. Sim Akinola was set up on the edge of the home 18-yard box and turned his marker before his acrobatic over-head volley saw him crash the ball into the top corner. The second half saw the home side dominate possession, but struggle to break down the Iron defence until six minutes from time. A neat inter-change between substitute Ellis Harrison and Taylor opened up the Braintree defence for Harrison to then slide the ball passed the exposed Nick Hamann. Next up for Iron is a trip to play-off hopefuls Grimsby Town this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.

Late goal hard on Braintree
Braintree made the journey up the A1 to visit FC Halifax Town and came home beaten by a solitary goal. On a difficult playing surface, the Braintree players certainly put in a shift and were a match for their play-off chasing hosts for the duration. Goal-less at the break, Iron had a couple of chances to take the lead after the break, only to concede in the ninetieth minute when Jamie Jackson headed home Jack Muldoon's cross from the right. It was a cruel outcome for Iron, who had caused the home side problems from the off. Kenny Davis saw his shot zip just wide of the target after 15 minutes and both Remi Clerima and Chez Isaac also saw their efforts sail over before the break. After the interval Sean Marks saw his effort well saved by home keeper Glennon on 64 minutes as Iron pushed forward and Glennon did well again four minutes later to deny Sim Akinola. As the half continued Davis, Mitch Brundle and Akinola all had half chances before the last minute drama. Next up for Iron is a trip to championship-chasing Bristol Rovers this coming Tuesday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Two new dates
PAN Disability players aged 7-16, regardless of ability or experience, can enjoy football in a non-competitive environment at free Youth Soccability Sessions starting on Saturdays from 21st February at Notley Sports Centre in Braintree.
Footballers with differing impairments can play together at sessions from 11:00am-12:00pm being run by Disability4Sport, in partnership with Braintree Town FC and Fusion Lifestyle. FA-qualified coaches will be present to set-up the fun format and, after an initial six-week spell, they'll continue in the future should there be sufficient interest.
The ultimate aim is to establish Under 16s and Under 12s teams with Braintree Town YFC who will take part in the Essex County FA's monthly Soccability Festivals, where sides comprised of footballers with differing impairments playing together. As the sessions are taking place in a sports hall, non-marking footwear is required.
To confirm your attendance, contact Abigail Saxon via (01206) 619631 or including your name, age, parent/guardian emergency contact and relevant additional information. To find out more about Soccability in Essex, contact your local Football Development Officer, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for 'EssexFootball' on Facebook.

Ryan Peters breaks forward during last season's win at Luton

Popular right back hungry for more
Our website reporter Ryan Delaney caught up with fans favourite Ryan Peters on Saturday to talk about hitting 200 games for the Club ...

Q- Reaching two hundred appearances for Braintree Town is quite an achievement. When you first signed for the Iron did you think you would reach such a milestone?
A- No not at all. You try to be at a club as long as you possibly can, but after my first season here under Robbie Garvey there was a bit of turmoil towards the end, he left and I didn't know where I stood. So I embarked on trying to get my career at Staines, which didn't work and I ended up back here, thank you very much to the directors for doing that, because ever since then we have gone from strength to strength up the league. So no I did not think that, but now I am here, there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Q- So another two hundred appearances maybe?
A- I would like to do that if I can, yeah!

Q- How much has Braintree Town changed since you made your debut?
A- In terms of the facilities maybe not, its been the same club for a while, but in terms of personnel, the gaffer has come in and has straight away changed things with the help of the directors and the board. Players, its a different squad today, miles much, much better than what we had going back to the start of three or four seasons now when we were in the Conference South. If you have a bad game, there could be a chance you will never get back in the side again. I mean he (Alan Devonshire) sent two boys out on loan who are brilliant. Charlie Strutton is prolific in this league and for him to be out loan at this moment in time is because of the quality that we have got here, which shows how far we have come as a club and that is testament to the gaffer.

Q- So you will have to keep working hard to keep getting appearances?
A- Yea, but if you take a look at training, we train two times a week and it is quite intense and the gaffer wants it that way. If you are shirking your responsibilities in training there is no way he will play you on Saturday.

Q- Will you be doing anything in particular to celebrate the milestone at all?
A- No, not as yet. I reached two hundred appearances with Kenny (Davis), that was an achievement in itself, Kenny has been a great servant to the club and captain. And to be assistant captain, I am just following in his footsteps. Hopefully at the end of the season we will both be doing something together, not too sure what yet but we will have to wait and see.

Q- Of all your appearances, what would you say was your best game in an Iron shirt?
A- Probably the Barnet game this season. They came over here top of the league, flying, we knew we had to put in a performance, they have two great wingers, the gaffer told me straight away you have to get as tight as you can, and that is what I did, I was able to make myself the winger that he was chasing rather than me chasing him. That was probably my best game.

Q- And what would you say was the best team performance or result that you were involved with?
A- Team performance was against Cambridge, either last season or the one before, it was at home, we won 3-2, we were 3-0 up with ten minutes to go and went on to win it 3-2. It was when the likes of Nicky Symons and a few others were still here, it was a massive team performance.

Q- Is there a ground or fixture that you most look forward to?
A- If we are looking at any team then I would love to go to Old Trafford, but that would only come via the FA Cup. Other than that playing against Luton, with eight thousand fans, always buzzing, looking at the game we played at their ground on T.V. The fans were brilliant the atmosphere was brilliant, that is what we want to play in front of every week. Unfortunately they have gone up now so we don't get to play them as much any more. But look there is more to look forward to, we have Bristol Rovers next week, I am sure that will be a stadium to visit.

Q- Are there any players you have a rivalry with at all?
A- This season definitely. When we played Forest Green here, Elliot Frear, there are not many wingers that get the better of me but he gave me a bad time. I intend to put that right when we play them again. I played him a couple of seasons ago when he was at Salisbury, he didn't do what he did to me last time, so I am aiming to put that right when I play him again.

Q- And finally, what are your thoughts on the season so far, and how do you think it will finish for Braintree?
A- Its been a weird, indifferent season, we have got further than we have for a while in the FA Trophy, which I suppose has hampered our climbing up the league. But now we are out of the FA Trophy, the sky's the limit and if we look at where we could escalate from, seasons before we have been lower than where we are now and still gone on to finish in ninth and sixth as well so there is nothing to stop us doing exactly the same again. If we win, and I know it's a massive ask, if we can win ten out of our last sixteen games, there is nothing to stop us from making the play offs. But first and foremost fifty points and stay safe and go from there, we know that every season.

Thanks to both Ryans - here's to the next 200!

Two new dates
A new date for our home Vanarama Conference game with Macclesfield Town has been agreed. The Silkmen will now visit the Miles Smith Stadium on Tuesday, 3rd March with kick-off at 7.45pm. Our Vanarama Conference match at home to AFC Telford United has now been put back from the previous Saturday to Tuesday, 24th March, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Braintree defeat Alfreton again
Iron recorded a two-goal win double over Alfreton Town at the Miles Smith Stadium on Saturday. The last time the two teams met, the Iron came out victorious with a 2-0 score line with Kenny Davis and Dan Sparkes finding the net. This time however it was Sean Marks and Chez Isaac who came up with the goods. Braintree went into the match having not played in ten days due to Torquay's commitments in the FA Trophy. Alfreton on the other hand had recently picked up a draw against Forest Green after twice coming from behind, as well as a 4-2 victory over Southport. There was no comeback for the Reds this time as the match finished as a 2-1 victory for the Iron.
The Iron had a the first opportunity to open the scoring after four minutes. Simeon Akinola had a shot blocked by Jason Mooney who was quick off his line, the rebound fell to the feet of Jordan Cox outside of the box. Again Mooney was on hand to make a block, there were suspicions from the Iron players that he made the save outside of the box, but nothing was given.
Cox had to be replaced with Sean Marks after less than twenty minutes due to a heavy fall when competing for a header. Cox had been lively in the time that he had been on the pitch and had been holding the ball up well. After the game Alan Devonshire stated it was a change had had not wanted to have to make as Marks had not been able to train in the last ten days. Devonshire was however delighted with the impact that Marks had on the game.
Akinola had perhaps his best chance of the game towards the end of the half when he connected with a cross from Isaac on the edge of the six yard box. The shot was however marginally wide of the mark as Akinola did not get clean contact with the ball.
In the final minutes of the half, after being shepherded out of play by Matt Paine, Karl Hawley forced his fist into the face of Paine, it was clearly an attempted punch. The referee saw the event and controversially decided that it did not warrant at a yellow card let allow a dismissal, a decision that angered Alan Devonshire on the touchline. Devonshire remarked after the match that he felt the referee had clearly made the wrong decision.
The second period started brightly, with both teams showing more urgency and attacking intent, particularly sending in crosses. The Iron however looked the most dangerous when going forward, as well as assured in defence. The first sniff of goal in the second half was for the Iron. It was from a dangerous cross into the box by Sparkes that caused a scramble. Alfreton managed to clear but Isaac whipped in another cross that was almost turned behind for an own goal but Mooney was able to get down low and hold onto the ball. Nick Hamann had to make his first save of the afternoon shortly after when Karl Hawley connected with a cross, flicking it on towards goal, Hamann however was able to comfortably hold onto the ball.
Mitch Brundle had a sight at goal and unleashed a powerful low drive that stung the fingertips of Mooney as he sent it out for a corner. Sparkes sent in a dangerous cross that Alfreton were unable to clear from danger and Isaac also took a shot from range which was deflected out for another corner. Sparkes again curled in a great cross that was met at the back post by Marks. Marks header was bulleted across the goal and over the reach of Mooney. After the game Marks said the cross from Sparkes really put the chance on a plate for him. The goal came in the sixty-second minute.
The game had really come to life for Braintree and they were immediately in search of a second. After yet another Sparkes cross the ball was half cleared to the edge of the Alfreton box where the unmarked Isaac had a great chance to score, his shot was however went agonisingly over the bar. Isaac did not take long though to put himself on the score sheet. Akinola showed great skill to get past two defenders before crossing from the edge of the box. The ball ricocheted around the area before finding Isaac at the far post, almost exactly where Marks had scored from. Isaac latched onto the ball and slotted a calm finish past Mooney into the far corner. The two goal lead was well deserved for Braintree who were in the ascendancy.
The Iron had a chance to extend their lead when Sparkes broke into the Alfreton box, his shot fizzing over the bar. Sparkes then linked up neatly with Akinola on the left wing, both working their way into the box, but Akinola was unable to get his shot away. Sparkes was again amongst the action late on in the game, whipping another teasing cross into the path of Marks. It was another good header from Marks, who aimed it low to the keeper, this time however Mooney was able to theatrically save with his foot.
Alfreton Town had not been quiet the whole game, Braintree had however been able to effectively deal with everything that had been thrown at them. When Alfreton scored, it was in the third minute of four additional minutes. Substitute Andy Thanoj had a blistering long range effort palmed away by Hamann. The shot was too much for Hamann to handle and the rebound feel kindly for fellow substitute Anthony Howell to nod home. It was a tense final minute for the Iron, but Howells goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
It was a strong performance from the Iron, they showed no rustiness from not having played last week. Alan Devonshire said in his post match interview that he felt the team thoroughly deserved the win and could have scored more on another day. Sean Marks had similar comments to make and also stated that he and the team are confident heading into the next fixture at Halifax.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, Matt Paine, Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Dan Sparkes (Joe Maybanks 89 mins), Jordan Cox (Sean Marks, 18 mins), Simeon Akinola. Unused Subs: Ryan Peters, Sean Marks, Joe Maybanks, Carl Pentney, James Mulley. Alfreton Town FC: Jason Mooney, Jordan Keane, Luke Graham, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Niall Heaton, Bradley Wood, Daniel Bradley (Andy Thanoj, 82 mins), Tom Shaw (Joe Leesley, 65 mins), John Johnston (Anthony Howell, 62 mins), Karl Hawley, Lee Stevensen. Unused Subs: Andi Thanoj, Joe Ironside, Thomas Flynn. Attendance: 468. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

Meal for two and best seats in the house!
Our congratulations go to Daniel Turner on winning the Vanentines Day draw with us. Daniel and his guest will enjoy a meal with us in the Board Room prior to the game, refreshments at half time and at full time, together with two seats in our director's box.

Bernard Mensah back for second loan
Alan Devonshire has re-signed 20-year old Watford forward Bernard Mensah on loan for the remainder of the season. Promoted in 2011 following a two-year scholarship with Watford, Mensah signed a professional contract. In January 2013, Mensah signed an extension to his contract, committing to Watford until 2016. He scored 14 goals in 19 appearances for the under-18 side during the 2012-13 season before becoming a full professional at the end of the campaign. On 23 November 2013, Mensah made his Watford debut as a 78th minute substitute for Javier Acuna against Bolton Wanderers. This will be the second time that Bernard has been at the Miles Smith Stadium on loan. In January 2014, Mensah joined Braintree Town on a one-month loan. Due to bad weather, which limited his playing time, the loan was extended until the end of the season, playing nine games and scoring twice. Bernard is eligible to play for Ghana or England but has yet to represent either country at any level. In 2011, he trained with the Ghana squad ahead of their friendly against Nigeria at Vicarage Road. However, he was not called up by Ghana and was only asked to join the squad for training due to their depleted squad.

Iron to visit Lancashire in April
Braintree Town's Vanarama Conference fixture at Southport, postponed in December and January, has now been re-arranged. The new date for the game at Haig Avenue is Tuesday, 14th April, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Trips to Torquay and Bristol Rovers confirmed
Two Vanarama Conference fixtures have now been confirmed. Braintree Town have agreed a new date for their postponed trip to Torquay United. Originally scheduled for this coming Saturday, the Vanarama Conference fixture will now take place on Tuesday, 17th March, with kick-off at 7.45pm. As a result of Braintree Town's exit from the FA Trophy, the Vanarama Conference trip to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, 24th February is now confirmed.

Ebbsfleet through to the Quarter-Finals
Braintree Town were knocked out of this season's FA Trophy competition, going down 2-0 at Ebbsfleet United last Tuesday evening. Iron were disrupted by a nasty injury to Dan Sparkes that saw him require urgent paramedic treatment to re-attach a partially severed earlobe and conceded on 37 minutes. Keeper Nick Hamann failed to hold on to a stinging Theo Lewis drive and could only push the ball to the grateful Danny Kedwell who tucked the ball home from close range. Braintree took the game to the Kent side after the break. Both Jordan Cox and Sim Akinola created good chances, but Iron were caught on the counter late on when pushing players forward. With five minutes left Alan Massey was dispossessed on the edge of his own box by Adam Cunnington who then slotted his low strike passed the exposed Hamman. As a result of the defeat, Braintree Town have no fixture this coming Saturday 7th February. Next up for Iron is the visit of Alfreton Town a week on Saturday, 14th February, with kick-off at 3pm.

Guidance from Ebbsfleet
For Tuesday evening's FA Trophy Third Round Replay at Ebbsfleet United, we have been advised by the Kent club that there is no parking for supporters in the club car park. Parking is available at Ebbsfleet International Car Park C and opens at 6-15 for football fans, where there is a charge of 3 but it is a secure car park and easier when leaving the game. We are advised that it is only a short walk to the ground. The game is not segregated so admission can be via the main entrance. Supporters are further advised to be wary of street parking especially under the railway arch near the ground.

Miles Smith Stadium pitch frozen
This afternoon's Vanarama Conference fixture against Macclesfield Town has been postponed due to a frozen pitch. The match referee inspected the pitch at just before 8am this morning and where much of the snow had thawed yesterday, the resulting standing water, unable to drain through the frozen drainage system, had turned to sheet ice. With more snow forecast today, the decision was taken to postponed the game early to save Macclesfield from travelling. More news on a new fixture date when we have it.

Referee to assess pitch after overnight weather
Tomorrow (Saturday's) afternoon's Vanarama Conference fixture at home to Macclesfield Town remains in doubt after snowfall on the Miles Smith Stadium pitch during Thursday evening. Most of the snow melted during the afternoon, but that has left the pitch very wet. With a frost forecast for this (Friday) evening and the Cheshire club planning to leave early on Saturday morning, we have arranged a pitch inspection for 8am. More news when we have it.

Snow and slow thaw causing flooding
Tomorrow (Saturday's) afternoon's Vanarama Conference fixture at home to Macclesfield Town is in doubt after snowfall on the Miles Smith Stadium pitch during Thursday evening. With the temperature today hovering just above freezing, the pitch is starting to thaw, but that is leading to flooding as the drainage below the surface remains frozen. With a frost forecast for this (Friday) evening and the Cheshire club planning to leave early on Saturday morning, Secretary Tom Woodley is currently contacting local referees to determine when we can arrange a pitch inspection. More news when we have it.

Trophy replay and Torquay trip
Following Tuesday evening's 1-1 draw with Ebbsfleet United, the FA Trophy Third Round replay will now take place at Ebbsfleet United's Stonebridge Road ground this coming Tuesday, 3rd February, with kick-off at 7.45pm. This replay will see the tie played through to its conclusion and, if necessary, will include extra time and penalties. The winners of this match have been drawn away to Vanarama North North Ferriby United on Saturday 7th February, with kick-off at 3pm. As a result of Torquay United's progress in this season's FA Trophy competition, our Vanarama Conference trip to Torquay United, scheduled for a week on Saturday, 7th February has been postponed - more news on a new date when we have it.

Braintree recover from conceding early
The Iron took on Ebbsfleet United under the Cressing Road floodlights for a place in the FA Trophy Quarter Finals, where the winner would face North Ferriby United. The match had originally been scheduled three days earlier, but had been postponed due the condition of the pitch. After ninety minutes it finished all square at 1-1 with the tie to be decided at Stonebridge Road in a weeks time.
It was a nightmare start for Braintree as Ebbsfleet took the lead very early in the game, after four minutes, when Adam Cunnington converted a header at the near post following a corner. It was a fairly simple goal for Ebbsfleet, and Alan Devonshire speaking at full time felt Braintree could defended the set piece better. Braintree responded well to going behind, getting themselves back in the tie and pumping balls forward looking for Jordan Cox, but it was not long before Ebbsfleet were back on the offensive. It took a smart save from Nick Hamann to prevent the Fleet from doubling their lead when Theo Lewis connected well with a cross eight yards from goal.
It was end to end football and Alan Devonshire felt it resembled more a derby match than anything, plenty of determination from both sides to get forward, but little end product. The Iron had chances from Simeon Akinola and Chez Isaac and the Fleet had a glorious chance when Matt Johnson beat Hamann to a cross and managed to take the ball around him, the touch was too heavy though and the ball went out of play.
Towards the end of the half the Iron were absorbing pressure from Ebbsfleet who were pushing forward. This allowed the Iron to counter with Dan Sparkes bursting down the left wing whipping in a dangerous cross. Kelvin Langmead took a swipe at the cross but almost sliced the ball past his keeper and into his own net with the ball narrowly glancing wide for a corner. From the resulting corner Braintree won a penalty as an Ebbsfleet defender was penalised for pushing in the box. The Iron levelled the tie on forty-five minutes when Kenny Davis, who was making his two hundredth appearance for the club, drilled home from the penalty spot, sending the keeper the wrong way and the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. The Ebbsfleet manager, Jamie Day, was aggrieved at the decision to award a penalty and was subsequently sent to the stands for the second half for exchanging words with the officials.
At half-time the teams went in level in a closely matched contest, with both teams having chances to take the lead. The Iron arguably had the lions share of possession whereas the Fleet spurned a couple of very good opportunities.
The second half started brightly for Braintree as they were in the ascendancy, doing plenty of pushing but not creating any real chances. Ebbsfleet were not done though, and the game opened up even more in the second half with both teams taking it in turns to apply the pressure.
Ebbsfleet came close to taking the lead when Theo Lewis found Kedwell with too much space in the Iron box. Kedwell powered an effort at goal which blazed harmlessly over the bar. Another chance for the Fleet as Kedwell turned provider crossing into Kenny Clark who headed onto the bar. The rebound resulted in a scramble and eventually a scrappy clearance, but the Iron managed to keep the ball from finding the net.
Ebbsfleet had a few more chances, particularly from crosses as they looked dangerous in the air, but they were unable to create anything to really test Hamann. Braintree on the other hand looked dangerous on the counter, especially when Dan Walker came on to the right wing, but the Iron were also unable to play a killer ball into Sean Marks.
The game finished as a draw, a result that Alan Devonshire felt was a fair reflection of the game. Devonshire also had praise for his squad for giving it the best they could, especially as a few players, Cox, Marks and Ryan Peters were not fully fit to play. He also went on to say that the pitch might have made it harder for the Iron as they were unable to play the way they had wanted to. The draw means that the tie will be decided in Ebbsfleet, which will be a tough encounter for the Iron, but they are not out of the Trophy yet.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, Dan Sparkes (Dan Walker 70 mins), Matt Paine, Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Jordan Cox (Sean Marks, 62 mins), Simeon Akinola. Unused Subs: Dan Walker, Carl Pentney, Mitch Brundle, Sean Marks, Joe Maybanks. Ebbsfleet United: Preston Edwards, Matt Fish, Joe Howe (Brendan Kiernan, 26 mins), Kelvin Langmead, Anthony Acheampong, Kenny Clark, Matt Johnson, Stuart Lewis, Danny Kedwell, Adam Cunnington, Theo Lewis. Unused Subs: Brendan Kiernan, Brandon Hall, Dean Pooley, Sean Shields, Jamie Day. Attendance: 404. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

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.

Pitch frozen
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 the younger brother of Manchester United and England striker Wayne 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.

Both sides evenly matched in eight-goal thriller
Braintree were looking to overcome Weymouth for a place in the FA Cup first round, which would see them host League One side Chesterfield. Having drawn at Weymouth, with neither team scoring, the tie exploded into life at Cressing Road, with the tie finishing 3-3 and Braintree going on to win 5-3 after extra time. Simeon Akinola scored his first and second goal for the club in the match and Dan Walker also got his first two goals of the season.
In a fairly even first half it was Braintree who narrowly edged the contest, creating a number of chances, especially with Akinola and Walker, and also earning plenty of corners. Weymouth did come close to opening the scoring after 25 minutes, when Adam Kelly hit the post with a curling shot from the edge of the area after a swift counter attack, the rebound being blazed over the bar by Jamie West. It was however Jordan Cox who started the scoring after 42 minutes. A ball over the Terras defence was chased by both Weymouth keeper Jason Matthews and Cox. Matthews was first to the ball, but his clearance was straight at Cox and the ball ricocheted kindly, leaving Cox clear to slide the ball into an empty net close to the byline.
Braintree, and in particular Akinola, started the second half brightly, with Akinola scoring his first goal for the club with a solo effort after 51 minutes. Akinola robbed West and then skipped past a couple of Weymouth challenges, working himself into a shooting position on the edge of the box, his low powerful drive beating Matthews at his near post. The Iron had dominated the opening exchanges, but Weymouth came back into the game soon after when a clearance from the Iron only went as far as Adam Kelly who placed an excellent curling shot from outside the box into the top far corner of the net that had Nick Hamann rooted to the spot.
Walker looked to have scored the goal that secured the Irons place in the first round proper after 72 minutes. Akinola picked the ball up just inside the Weymouth half and played a delightful cross field ball wide to Walker in plenty of space on the right wing. Walker had the option to cross but instead cut inside and skinned passed his marker to plant a low drive into the opposite corner from a wide angle.
The Terras however were not ready to give up the tie and pegged Braintree back almost immediately with a second goal for Kelly. Yetton forced the ball into the Braintree box after finding space on the right wing and his cross was turned in by Kelly after he slide in to make contact with the ball. The late drama was far from over as the Terras sensed they could force the game in to extra time and Braintree were rattled. After 75 minutes Weymouth captain Stewart Yetton smashed in the equaliser after a scramble in the six yard box following some direct running from Kelly. Weymouth had turned the tie on its head but the Iron went into the last few minutes of the match and injury time looking for a winner, with Chez Isaac coming close to heading Braintree back in front with the last touch of normal time.
Despite making a spirited comeback, Weymouth were on the back foot for most of extra time, as Weymouth looked as though they were tiring, but Braintree looked galvanised. Whatever was said after end of normal time by Alan Devonshire clearly worked. After 3 minutes of extra time Braintree re-took the lead when a teasing cross from Sam Habergham on the left wing was nodded in by Akinola on the edge of the six yard box. Akinola had a few more attempts through extra time but could not quite round off his evening with a hat trick.
The Irons fifth came in the 107th minute when Weymouth broke down a Braintree attack and looked to play the ball out from the back, but a mislaid pass was intercepted by Walker in the Terras half, he then bore down on goal unchallenged and unleashed a low shot on the edge of the box that nestled in the bottom left corner.
Braintree had for the third time in the game built a two goal cushion that Weymouth could no longer overcome as they had finally exhausted themselves. After the fifth goal Braintree created a number of other chances, especially for Charlie Strutton, and the last half of extra time was comfortable for Braintree, but there was to be no sixth goal. Braintree can now look forward to an encounter with Chesterfield at Cressing Road a week on Saturday.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaacs, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Dan Walker, Ryan Peters, Jordan Cox (Dan Sparkes 109 mins), Simeon Akinola (Charlie Strutton, 111 mins), James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Ryan Case, Kenny Davis, Joe Maybanks, Omar Sowunmi. Weymouth FC: Jason Matthews, Jamie West (Jake Wannell, 64 mins), Jordan Copp, Chris McPhee, Jamie Laird, Calvin Brooks, Adam Kelly, George Rigg, Stuart Yetton, Steve Colwell, Chris Sheppard. Unused Subs: Luke Winsper, Sam Poole, Joe Prodomo. Attendance: 480. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

League One side for the replay winners
In the FA Cup First Round draw, made at the National Football Centre at St George's Park in Burton, the winners of Tuesday evening's Fourth Qualifying Round replay between Braintree Town and Weymouth were drawn at home to Chesterfield, currently tenth in Sky Bet League One. The tie will take place across the weekend of 7-10 November.

Even match ends goal-less
It was a repeat of last year's FA Cup draw for the Iron, as they made the long trip to Dorset to face Southern Leaguers Weymouth at the Bob Lucas Stadium. But it was not the same result as last season, with a replay at Cressing Road this Tuesday evening now needed to decide which team will progress into the next round. Weymouth are currently fourth in the Southern Premier, two divisions below Braintree, yet for much of the first half were a match for the Iron. In the second half it was a different story as Braintree had large spells of dominance but were unable to capitalise on the chances they created.
Weymouth had a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring with the first chance of the game after two minutes. The chance came after Braintree conceded a free kick on the right wing. The cross went high and evaded all the heads in the box, but found Steve Colwell unmarked on the edge of the six yard box. Colwell had enough time to take a touch and to then get his shot away, which fortunately went wide of the target.
Braintree's best chance of the half came to Dan Walker after twenty-three minutes. Iron hit the Terras on the break and, with the home defence stretched, Walker ran down the left wing unchecked into the Weymouth box before placing his shot under the arm of onrushing Jason Matthews. The keeper was beaten but the shot went wide of the upright with Jordan Cox unable to get a toe to the ball to divert it.
The Terras had another great chance in the first half, which came after thirty-five minutes. After a Braintree attack with Akinola petered out, Weymouth countered down the right with Stuart Yetton, who drilled a shot on the right edge of the box. His shot went under a sliding Braintree block and through the legs of Colwell and ended up going just wide.
At the start of the second half Braintree showed more urgency with three great chances coming in quick succession after fifty minutes. The first chance fell to Simeon Akinola in a one-on-one with Matthews. Matthews parried Akinola's effort and it was hastily cleared by the Weymouth defence before Cox or James Mulley could get to the rebound. Moments later Mulley whipped in a great ball in from the right wing across the six yard box and Dan Walker muscled his way in front of his defender to connect with the ball. His shot went across goal and went narrowly wide of the post. Just a minute later it was then Akinola again with a one-on-one chance after a clever little ball over the top of the Weymouth defence. This time his shot beat Matthews, but also went just inches wide of the post.
It was after 87 minutes that Jordan Cox had arguably the best chance to seal what could have been a late winner. Mulley won possession in the Weymouth half and sent a teasing cross straight onto the head of Cox, just inside the six yard box and unmarked. Cox headed the ball back across goal with enough power but not enough accuracy as it went agonisingly wide of the upright. It was the last real chance for either team to decide the tie on the day.
Despite Weymouth having a few very clear cut chances, Nick Hamann was only called into action on a few occasions and was not seriously tested. It was in part due to Weymouth not hitting the target, but Braintree restricted Weymouth in the second half and had they taken their clear chances themselves, could have won the game.
Weymouth FC: Jason Matthews, Ashley Wells, Jordan Copp, Chris McPhee, Jamie Laird, Calvin Brooks, Adam Kelly (Sam Poole, 64 mins), George Rigg, Stuart Yetton, Steve Colwell (Luke Winsper 73 mins), Chris Shephard. Unused Subs: Tim Sills, Ed Palmer, Jake Wannell, Jamie West, Joe Prodomo. Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaacs, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Dan Walker (Charlie Strutton, 83 mins), Ryan Peters, Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Ryan Case, Dan Sparkes, Joe Moore, Joe Maybanks, Omar Sowunmi. Attendance: 989. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

Pre-matrch injury and dismissal don't help
It seemed that Iron would have no luck all evening against top of the league Barnet at the Hive, with an injury prior to kick off, a sending off 26 minutes in and three goals conceded forming a night to forget in the sole Conference Premier game on Tuesday evening.
A last minute injury to skipper Kenny Davis meant that Alan Devonshire was forced into a late change, handing Jordan Cox another start and providing Sean Marks with the responsibility of captain. Devonshire had just three substitutes on the bench following the injury, one being Carl Pentney, having taken just four. With the forced alteration, Devonshire made four changes to the side named on Saturday with a new look Iron taking to the field.
James Mulley had the ball in the back of the net on 14minutes in front of a vocal Iron following, but was denied opening the scoring with the whistle already blown for a foul. Down the other end, some great defending by Ryan Peters denied Akinde from pulling the trigger at the final moment, toeing the ball away for a corner. Not to be outdone, Alan Massey threw himself in front of a Weston shot, pulling off a great block inside the first 20minutes.
A good opening quarter of the game for Iron was turned on its head within two minutes when Iron went both a goal and a man down. First Luisma Villa drilled home the opener on 26 minutes, tucking the ball beyond the reach of the outstretched Hamann largely against the run of play. From the kick off, Sean Marks made Braintree's task of overcoming the single goal deficit even harder when he was sent off for an elbow on Bondz N'Gala. The home side surrounded referee Dean Treleaven, who brandished the red after consolting his assistant on the challenge.
With Braintree down to 10 and without their skipper at the last moment, it wasn't long before a second goal was added, again by Villa, benefitting from Iron's failings to clear a corner in from their right hand side. Villa struck low once more, this time across goal and into Hamanns left to extend the lead, sending Iron 2-0 down going into half time.
Mitch Brundle was called into action early into the second half, sliding in to clear off the line as Barnet looked to finish the game as early as possible from kick off. It took until the 57th minute to score the third, with substitute Luke Gambin finishing some nice build up play for the home side. Gambin was there to side foot the ball past Hamann, having been subbed on at half time for Lee Cook.
The Iron appeals for a penalty were turned down on 65 minutes when Jordan Cox went down in the area under a challenge from Graham Stack. Chez Isaac floated in a cross from the left which committed the goalkeeper inside the six yard box, and with Cox on the floor, the referee was turned to by the Iron faithful desperate to see their side get back into the game, but given nothing by the man in black.
With Barnet coasting for the final 25 minutes, little was created in terms of opportunities for either side, the extra man for two thirds of the game proving too much to overcome for an injury plagued Iron side.
Barnet: Stack, Yiadom, Johnson, N'Gala, Stephens, Weston, Akinde, Cook (Gambin), Togwell, Villa, Nurse (Mekki). Subs: Saville, Vilhete, Hoskins. Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Isaac, Massey, Walker, Marks, Sparkes (Case), Smith, Peters, Mulley, Cox (Akinola). Subs: Pentney, Cox. Referee: Dean Treleaven. Assistants: Craig Green and Gary Parson. Fourth official: Lee Marshallsay. Attendance: 1074. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Iron lose by only goal at Altrincham
A scrappy affair at the J. Davidson stadium saw Altrincham win by a single goal in a performance that Iron will be keen to put behind them in the North West. Ipswich Town loanee Omar Sowunmi made his debut in a Braintree Town shirt after signing a month long deal yesterday, but Devonshire's problems looked to be at the other end of the pitch as Iron created little against a side that has shipped goals in the past few games in this division. Devonshire said after the match that "the sharpness doesn't look right further up the pitch."
A slow start to the game in Greater Manchester saw little more than a sliced Kenny Davis effort in the opening stages. However, Iron began to build some momentum as they got into the groove, with a nice passage of play led by Mitch Brindle to set up James Mulley. Though Mulley could gain nothing more than a corner with this chance, the winger was to hit to bar minutes later when he picked up the ball on the left hand side, and wrapped his right foot around the ball from distance.
Iron loanee Omar Sowunmi used his towering height to his advantage whilst up for a corner at the back post, but his headed effort dropped the wrong side of the post for an early Braintree lead. At the other end, the first real time that the hosts have come forward lead to a good chance for Simon Richamn. A run of good passes before a low driven cross from the Altrincham left, found Richman in the middle whose shot was denied by Hamann's leg, and the rebound put wide.
Richmans next move was far more effective, as the again cut in to receive the ball from the left hand side. Again his shot was blocked by Hamann, but this time Nicky Clee was there to pick up the rebound deep into the Braintree box, punishing Iron by finding the net just inside the half hour mark.
Iron had chances to reply, but failed to make possession count with little more than half chances in the first 45 minutes. Alan Devonshire was left with some work to do at half time, trailing 1-0 at the whistle.
It was the hosts that came out the quickest, with Damian Reeves through on goal in the opening five minutes of the second half, firing over from close range. Hamann did well to claw out a header down to his left on the hour mark, moments before Devonshire made a double substitution, bringing on Sean Marks and Dan Sparkes for Dan Walker and Chez Isaac.
The referee brandished four yellows in as many minutes, beginning with Reeves and Sowunmi, who both took a turn at pushing one another and could have seen red in an isolated incident. Sam Habergham earned his warning moments later for a late tackle, and Mitch Brundle also found the book for a high foot.
With both sides creating little, Davis looked most likely to equalise in the second half. Davis received the ball just outside the Altrincham box, brought the ball across his body with his right, and struck the underside of the woodwork with the resulting shot. Bouncing the wrong way for the Iron faithful, Sean Marks tried desperately to latch onto the rebound, which saw some scrappy moments in front of goal. Sam Habergham finally had the chance of the resulting follow up, but fired way over the bar with little more than five minutes left on the clock.
Four minutes of added time petered away as Iron struggled to create again, perhaps the story of their afternoon, going home empty handed to a single Altrincham goal.
Alan Devonshire reflected on the performance stating that "In the first 20-25minutes we bossed the game seeing probably too much of the ball. We were camped in their half really, then we got done with a sucker punch poor poor goal."
"I felt we deserved something out of the game but we haven't and we have to move on. We'll role our sleeves up for Tuesday."
"I'll look at what happens on Tuesday. He (Omar Sownumi) was available and Remy's out for a couple of weeks. We're a small side, but with getting him in, all of a sudden we look a big side. He done ok, he's helping us through this period and we'll see from there what goes on."
"We're a bit worried at the moment because we haven't created as much as we did earlier on the season. It's the old cliche, we'll role our sleeves up and get on with it."
Atrincham: Coburn, Densmore, Moult, Havern, Leather, Lawrie, Richman, Reeves, Clee. Marshall, Cavanagh. Subs: Gillespie, Perry, Wilkinson, Paron, Williams. Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac (Sparkes), Massey, Walker Marks), Davis, Cox, Peters, Mulley, Sowunmi. Unused Subs: Smith, Case, Pentney. Referee: Ben Toner. Assistants: Sean Richardson and Matthew Pope. Fourth Official: Barry Lamb. Attendance: 894. Match report by Chris Pargin.

6'5 defender joins from Ipswich Town
Braintree Town manager Alan Devonshire has strengthened his squad ahead on Saturday's Vanarama Conference trip to Altrincham by taking 19-year old centre-half Omar Sowunmi on loan from Championship neighbours Ipswich Town, initially until mid-November. The 6'5 defender signed a season-long contract at Portman Road in May this year and Devs has confirmed that he will be included in the squad for the trip North tomorrow.

Iron set for first visit to Altrincham
Up next for Iron is a trip to Moss Lane to take on Altrincham. The Greater Manchester side will be looking to pull themselves away from the bottom, with Braintree looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at home to Southport last weekend.
Conference newcomers Altrincham finished last season in 3rd position in the Conference North, and have had a tough test so far which sees them sit in 21st position currently. The Robins have been struggling for goals after failing to hit the back of the net in their past two games. Conceding 14 goals in their past six would suggest that the Iron have a great opportunity to get the goals needed to end a run of five winless games.
The club's top scorer Damian Reeves will be looking to add to his already impressive goal-scoring tally of seven, but the fans can be expecting a physical game with three of Altrincham's players being sent off this season. Perhaps not a statistic that Iron manager Alan Devonshire will be pleased to hear having seen his squad already plagued by injuries early this season.
Match Preview by Brandon Westbrook

Duplicate of last season in the fourth qualifying round
Braintree Town have been drawn away to Southern League Premier Division side Weymouth in the Fourth and final Qualifying Round of this season's FA Cup competition. This is the second successive season that the two sides have been drawn together, having been paired at the same stage last season. The Terras have enjoyed a good start to the season - they sit in the Southern League Premier Division play-off places with eight wins and two draws from their twelve league games to date. The match is scheduled for a week on Saturday, 25th October, with kick-off at 3pm.

as slide into bottom half of the table continues
IF A team doesn't take it chances and score goals then it simply won't win matches which in reality is now a clear wake-up call for Iron players after this disappointing defeat at Cressing Road on Saturday.
They had more than enough goal scoring chances to have had the game and points wrapped up by the interval but some glaring misses proved fatal before just past the hour when the visitors scored, against the run of play, after which it was clear they would run out winners as the Iron capitulated.
Unfortunately the main culprit for missing gilt-edged chances was young striker Jordan Cox who had a game he will probably want to forget.
On 15 minutes his striking partner Dan Walker shrug off defender Jonny Lynch to set him up for a goal with a neat chip cross ball to him, unmarked in the area, but with just had the keeper to beat he headed the ball over the bar and then five minutes before the interval he missed an even easier chance when unmarked inside the penalty box he managed to stab the ball past the post with the goal at his mercy.
On the hour he was again unmarked in the area but headed over from a Dan Sparkes corner and minutes later Walker was again a provider with a fine cross but Cox somehow managed to put his header wide.
He wasn't the only culprit though because Walker missed a comparatively easy chance early in the first half, Chez Isaac fired over on the half hour when he should have scored and four minutes before the break the returning from injury Sparkes also drove the ball over the bar when clean through down the left and running into the area with only keeper David Raya Martin to beat.
It was much the same sad scenario in the early part of the second half when Kenny Davis found space to head a Sam Habergham left wing cross but it went straight into the hands of Martin.
The visiting keeper was the busier of the two keepers all afternoon and on 58 minutes he did well to deal with a curling free-kick from Sparkes and shortly afterwards both James Mulley and Walker made excellent runs through the backward tracking visiting defence but they failed dismally with their finishing when either should have been more clinical and scored.
The Iron certainly missed the pace and shooting too of the injured Simeon Akinola up front but there was some hope for the home fans in the 810 crowd when fit again striker Sean Marks emerged off the bench on 68 minutes replacing Sparkes.
Unfortunately though he too received few good passes in the final quarter of the pitch for him to make any impression.
Under a minute of that Iron substitution though they fell behind when what appeared to be an innocuous attack from the visitors' Luke George sent a first time low shot goal ward that picked up an unfortunate ricochet on the way and the ball flew into the bottom corner of Nick Hamann's goal.
As when conceding their first goal at Gateshead the previous week the Iron game plan then appeared to collapse with players lacking spirit and commitment for the final 20 minutes of the game as if going behind had again really knocked the wind out of their sails.
They needed to raise their game and again Cox missed another chance before with four minutes to go he was belatedly and probably by now relieved to be substituted and replaced by Ryan Case with Walker moving back up front to partner Marks.
But it was all to no available as the Iron allowed the visitors to now take control of the game when what they really needed to do was up the pace of their game again.
All the earlier misses though came back to haunt the with four minutes to go when Amadou Bakayoku with his back to the Iron goal was allowed to cleverly turn marker Alan Massey inside the home area himself plenty of room to score with a low shot into the corner of the Iron net.
In the end it was a deserved win for the visitors and the Iron can have no complaints really because it was all down to them not taking some of the chances they had created early on.
Little wonder Iron fans are eagerly awaiting the return of long time injured striker Charlie Strutton in about two weeks to add some clinical finishing in their attack which is sadly missing at present.
Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters, Habergham, Massey, Brundle; Mulley, Davis, Isaac, Sparkes (Marks 68); Cox (Case 86), Walker. Unused subs: Pentney, Smith.

Iron manager Alan Devonshire said afterwards: "Goals change games and we should have done so before half time with the chances we had and the game would have been over.
"I'm worried that as in the Gateshead game we dominated for so long but once we concede a goal we seem to collapse like a pack of cards and we have quickly to sort that one out," he continued. "At the end of the day they deserved to win because they took two of the three chances they had - we just didn't take one of the many more we had in the game."
He added: "So no excuses from me, we lost and we now have a week to work at things and get us up to Altrincham next week and start winning."
He went on: "I think with all the recent injuries we got away with it when doing well against the top three sides but it's now caught up with us although hopefully within the next two weeks we should get all the players back from injury.
"It's very difficult at this level running with such a small squad when you get injuries and we are on one of the smallest budgets in the league so I would say to the supporters moaning to me today to take a reality check and see where we have come from," he continued. "We've come a long way in a short time and we'll continue the way we have done so far - we've already 20 points on the board and our basic target remains 50 points for the season and I'm confident we will do it again."

Chairman Lee Harding agreed: "After such a disappointing result, it is always easy to blame a lack of players or money. Yes, we have a small squad at the moment, but the Club gives Alan full delegated authority to bring in who he chooses - he alone decides who and how many players we have. As to the playing budget, it may not be the highest in the division, but it is certainly the biggest we have ever allowed a manager at this Club. We must never forget that it is all too easy for a club to spend money it does not have (as the supporters of both Hereford and Salisbury found out last season) but we in the board room remain convinced that it is competitive. It is certainly more than last season ... and the two seasons before."

Devs sees light at the end of injury tunnel
Team News - Braintree hope to have both Sean Marks and Dan Sparkes back in contention as they welcome Southport to Cressing Road on Saturday. The pair have been missing in recent weeks but a week with no midweek game has given them further time to recover and Manager Alan Devonshire said: "We are starting to get players back and they might be available for the weekend. I thought we looked a little tired at Gateshead last week because players have had to play every game recently while we have had four or five out injured. Hopefully a few fresh legs will add competition."
The Opposition - Southport gave new boss Gary Brabin a great start on his return as Manager, coming back from 2-0 down after 17 minutes to draw 3-3 with Lincoln on Tuesday night. Brabin is in his second spell as boss at Haig Avenue having replaced Martin Foyle after a 5-2 defeat to Woking. Brabin has enjoyed success at this level with Cambridge and in former York striker Richard Brodie has a forward who has always scored regularly at this level. Currently sitting 22nd, Southport finished last season in 18th position, a way shy of an impressive 7th place finish in the 2011-12 season. The sides last met in April 2014 at the Merseyrail Community stadium, where Braintree ran out 4-0 winners on the day. Sean Marks opened the scoring early on, with Dan Holman adding a brace before James Mulley finished the scoring with a rare header. The fixture looks set to see goals a plenty again, with the visitors seeing 13 in their last 2 fixtures. The Port conceded five at home to Woking in a 5-2 loss last weekend, before hosting Lincoln City in a 3-3 draw on Tuesday.
Tickets - This is a Category B game with adult admission 16 for the terraces and 17 for the seats. Under 16s can watch the game for just 6, with under 11s 4.
Pre-Programmed - Make sure you pick up a copy of the Matchday Programme tomorrow. Featuring the latest news on relocation from Chairman Lee Harding, teams news and views from both Manager Alan Devonshire and Skipper Kenny Davis, the programme is packed full with news from around the club and the league as well as topical thought-provoking articles on all aspects of the game. The programme is available all around the ground for just 2.50.
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Match preview by Chris Williams and Brandon Westbrook

Injury ravaged Braintree squad lead but lose
A DEVASTING six minute spell midway in the second half during which they conceded three quick goals ended any hope the Iron had of returning home from Tyneside with at least a point on Saturday.
Up until the 69th minute they had looked comfortable, controlled the game and taken a first half lead through the persistence on Jordan Cox who sneaked in between home defender to slide the ball into the net on 34 minutes.
But wily home boss Gary Mills threw caution to the wind making three substitutions around the hour to effectively play with four strikers and it immediately paid off with fortunes completely reversed leaving his side to in the end run out comfortable winners.
With fresh legs on in attack the home side full-timers took advantage of by now extremely leg weary and leaden-footed part-time Iron side and took them to pieces leaving the 36 loyal Iron who made the long journey to the north-east wondering what might have been had their players been able to maintain their recent impressive form.
But in truth the Iron's physical effort in holding the league's top two teams to draws in the previous seven days finally caught up with them in this second half and with again just a bare eleven first team players fit to start the game they knew from the off they would find it another tough game.
Iron assistant manager Keith Rowlands admitted after the game: "Yes, we know were are really stretched at the moment with the number of injuries we have with our small squad but that's no excuse because we had done exceptionally well up until they scored.
"They had the advantage of bringing fit and experienced players off their bench to change the game and they did so but we are still disappointed at the way we conceded all three individual goals and in such a short space of time," he continued. "We didn't have their option on the bench but we should still have competed better in certain areas at certain times and particularly shut them down more but we failed to and they scored their goals."
He added: "We know they are a good team and they will be up there near the top at the end of the season but we didn't do ourselves justice on the day and we'll look forward to having no midweek game and getting ourselves prepared and back on form for next Saturday."
The fact that the Iron only had one corner in the whole match compared to 10 for the home side did reflect on the quality of attacking potential the home team offered.
Up until the late flurry of home goals it had in truth been a scrappy encounter but the Iron, having weathered an initial difficult 15 minutes, settled down and for long periods of the game look to be in control, even with three or four players clearly not on song and lacking their normal aptitude for the game.
Cox had opened the scoring when he latched on to a poor headed back pass by Phil Turnbull to squeeze the ball past keeper Adam Bartlett and both Simeon Akinola and James Mulley wasted good first half chances to have increased the Iron's one goal lead at the break.
Early in the second half Mulley fired over when well places and on the hour Akinola cross a fine ball from the right wing into the path of the unmarked Cox but he just failed to get his head to the ball with Bartlett stranded having missed the cross.
But it all went horribly wrong for the Iron with the three home substitutions made as they upped their pace and along with some poor defending it allowed Carl Finnigan time and space to stroke a first time shot past keeper Nic Hamann on 69 minutes to equalise.
Three minutes later Turnbull made amends for his earlier mistake by moving on to the edge of the Iron area where a neat move saw him unmarked and able to drive a low shot into the far corner of Hamann's net.
Three minutes later the game was over as a contest when another substitute Jon Shaw with also so much time and space able to drill the ball into the net from just inside the area and again the Iron paid for some poor marking.
By now the Iron looked a shadow of the side seen in their last two games with too many players looking tired and unable to cope with the resurgent home side as they pushed forward for more goals.
The one bright spot for Iron fans was the re-emergence of Sean Marks after a six game absence through injury who came on as a late substitute and was able to gain 15 minutes of action although by then his side had really lost the game.
Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters, Habrgham, Massey, Brundle; Mulley (Marks 76), Davis (Smith 84), Walker, Cox (Case 82), Akinola. Unused sub: Pentney. Attendance: 1,244. Match report by David Ward.

Cox headers levels things up
Braintree took the sting out of the free scoring Bees in a very even contest at Cressing Road, as the game finished 1-1. Having held high flying Halifax to a draw just two days previous, Alan Devonshire's men put in another shift against top of the table opposition to take a well earned point. Such was the team performance that Alan Devonshire refused to point out any individual performances stating that there "were a few really good performances in the team."
The game did not start the way Braintree would have liked, being put on the back foot early on with a few crosses and long throws, as well as Barnet's powerhouse striker Jon Akinde surging through the Iron defence at times. The Barnet forward players also pressurised the Braintree defence by pushing up and chasing the ball down. All the early pressure paid off for Barnet as they took the lead after twelve minutes through Akinde. A cross from the right wing found Akinde a few yards from goal between Mitch Brundle and Alan Massey and his firm header found the top right corner. The last two goals that Braintree have conceded have been from headers from right wing crosses. With nineteen minutes gone Barnet could have been two goals to the good. A right wing cross had been headed at goal but was deflected wide for a corner, from the resulting corner the headed chance went just inches wide of the post.
After the first twenty minutes Braintree began to grow into the game. Akinola was very active all game, winning headers, putting defenders under pressure and creating chances. After twenty-three minutes Akinola had the ball in the Barnet net by back heeling James Mulley's half volley past Graham Stack. However, the linesman had his flag raised and the goal wasn't given. There were a number of chances for both teams, with Alan Massey having to put in a last ditch tackle in the box after Sam Hoskins had danced past a number of challenges, and Chez Isaac and Kenny Davis having a number of long range attempts, however they were not close to troubling Stack.
The equaliser came after thirty-six minutes and via the head of Jordan Cox. Ryan Peters went on a marauding run at the Barnet defence before passing the ball to Mulley who then passed it back to Isaac. The cross came from the right side of the pitch and it was a perfect cross for Cox to run on to and head downwards at goal. Stack managed to get a hand on to the ball but the header was too strong and he could not prevent it from crossing the line. Up to half time the game remained even and fairly open but there were no other clear cut chances.
From the restart the game continued to be an even battle. The first chance of the second half was from Walker, who was impressive throughout the match with some of his runs. After forty-eight minutes Walker made a run into the box and from a tight angle attempted a cross turn shot that went narrowly over the bar. Walker was having his shirt pulled in the box and protested to the referee, but nothing was given. A minute later Walker then exchanged neat passes with Mulley before attempting to find Akinola with a killer through ball, but the pass had too much weight on it and Stack was able to gather the ball. Moments later and Walker and Mulley were in a two on one situation with the Barnet defence. Mulley had the option to pass the ball and put Walker through, but instead opted to run at the Barnet defence instead. The chance to pass to Walker was gone as the Barnet defence recovered and Mulley then chose to shoot, however his attempt was comfortable enough for Stack to hold. A few minutes later and Akinola eased past three Barnet players before unleashing a shot which was also comfortable for Stack to hold on to.
With fifty-eight minutes on the clock Barnet had a fantastic chance as a ball over the top of the Braintree defence was latched onto by Akinde who lobbed the ball over the onrushing Nick Hamann. Fortunately for Braintree Akinde over hit the lob and it landed on the roof of the net. Barnet were having the lions share of the possesion, but Braintree's defence stood firm, with some strong but fair tackles, one of which from Peters injured Sam Muggleton. Braintree also posed a threat to Barnet on the counter, especially with the direct running of Akinola, Mulley and Walker.
As the game entered the last ten minutes Hamann was called upon to make a smart save. A headed knockdown by Akinde was met by a powerful shot from Villa, however Hamann was equal to it and parried it away. Braintree then countered from Barnet's chance and Mulley sent a cross into Cox at the back post only a few yards from goal with only one defender for company, who he had fallen trying to get a head to the ball. Cox now had a glorious chance to score but miscued his volley and from his air shot then took a second shot at goal which he scuffed wide. It was Braintree's best opportunity to win the game. Akinola and Walker had a counter moments later but Walkers shot from outside the box was deflected wide for a corner.
In the ninetieth minute Akinde was bundled over on the edge of the box after dispossessing Akinola and powering past three challenges. The free kick was in a very dangerous position and was Barnet's last opportunity to sting the Iron, but the shot was straight at the wall and the game finished as a draw.
It was a result that pleased the manager, especially as Braintree had only enough players to name four substitutes on the bench. None of the bench were used as Alan Devonshire had "faith in the eleven on the pitch." Furthermore, Alan Devonshire confirmed "it is likely that it will be the same starting eleven for the game at Gateshead." The manager then remarked that imagine "what results we can get when we have a full team."
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Dan Walker, Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Ryan Case, Joe Moore, Steve Smith.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack, Andy Yiadom, Sam Muggleton (Luisma Villa, 68 mins), Dave Stephens, Bondz N'Gala, Curtis Weston, Sam Togwell, Jon Nurse (Luke Gambin, 46 mins) Elliot Johnson (Mauro Vilhete, 46 mins) Jon Akinde, Sam Hoskins. Unused Subs: Jack Saville, Alfie Pavey.
Attendance: 1,168. Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Braintree & Halifax cancel each other out
Iron were looking to continue their impressive home record so far this season with victory over Halifax Town who were sitting third in the table. Braintree have so far put in some strong performances at home against the likes of Kidderminster and Bristol Rovers. It was not the victory Braintree were after, instead it was the first draw of the campaign for the Iron, as Alan Devonshire said it was "two good teams cancelling each other out."
There were very few chances throughout the first half and Braintree's best chance fell to captain Kenny Davis. Having scored with a header from a similar corner against Alfreton, Davis this time opted to use the side of his foot to connect with a corner played deep into the edge of the box. Unfortunately the shot was scuffed and went wide of the goal. Braintree had one other opportunity in the first half when Akinola's weak effort from outside the box was deflected wide for a corner.
Halifax perhaps had more opportunities in the first half yet Hamann remained fairly untested. Most of Halifax's chances came from crosses into the box or the long throws of Marc Roberts. Braintree were able to deal with most of the crosses, connecting with either a head or a boot. Halifax did however manage to get on the end of a few of their crosses, but most of their chances went wide. Perhaps the best opportunity for Halifax came after thirty-five minutes when a cross into the box was headed onto the far post. The onrushing Halifax player made contact with the ball but could not direct it at goal and it went behind for a goal kick. Halifax had another great opportunity after thirty-nine minutes when a great cross into the box was almost met by the stretching Danny Hattersley who could not quite connect. If he had been able to get a head on the ball it could have asked serious questions of Nick Hamann.
The second half started scrappily with a few yellow cards handed out to Halifax players. The first was for a poor timed tackle by Adam Smith from behind on Sam Habergham that had home fans calling for him to be sent off. Moments later Matty Pearson got a yellow card for a similar tackle on Kenny Davis in the middle of the pitch and right under the referees nose.
Braintree picked up the tempo for the second half with more chances falling for both teams, but there was not enough quality in the final third and very few clear cut chances. Halifax had their best opportunity after seventy-five minutes when they were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position just on the edge of the Braintree box. The shot beat the wall and was going inside of Hamann's left post had it not been for the diving Hamann who punched it clear for a throw in. It was arguably the closest that either team came to scoring throughout the game as it was one of the few chances on target.
As the game went into the last five minutes there was only one team applying the pressure and that was Braintree. A deep cross from James Mulley was spilled by Glennon, the ball was then sent back across by Akinola but Bakare's scissor kick went over. Mulley then had an opportunity himself, shooting with the outside of his boot when he was found on the edge of the Halifax box, again however the shot went over. Mulley took the game to Halifax by running directly at the defence and crossing to Michael Bakare who was found in the middle of the box, but his shot was blocked. The late pressure from Braintree came too late in the game as they were unable to take any of their opportunities and it finished goalless, with Alan Devonshire happy with the cleansheet. Braintree will be hoping for a similar defensive display for the next home fixture against league leaders Barnet.
Line-ups: Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Sam Habergham, Mitch Brundle, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Dan Walker (Michael Bakare, 71 mins), James Mulley, Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola
Unused Subs: Steve Smith, Carl Pentney, Joe Maybanks, Ryan Case.
Halifax Town FC: Matty Glennon, Scot McManus, Marc Roberts, Matty Pearson (Danny Schofield 80 mins), Simon Ainge (Jamie Jackson, 58 mins), Adam Smith (Richard Peniket, 58 mins), Paul Marshall, Steve Williams, Kevin Roberts, Scot Boden, Danny Hattersley.
Unused Subs: Phil Senior, Jake Hibbs. Attendance: 909. Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Header enough to separate the two sides
Braintree Town made their second journey in four days around the M25 and down the M3, this time to visit Eastleigh for Saturday's Vanarama Conference fixture. Iron welcomed back skipper Kenny Davis following his one match suspension and were in control for lengthy spells during the game.
It was against the run of play that Eastleigh took a 34th minute lead when Stuart Fleetwood glanced his header at the near post past Nick Hamann from a Will Evans cross. Iron could have levelled almost from the re-start when Dan Sparkes broke through the home defence, but his low drive was well blocked by home keeper Ross Flitney. Just before the break Simeon Akinola was unlucky as his header from a James Mulley cross just missed the target.
Braintree dominated the second half, with the home side limited to break-aways. Sam Habergham saw his crisp effort deflected over for a corner, while substitute Dan Walker was denied as his low drive was deflected just wide of the post. At the other end, Mitch Brundle performed heroics after he headed substitute Craig McAllister's header off the goal-line in a rare home attack but, despite their dominance, Iron could not find a way through as Eastleigh held on to claim the three points.
Next up for Iron is two successive home matches in the Vanarama Conference when the visit next Saturday, 27th of third-placed FC Halifax Town is followed three days later by the visit of leaders Barnet on Tuesday, 30th.

Fluid Braintree ease up to seventh
Braintree Town comfortably won this game at the ES Stadium on Tuesday evening thanks to a fine attacking and passing game by their players from start to finish plus some tactical nous by manager Alan Devonshire, writes David Ward.
With several players not fully fit and without the influence of suspended captain Kenny Davis in midfield Devonshire pulled a master stroke by replacing him with winger James in Mulley in central midfield alongside Chez Isaac and allowing Danny Sparkes on the right and Simeon Akinola on the left to run free down either flanks.
It meant a steady stream of fine through ball to strikers Jordan Cox and Michael Bakare all evening and they caused mayhem in the home defence every time they went forward leading to Jordan grabbing a brace and Bakare unlucky not to get his name on the score sheet.
A delighted Devonshire said afterwards: "It's all credit to the players really who showed what a good footballing side we are and they all worked their socks off and I'm really proud of each and everyone."
"Some were not really fit enough to play but they gave their all and they deserve credit," he continued. "We needed to improve our away form this season and this was the right way to do it and I thought we were never in danger of losing the game."
He added: "It was certainly one of the most satisfying away performances and win since I have been at the club."
Mulley was a revelation in midfield, well supported by Isaac who chased the ball down at every opportunity, although Devonshire added special praise for the four-man defence and keeper Nic Hamann.
"We knew the home side were big and physical and we are one of the smallest steams in the league but our defence was magnificent and did not gave them an inch," he continued. "I knew they wouldn't cope with the pace of our boys with the ball on the ground and so it proved."
Little wonder the 27 Iron fans in the crowd of 1,295 made more noise than the home supporters as right from the kick off their side took the game to their hosts who simply couldn't cope with the swift passing movement of the Iron players.
The writing was on the wall in only the second minute when Sparkes cut in from the right wing and sent a dipping shot to the far post which keeper Phil Smith just managed to get a hand to push it round for a corner.
Sparkes didn't have to wait long for his goal though because he repeated the feat on 14 minutes with a curling shot again from the right which flew into the top corner of the net.
With the confidence of a goal the Iron continued to push forward and dominate the game with first Akinola and then Cox both going close before on 25 minutes defender Mitch Brundle moved up for a corner only to see his glancing header shave an upright.
In a rare attack at the other end Brett Williams saw his header strike the Iron post before being cleared on 39 minutes as the home side at last started to create some attacks but with the outstanding Alan Massey marshalling the Iron defence they stood firm.
As on the previous Saturday with a one goal lead the Iron needed a second goal early on in the second half to give them breathing space and it came on 52 minutes when Issacs and Akinola combined down the left flank with the latter threading a great final ball through splitting the home defence for Cox to run on to drive the ball into the net past the stranded Smith.
The Iron continued to dominate the second half with only the occasional attacks from the home side which the Iron defence coped well and only once in this period did Hamann have to pull off a proper save when Josh Scott escaped a defender to fire a shot straight at him.
The icing on the cake for the Iron came on 78 minutes when again young Akinola's clever dribble on the half way line allowed him to slip the ball through to the unmarked Cox who had the simplest of task to tap the ball into the empty net at the far post.
Three minutes into stoppage time the home side made one final attempt to score and they did when Damon Lathrope poked the ball into the Iron net during a scrappy final minute.
It was all too little too late then because by then the Iron were comfortably over the line as deserved winners with an exemplary all round team performance that pushed them up seventh place in the league table.
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters (Case 81), Massey, Brundle, Habergham, Sparkes, Mulley, Issac, Akinola, Cox (Smith 88), Bakare (Walker 65). Unused sub: Pentney.

Iron three points off the play-off places
Iron moved to within three points of the Vanarama Conference promotion play-off places with a battling two goal win over visitors Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday - Braintree's fourth win in five matches.
Braintree Town were looking to bounce back from their mid-week defeat away to Welling with victory over Kidderminster, who suffered their first defeat of the season in their last fixture at Southport. The Iron were without injured Remy Clerima, with Mitch Brundle moving into the centre of defence in Clerima's absence. Ryan Peters made his return to the starting line-up following his recent injury. The last game Braintree played at Cressing Road was a 2-0 victory, and was the same result for the Iron in this fixture.
Braintree started the game bright, putting opposition keeper Danny Lewis under pressure with a few crosses, one of which was from a corner that Lewis spilled. Akinola pounced onto the ball but was adjudged to have fouled Lewis. After 5 minutes Kidderminster had an effort at goal themselves, Aman Verma scuffed effort from wide going across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
Braintree were playing good football, passing neatly and attacking in numbers and it did not take long for Braintree to score the first goal of the game, and it was a spectacular effort which words can't do it justice. James Mulley and Ryan Peters pushed forward well on the left wing. Peters passed the ball to Mulley's feet, Mulley then turned to goal and unleashed an arching shot from the outside of his right boot from at least 25 yards or more. The shot went just inside of the far post and there was nothing the keeper could do to keep it out.
Braintree were the better team for much of the first half, harassing defenders into mistakes by chasing in pairs with Akinola using his pace to get at the defence, passing the ball well and using the full pitch. In defence if the ball was not headed clear by the Iron then it was Nick Hamann that was safely claiming the crosses into the box.
Braintree had two good chances to put Kidderminster to the sword but were unable to capitalise on them. The first chance came from a free kick in a dangerous position but was ineffective as it was hit straight at the wall. The rebound, sent in by Peters from the halfway line was over hit and bounced in front of Lewis, nearly lobbing him and going out for a goal kick. The second chance came from a great cross by Dan Sparkes, which was met by the head of Jordan Cox a few yards out from goal. It was a fantastic opportunity from Cox to score, but instead the header went over the bar.
The last 10 minutes of the second half saw Kidderminster come back into the game. After 35 minutes a cross in the Braintree box caused panic as both Brundle and Hamann collided going for the same ball. Fortunately for the Iron the ball bounced kindly for Kenny Davis to thump the ball clear. Kidderminster then hit the woodwork on 42 minutes after some neat passing build up play created space for a chance just inside the box. The shot was hit low and into the inside of Hamann's far post, with the clearance again being made by the Braintree defence. Mitch Brundle was then called upon moments later, having to make an important block after a shot from Nathan Blissett. Hamann then had to make a fantastic reflex save just before half time when a teasing cross into the box was met with a low drive at the far post. Braintree managed to weather the storm and it finished at half time Braintree 1-0 Kidderminster.
Whatever was said at half time must have worked as the Iron came out strong for the start of the second half. Chez Isaac was putting in tackles all over the pitch and was always getting in the right positions to break up Kidderminster attacks and launch counter attacks for Braintree. On 47 minutes Isaac won the ball in the Kidderminster half and then ran at the Kidderminster defence with his cross being turned behind for a corner. It was from this corner that Isaac had won that Braintree scored their second, courtesy of Kenny Davis. Sparkes sent in an in-swinging cross that was met low at the back post by the head of Davis no more than 6 yards out. Davis is not the tallest player on the pitch, which might explain why he was left unmarked. Kidderminster should have done their homework as Davis scored a looping header in Braintree's trip to Alfreton Town. The were not many chances for the next 15 minutes after the goal, with Bakare, who had come on for the injured Jordan Cox, sending a free kick straight at Lewis.
On the 68th minute goal scorer James Mulley became a hero at both ends of the pitch. A Kidderminster cross into the box was missed by Hamann and the goal bound header was acrobatically cleared by Mulley on the line with an overhead kick. Hamann then made his second reaction save of the game as a ball over the Braintree defence found Kidderminster substitute Ahmed Obeng unmarked at the far post, the shot from Obeng was saved by the legs of Hamann. Having been booked earlier in the game for holding a player, Davis then got his second yellow card for a mistimed tackle. It was a decision that frustrated Alan Devonshire as he felt there was little consistency from the officials. Alan Devonshire gave his opinion that "There were a few tackles from Kidderminster players that also should be yellow cards, if the ref is going to give yellows to Davis like that."
It now seemed like a backs against the wall job for the last 15 minutes, and from the free kick straight after the red card Kidderminster again hit the post. Michael Gash, who made 6 appearances for Braintree during a loan spell in 2012, stepped over the ball which was then hit at goal by Craig Reid. The shot almost wrong footed Hamann but he managed to turn the shot onto the post and out for a corner. Kidderminster then had another dangerous free kick 3 minutes later, again sending the ball to the far post where Josh Gowling was prowling, fortunately for the Iron the shot was off target going over the bar. The officials gave an additional 5 minutes and in the first minute of added time Kidderminster hit the woodwork for the third time in the game. Hamann came a long way out of goal to claim the ball which he was unable to do, and the rebound fell kindly for Obeng whose reaction shot hit the base of the post. Had it gone in it could have been a nervy last 4 minutes for Braintree, as it turned out it was the last effort of the game.
Despite the good result and the three points, there are concerns for the Iron, with Alan Devonshire describing the full time dressing room as the 'walking wounded'. For Tuesdays game at Aldershot, Devonshire confirmed that there may be a few players from the academy making the visit as in all his time at Braintree he has never had so many senior players out of action.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Sam Habergham, Mitch Brundle Alan Massey, James Mulley, Kenny Davis, Dan Sparkes (Steve Smith, 75), Chez Isaac, Jordan Cox (Michael Bakare, 54), Simeon Akinola (Ryan Case, 90). Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Dan Walker. Kidderminster Harriers FC: Danny Lewis, Jared Hodgkiss, Kyle Storer, Chey Dunkley, Jack Byrne, Marvin Johnson, Reece Styche (Craig Reid, 70), Nathan Blissett (Michael Gash 54), Aman Verma (Ahmed Obeng, 61), Kevin Nicholson, Josh Gowling. Unused Subs: Jamie Grimes, Jasbir Singh.
Attendance: 751. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

First half lead evaporates in Kent
Welling United took all three points in a game of two very different halves of football. With Braintree taking the lead through Jordan Cox, Iron looked comfortable for much of the first half. However, Welling exerted pressure towards the end of the half, continuing in the second which lead to a dominant display as the tables turned. Corne and Beautyman spoiled the unbeaten run of games that the Iron were beginning to string together, to send the Essex side home with nothing after what looked a very promising start.
An even opening few minutes ended in disappointment for Remy Clerima when he limped off after ten minutes with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Steve Smith. James Mulley showed his versatility by taking up a role at right back, and the shuffle did little to hinder Braintree's attacking flair early on, taking the lead just minutes later.
A ball by Massey was well taken by Simeon Akinola, who looked to striking partner Jordan Cox to provide the outlet needed to get a shot in on goal. That he did well as Jordan latched onto a bouncing pass, outmuscling the Welling defence, and showing the cool head required to lob the committed Jamie Turner in goal to gift the Iron the lead on 18 minutes.
Chances came from a double corner for both Cox and Akinola, with Simeone coming closest with a glancing header drifting just wide of the back post. Following Sam Habergham seeing yellow for a late challenge on Jon Nouble, and Charlton loanee Sho-Silva receiving the same punishment for following through on Nick Hamann, the game settled down, providing few good chances. Jon Nouble fired over the bar from just outside the box around the half hour mark, and five minutes before half time a free kick was gifted to Welling which was taken by Harry Beautyman. The opportunity in a dangerous area was wasted, with the shot fired straight into the wall and easily cleared by the Iron defence.
On the cusp of half time, a spell of pressure from the Wings saw Hamann's positioning keep out a flashed shot by Captain Jake Gallagher, who turned a ball across goal into the goalkeeper's grasp. Next up was Sam Corne to rock the Iron, floating a shot at the far post, which dipped just the wrong side to the relief of a scrambling Nick Hamann. Iron soaked up the pressure in the final minutes of the half to go down the tunnel a goal to the good.
The second half started where the first left off, with the home side applying pressure early on. Mitch Brundle saw yellow as he conceded a free kick just outside the area from the off. Brundle could have suffered worse, looking the be the last man, but referee Christopher Powell felt differently as he brandished the yellow with Welling gaining free kick in a good area. Chris Bush was the man set up, this time the Wings playing a pass to escape the Iron wall, and Bush took his chance brilliantly, firing hard and low past Hamann to level from the off.
With the Wings crowd getting behind their side, the home team stated to build momentum, much of the play being around the Briantree box. James Mulley ran out a clearance, finding himself unchallenged as he tore through the middle of the park. Mulley ran half of the length of the field, before firing a shot at Jamie Turner, but his colleague failed to follow the shot up, and Turner's stop landed safely at a red shirt.
Sustained pressure became too much for Braintree when Harry Beautyman put the home side ahead 12 minutes from time. Running at the Iron defence down the right hand side, Beautyman looked to have been knocked off the ball, but as the home crowd cried for a penalty, Beautyman regained balance. His shot was slotted to Hamann's left hand side, beyond the reach of the Iron 'keeper to give the home side the lead.
In the final minutes, Braintree came close to an equaliser with Mulley and Bakare linking up well on the right hand side. Bakare's shot was flapped at by the goalkeeper. It was Steve Smith who came closest when he rattled the bar from way out in what was a chance created from nothing. Brundle was given a go when he took charge of a freekick from just outside the box, but he fired over the bar as the Iron desperately looked to capture something from the game.
Alan Devonshire showed his disappointment after the game: "I was bitterly disappointed with the two goals. We just got done ball watching, gave away the two goals. Some of the players let each other down. I felt sorry for them because they worked their nuts off. At the end of the day we had Remy come off, Jordan come off which disrupted us bit. Mulley filled in at right back. I'm just gutted with the two goals we gave away because we said in there at half time, do the basic's well and we'll be alright. A minute into the second half, Mitch has got the chance to clear it and he's gave away the free kick which led to the second goal."
"I'm gutted because in the first half we were in total control to be fair. To give away a goal like that, we never really got going after that."
"You've got to do the basics well, that's what good footballers do. I'm pee'd off to be fair."
"When you have six or seven players out, it's going to disrupt you. I'm gutted really. We needed something today to keep the run going which we had built. We will roll our sleeves up and I'll see who's fit for Saturday."
Welling United: Turner, Fazakerley, Gallagher, Fagan, Bush, Beautyman, Marsh (Baselle), Jefford, Nouble (Hudson), Corne (Fyfield), Sho-Silva. Unused subs: Butcher Williams. Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac, Massey, Walker (Bakare), Davis, Akinola, Cox (Sparkes), Clerima (Smith), Mulley. Unused subs: Pentney, Maybanks. Referee: Christopher Powell. Assistants: Matt Eve and Paul Johnson. Fourth Official: Graeme Ions. Attendance: 506. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Davis and Sparkes get the goals
An efficient Iron performance ended in a 2-0 win against Bristol Rovers in front of a crowd of over 1600 on non-league day. Braintree's win never looked in doubt, once they had gone ahead through a Kenny Davis penalty, won in controversial circumstances that saw a large away crowd turn very ugly in the first half. Cox won the penalty in front of the away fans, who reached out at Cox, backed into the net by a group of Rovers players. Dan Sparkes added the second after directing in a nice cross from Akinola, who won man of the match on his home debut for the club.
The action started with Jordan Cox winning a free kick just outside the box six minutes in, Dan Sparkes was presented the first opportunity of the game, lining up alongside Mitch Brundle to try and test the Rovers goalkeeper early. Sparkes struck left footed around the wall, but the shot was too high and flew over the bar into the visiting fans.
Kenny Davis floated one in ten minutes into the game, after some nice triangular passing between the skipper, Jordan Cox and James Mulley to find Davis is space. The delivery drifted to the corner flag as an Iron shirt could not reach the ball, and straight down the other end, a double corner almost led to the first goal. The second delivery coming from the Rovers left found lofty Adam Cunnington, who headed with vigour, demanding the most from an outstretched Nick Hamann, at his best again to meet the effort.
A good move by Iron almost provided the opener, with the ball played out to Dan Sparkes who moved up the field with Iron working as a unit, and delivered across goal towards Simeon Akinola. Akinola flicked on with pace, so much so that it escaped the touch required by a sprinting Jordan Cox to guide the ball home.
What happened next was pandemonium at Cressing Road. Just before the half hour mark, an off the ball incident saw the referee hand Iron a penalty. Cox was shoved by the Rovers defender, and backed into the Rovers net by a mob of aggressive visiting players once the whistle was blown. With Jordan facing up the pitch, Rovers fans behind the goal looked to strike Cox in the back of the head, who held his head in his hands and was pulled away by his team mates. With the referee taking an eternity to decide what was to happen next, a more and more vocal visiting crowd hurled abuse at the officials. After much deliberation, a yellow was shown, and Kenny Davis kept his cool, sending the keeper the wrong way from the spot. The Iron were ahead in front of what was beginning to turn into an intimidating atmosphere at the away end.
Up the other end, Trotman reached a cross in, heading towards goal, meeting Tom Parkes who knocked it in from a yard out. However, the flag saved Iron on this occasion, signalling for offside. The Gas were to threaten again five minutes before half time, when Andy Monkhouse got on the end of an in swinging cross from the left. Hamann dived to his left, collecting the ball in his clutches, but the pressure was to build for Bristol Rovers who constructed a series of balls across the face of goals in the minutes that followed. The referee's whistle blew with Iron 1-0 to the good.
The second half began quickly, with chance up both ends from the off. The best of the initial few minutes in the second period fell to Davis, who picked up the ball in the middle of the Rovers half after a run forward by Sam Habergham. Davis was forced to try from outside the box, who saw his shot deflected before being scooped up by Steve Mildenhall between the sticks for the visitors.
The second came two minutes before the hour mark, with Akinola twisting and turning just inside the area to lose his man and set up Dan Sparkes. A grounded delivery was directed into the bottom left of Mildenhall's goal by Sparkes, doubling the sides lead comfortably with half an hour remaining.
Akinola then created his own chance, turning a backtracking Tom Lockyer, who was tangled in his own feet as Akinola found space beyond the defender. The strikers shot was collected without a problem by Mildenhall, but the shot from nothing prompted a vocal response from an appreciative Iron crowd, singing the new signings name like he had been at Cressing Road for years.
Andy Monkhouse found space for himself in the centre of the park, opening up the Iron defence and shooting from range over the Hamann's bar. Ryan Brunt was set up in the Iron box, latching onto a ball through the middle minutes after the shot by Monkhouse. Rather than take the shot on first time, Brunt let the ball run to the byline, opting to cross but failing to find a white shirt and allowing Braintree to clear their lines with ease.
When the opposite end failed to replicate Braintree's efficiency, James Mulley picked up a loose clearance on the edge of the 'D'. His shot trickled the wrong side of the Rovers right post with the clock ticking down on the Gas.
Akinola was played through again minutes from the end, but with is back to goal, opted for the chest out towards the left wing where Steve Smith picked up the bal. Smith fired with his left at goal, but couldn't test the 'keeper as he misdirected his shot wide. The referee called an end to the game with Iron winning on the day 2-0.
Reflecting after the game, Alan Devonshire stated how pleased he was, but will remain focused with the games coming fast over the next couple of weeks.
"We want to try and make this place hard for people to come to, the pace that we started off at was terrific."
When asked his opinion on the penalty, Alan responded "I think the fellow just pushed Jordan over. Listen, you get them sometimes and you don't get them sometimes. I'm not going to moan about it."
"It's been a good start but we've got to keep it going. We've got Chez and Kenny sitting in there and playing brilliantly at the moment. Dan Sparkes has bags of talent, but I want him to get involved more. I'm delighted for him as well.
We have to get a result on Tuesday. There were some tired legs out there, so I may look to change things on Tuesday if we have the players."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Clerima, Massey, Mulley, Davis, Sparkes (Walker), Isaac, Akinola (Bakare), Cox (Smith). Subs: Marks, Pentney. Bristol Rovers: Mildenhall, Brown, Lockyer, Parkes (Sinclair), Clarke, White (Taylor), Trotman, Martin, Monhouse, Cunnington (Brunt), Mansell. Subs: Puddy, Wilson. Referee: Daniel Cook. Assistants: Oliver Jackson and Louis Marks. Fourth Official: Lloyd Wood. Attendance: 1621 (565 visiting fans). Match report by Chris Pargin.

Vanarama supporting Prostate Cancer UK
Vanarama have today joined forces with Non-League Day and Matt Le Tissier to launch a campaign to break the attendance record at Vanarama Conference fixtures on 6th September, 2014 (Non-League Day).
Core to the campaign is a "call to arms" to recruit personalities who love the game, to put their "thumbs up" for Non-League day and raise awareness. Van leasing business Vanarama will take to social media to encourage managers; players; media; celebrities; and of course fans to post pictures of their support using #thumbsup4NLD.
The campaign will raise awareness of Non-League football to ALL football fans and ask them to go to support their local club on Saturday 6th September 2014 on a day when there are no Premier League or Championship fixtures. The target is to achieve a Non-League Day attendance of more than 50,000 at Vanarama Conference games on the day, breaking the existing record of 39,210 (2012).
Vanarama, will make a donation on behalf of every fan attending a Vanarama Conference fixture to Prostate Cancer UK, the event's charity. Based on last year's attendance this will be a donation of 4,000. If the matchday attendance across the Vanarama Conference is higher than 50,000, Vanarama will donate at least 10,000. Full details can be found at
To help raise awareness for the campaign, join Matt Le Tissier and others, and post pictures of you and your friends with 'thumbs up' to @Vanarama and using #thumbsup4NLD, or
Matt Le Tissier, Thumbs Up for Non-League Day Ambassador said: "Non-League Football is close to my heart and the lifeblood of the beautiful game in this country. I am excited to be supporting this campaign and encourage everyone to tweet their thumbs up photos and get down to their local club this coming Saturday. Let's break the record and raise money for Prostate Cancer UK".
Andy Alderson, Owner & Managing Director, Autorama Group said: "As a company of football fans, we are excited to be sponsoring the Vanarama Conference, and delighted to be supporting Non-League Day and Prostrate Cancer UK at the same time. We hope to help the clubs attract fans from the wider football family on this special day in the Football calendar. Thumbs Up for Non-League Day!".

Iron fans are advised to arrive a little earlier than usual
For our Vanarama Conference fixture against Bristol Rovers on Saturday, 6th September, segregation WILL be in force. However, this game will NOT be all ticket and no tickets will be available for sale prior to the match. This match is a Category A fixture and admission prices for this match can be found by clicking the 'Tickets' link above. To gain entry to the ground, visiting spectators should use the two turnstiles to the right of the Main Stand and clubhouse, numbered 7 and 8. Home spectators should use the four turnstiles to the left on the clubhouse, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. Season ticket holders should use gates 5 and 6. Those wishing to stand should pay at the appropriate turnstile, on arrival, on the day. Anyone wishing to sit must purchase their seat ticket at the turnstile when they enter the ground as there will be no cash transactions within the ground for upgrades to seats. A full colour matchday programme will be on sale inside the ground adjacent to the turnstiles. The Club are mindful of the limited parking we have available at the ground. Following the advice received from Essex Police, the Club have decided to charge for entry into the car park - with a flat rate of 2 for all users. Essex Police have also suggested that the car park be closed prior to kick-off to ensure that there is no congestion between pedestrian spectators and vehicles. No vehicles will be allowed entry into the car park within thirty minutes prior to kick-off. Those travelling to the Cressing Road Stadium for the first time can find more information on how best to travel by clicking on the 'Find Us' link above. The Clubhouse at the Cressing Road Stadium can only be accessed from inside the designated home section of the ground. Those spectators wishing to use the segregated part of the ground reserved for visiting supporters may wish to visit The Orange Tree public house some 300 yards from the ground on Cressing Road between the ground and Galley's Corner roundabout prior to entering the ground. For further information, please contact the Club on 01376 345617.

Skipper puts Iron ahead & Sparkes secures the points
Braintree Town gave almost a repeat performance of the Nuneaton result, as it was again a 2-0 win for the Iron and both goals were scored in the second half. The opposition also find themselves in a similar position on the table, Alfreton Town being rock bottom and looking to bounce back from a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Grimsby. Alfreton Town would not necessarily be easy opposition, as they had finished last campaign in eleventh place and Dan Sparkes believes that they "don't deserve to be bottom."
In the first half you could not tell that the Reds had recently been thumped by such a score line given their performance. The first 10 minutes were played almost exclusively in the Braintree half, however, Nick Hamann was not asked any questions. The first real shot, after 13 minutes, went the way of Braintree, with Cox drilling the ball wide from the edge of the box after a swift counter attack. A minute later and Cox found himself on the right hand side of the Alfreton box but his cross turned shot was tame and straight at Cameron Dawson.
Braintree had to play up the sloped pitch and into the wind for the first half and it was Alan Devonshire's intention that Braintree go in at half time with a clean sheet. The tactics were effective as the Iron defence was solid, heading crosses clear from dangerous areas, getting distance on the clearances and putting in strong blocks. In the 18th minute it was a blocked Alfreton shot that came close to finding the mark, bobbling just wide of the post. The resulting corner was flicked on at the near post with the follow up shot from inside the box blazed over the bar. It was a very clear chance which Alfreton should have buried.
As the half progressed it became more petulant and perhaps the most controversial moment of the game was when the Reds Jake Sheridan clearly put his head into Mitch Brundles' face in what appeared to be an attempted head-butt. The referee and his assistants did not see what had happened, as it was committed off the ball, otherwise it could have been punished. It was from a free kick that Alfreton had a clear chance to score just before half time, Tom Shaw curling one over the wall but just wide of the goal as well.
Braintree had a few chances themselves, despite Alfreton edging the first half. On the 23rd minute Braintree won a free kick in a good position and the ball was whipped in very well, evading Dawson and the Alfreton defence. It also evaded Cox and had he managed to get a touch to the ball at the far post he would have had a great opportunity to score. The Iron had the ball in the net at half time when Dan Walker was put through on goal by Jordan Cox, however, Walker had been in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.
Apart from the few chances made by Braintree, there was little impact by the front men, with long balls being headed on with no one to run on to them. Some of the passing was clumsy and Cox and Walker appeared to be playing too far away from each other. The long balls being played up the pitch were not finding a Braintree player and the second balls were being won by Alfreton. But as Devonshire stated during the full time interview, the first half was all about keeping the clean sheet, and that is how the first half finished, with two clean sheets.
The second half started similarly to the first half, with the Reds putting Braintree under pressure, creating a great chance after 55 minutes from a free kick. The ball was whipped into the Braintree box and was met by an Alfreton head, one of the few times Alfreton won an aerial battle, and the header was goal bound but from the right hand of Hamann which tipped the ball over the bar. Almost immediately after Alfreton's chance, Braintree had a chance from a free kick themselves. It was in a similar position to the goal scored by Mitch Brundle against Nuneaton. Again it was Brundle who took the free kick but this time the effort went just over the bar.
After 60 minutes it was perhaps Alfreton's last real chance to get ahead in the match, however, it was strong defending again by Braintree blocking two shots on goal in a matter of seconds. Moments later Braintree had turned possession over and had claims for a penalty. Dan Sparkes had made a break down the left hand side and put a cross into the box which was turned out of play via an Alfreton hand. The referee had deemed it ball to hand rather than deliberate and gave a corner. It was from the corner that captain Kenny Davis opened the scoring with a beautiful looping header. The ball was curled in by Sparkes and went deep into the Alfreton box, where perhaps one of the smallest players on the pitch met it perfectly to lob both the keeper and the defender on the line. The goal came in the 64th minute.
The goal seemed to shatter Alfreton's confidence and the Iron were now on top of the game, hitting Alfreton on the break and moving the ball out wide, spreading the Alfreton defence. Conversely, the replacement of Cox and Walker with Sean Marks and Simeon Akinola changed the dynamic of the game. It was Akinola's debut, having signed from Harrow Borough, and in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch he was impressive. Akinola kept possession well, took on players and was neat with his passing. Braintree were much improved going forward and in the 75th minute had a another penalty claim turned down. James Mulley made a direct run at the Alfreton defence, taking the ball around two defenders before he was tackled by a third defender. The Alfreton man got plenty of the man but not too much of the ball, and he went through Mulley to get the ball, but no penalty was given and instead it was a corner.
Braintree needed to kill the game off whilst they were in the ascendancy as Alfreton still had enough about them to nick a goal, especially on the counter where they had pace going forward. Marks who was impressive when he came on had a shot across goal go wide shortly before Sparkes tied up the match in the 80th minute. Akinola won a throw in the Alfreton half, which Habergham launched into the box. The headed clearance found Sparkes on the edge of the box who laced a low shot into the back of the net, under the right hand of Dawson. It was a well taken and a deserved goal for Sparkes. For the last 10 minutes and the 5 added minutes Braintree were efficient in keeping possession and were working the ball around the pitch running the clock down for the full time whistle.
In some ways it was a almost a perfect away day, soaking up the pressure, without Hamann being seriously tested, keeping a clean sheet and earning the 3 points.
Line-ups: Alfreton Town FC: Cameron Dawson, Bradley Wood, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Luke Graham, Lee Stevenson (Nathan Hicks, 75 mins), Dan Bradley, Tom Shaw, Jake Sheridan, Jordan Keane, Joe Ironside (Paul Clayton, 81 mins), Andi Thanoj. Unused Subs: Dan Gray, Julian McDonald
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaacs, Alan Massey, Dan Walker (Sean Marks, 70 mins), Kenny Davis, Dan Sparkes, Jordan Cox (Simeon Akinola, 70 mins), Remy Clerima, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Steven Smith, Carl Pentney.
Attendance: 442. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.

Striker moves to Cressing Road
Braintree Town manager Alan Devonshire has added striker Simeon Akinola for an undisclosed fee from Ryman League side Harrow Borough. The 22-year old forward started his youth career in Madrid before coming to the UK, where he spent a year at Boreham Wood and two years at Earlsmead. Devs was delighted with his latest signing: "A great acquisition to the squad, Simeon gives us something different up front. I've watched him a few times and he has great potential."

Late goals set up second win
With Braintree looking to bounce back from their recent defeat away to Lincoln, an improved performance against a Nuneaton side that have so far failed to score this season was required. Throughout the entire match the rain did not relent, but this did not stop Braintree playing good football, mixing balls over the top of defence as well as short neat passing.
The first half was dominated by the Iron in term of chances, with Nuneaton only testing the home side with one shot on target from distance. However, it remained goalless at half time. In the second half Braintree created more chances but left it late in the game for the goals. The 2-0 final score was a deserved result and a fair reflection on the game.
Manager Alan Devonshire said that he felt that the side were "quite comfortable and thoroughly deserved to win the game."
Alan reflected after the match: "I had to take the pressure of them so I just smiled (at half time) and said don't worry we'll score, we'll score and we did so that's what you have to do. The keeper's pulled off a double worldy save and you think it's going to be one of those days. At the end of the day we've ended up winning 2-0 and that's all that matters."
The first clear chance of the game fell to Braintree's Dan Walker. After a clever turn by Peters to get out of trouble in defence, his clearance put Walker in behind the Nuneaton defence. Walker got past the keeper, but had been forced wide, and his goal bound shot was deflected behind for a corner off of the imposing figure of former Braintree Town man, Exodus Geohaghan.
After quarter of an hour it was Geohaghan again coming to Nuneaton's rescue, preventing Braintree from a shot on goal with a vital block. It was again a chance created from a ball over the top of the Nuneaton defence, taken on the run by Jordan Cox whose shot deflected against the legs of Geohaghan 12 yards from goal.
Braintree's next chance fell to Cox, who after taking another long pass expertly under control, found himself through on goal. The attempted lob by Cox, however, was unfortunately hit horribly wide.
Braintree were in the ascendancy, but again their next chance was squandered. Walker had made a direct run at the by-line and put in a dangerous cross which was deflected, taking it out of the reach of the keeper, but the headed attempt from a few yards out was just over the bar. Walker himself then had a chance which hit the side netting, having been put under pressure by two Nuneaton defenders inside the box.
Whilst Braintree could have done more with their previous attempts, it was due to goalkeeping heroics from Charles-Cook that kept it goalless at halftime. A long range blistering strike by Mitch Brundle was heading into the bottom corner, but was stopped by a great parry from Charles-Cook. The first player to the ball was Dan Sparkes' and again his shot was parried back into the danger area. The referee then awarded a free-kick to Nuneaton after a foul on the keeper, and arguably Braintree's best chance of the half had gone.
In the last minutes of the half it was Nick Hamann's turn to show his ability between the sticks after superbly tipping a long range effort destined for his top right corner wide of the post. If it had gone in, it would have been against the run of play.
The second half was also dominated by Braintree, although there was little in the way of clear cut chances, with headers from corners and shots from the edge of the box not finding the target. Nuneaton themselves had a fantastic opportunity, drawing a great save from Hamann after a close range effort from substitute Tyrell Waite, although the linesman had already given offside.
After the initial stages Nuneaton began to grow in confidence and were creeping their way back into the game. That was until Ben Hutchinson was sent off in the 74th minute for a high and dangerous tackle from behind on the halfway line. It was mistimed, dangerous and the referee made no hesitation and immediately brandished the red card.
After the sending off Braintree showed more urgency, determined to take advantage of having the extra man, and it paid off with a goal on the 80th minute. Nuneaton conceded a free kick in a dangerous position just on the edge of the box, and Mitch Brundle delivered the goods with a well despatched free kick, curled into the bottom right corner of the Nuneaton goal. It was a well placed effort just out of the reach of the 'keeper.
Nuneaton, despite being a man down, did give a late scare after a deep cross from Jack Dyer was met at the far post by Theo Streete. Hamann was beaten, but the header went over the bar. Michael Bakare showed enthusiasm when he came on late in the game, harassing defenders and chasing balls down. He was rewarded with a well taken goal on the 89th minute, cutting in from the right wing and curling a shot into the far bottom corner, 25 yards from goal, sealing the three points for the Iron.
Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac (Smith, 85), Massey, Walker (Smith, 79), Davis, Sparkes, Cox (Bakare, 79), Clerima, Peters. Unused Subs: Maybanks, Pentney. Nuneaton Town FC: Charles-Cook, Franklin, Geohaghan, Dean (Dyer, 80), Gordon, Walker, Armson, John (Waite, 58), Hutchinson, Smith, Streete. Unused Subs: Wren, Vieira, Quinn. Referee: David Rock. Assitants: Dean Appleby and Carl Pearse. Fourth Official: Guy Alexander. Attendance: 658
Match Report by Ryan Delaney

Braintree manager vows to put it right
Braintree manager Alan Devonshire was left bitterly disappointed with some of his players after they lost another game against the Imps - their sixth defeat in eight Conference games against them - and has promised "to put it right" with one or two new signings if necessary.
Conceding two first half goals, described by Devonshire as "Sunday morning park football goals," he said he told the players at the final whistle they would have to improve or else.
"I'm really disappointed with certain players so far and I've told them so," he said. "I'm definitely not happy and we should have done much better today than we did and we should have at least come away with a point."
He added: "No, I'm not pushing the panic button because I don't do that - we were bottom of the league once and then pulled ourselves up to finish in the top half of the table.
"But it's my job to get it sorted and I will and if that means bringing in new players I will and that will mean one or two going out because we run on a tight budget, the smallest I believe in this league," he said. "I know we've got some players with knocks but that's no excuse for this defeat - I'm really unhappy.
"I know one or two players I have been wanting to bring in and we'll see what now happens," he continued. "We'll dust ourselves down, check on the walking wounded and get ourselves ready to do better and win the next game which is at home on Monday."
Devonshire, who lost James Mulley at half time with an injury and then saw Mitch Brundle having to go off for lengthy treatment for a badly cut face after he was crudely elbowed by a home defender.
"What is annoying is that the referee could clearly see what happened as it was so blatant and the lad immediately had blood gushing from his face from a deliberate elbow but he chose to do nothing about it," claimed Devonshire. "Whilst he was off having treatment they scored again with another poorly conceded goal."
The Iron had conceded two dreadful first half goals through schoolboy errors - Sean Newton netting direct from a corner on seven minutes and then on 21 minutes allowing Hamza Bencheri to add a simple second.
Three minutes into the second the Iron clawed their way back into the game when Kenny Davis netted from the penalty spot after Jordan Cox had been brought down by Tony Diagne who was shown a straight red card.
"It was a penalty but I think it was a bit harsh to send the lad off but at least it gave us a lift," said Devonshire. "But then we lost Sparkes for lengthy treatment during which they scored again which then gave us a mountain to climb."
Ben Tomlinson netted that goal on 61 minutes and again it was poor defending by full-back Sam Habergham that set the goal up after which the Iron battled hard to get back in the game.
They did manage a second one minute into stoppage time when Mitch Brundle fired the ball for his first goal for the club.
But it was all too little too late and but for those poor moments of defending the Iron would have returned home with at least a point. Devonshire had started with a new attacking duo of Cox and Michael Bakare, dropping Sean Marks to the bench, but it's clear on the evidence of this game they still need some fresh firepower up front to score goals to win games.
David Ward

Iron give themselves mountain to climb
Iron could not quite do enough at Sincil bank to take away a point against Lincoln side who were forced to play with ten men for much of the game due to Tony Diange's dismissal straight after half time. After finding themselves two goals behind at the break, Braintree gave themselves a chance through Kenny Davis, who slotted away a penalty won by Jordan Cox after Diange's foul in the area. With the Imps pulling away again through Ben Tomlinson, Iron left it late to reply, meaning that the task in hand was too much on the day with Lincoln running out 3-2 winners.
Alan Devonshire held nothing back about what he had seen following the game, issuing a warning shot to the squad that he had no problems with replacing those that will not stand and fight. "Poor goals were given away, especially the third one and I feel like we should have got something out of it in the end.
At the end of the day, they are moaning about a sending off which I thought was harsh to be fair, I thought it was a penalty as he dragged him back, but I didn't think it was a sending off. My lads got a five inch gash brought about by the number nine, and there was nothing given. And the referee has seen blood spilt from his head. He's got to go and have five to eight stitches for it now. He comes off the pitch for five or seven minutes, and its back to 10 vs 10, so we're penalised for it.
I'm disappointed in certain players, if I have to go and get some new players after Monday I will, but the problem is if one comes in then one goes out, and I've told them that in there today. I wasn't happy at all. I don't panic about any situation we're in, I know what needs to be done and it's down to me as a manager to try and get the players in that I have been after for a while now. At the end of the day I always knew it was going to be a tough season. Everyone knows we've got the smallest budget in the league and we have to do the best we can."
As the game got underway, Jordan Cox showed his hunger, closing down the opposition goalkeeper Nick Townsend, and blocking his delivery which rebounded out for a goal kick. But the home side were soon ahead through Sean Newton when they made a brief spell of pressure count. Crosses were delivered back and forth across the Braintree box as Iron struggled to clear their lines. Eventually, the ball was put out for a corner, which would hand the Imps the lead as Newton met the ball in at the near post, guiding the ball into the far bottom corner with a headed effort.
Some nice footwork from Michael Bakare allowed the forward to find Kenny Davis in the middle of the park, who played the ball out to Dan Sparkes wide on the right. Sparke's delivery in was cut out by Jake Caprice as he looked for Jordan Cox in the area, and the Iron were made to start again as their corner came to nothing.
Quarter of an hour in, two corners in quick succession allowed Ben Tomlinson to pick the ball up on the edge of the area, then requiring a great save from Nick Hamann to stop the hosts from doubling their lead. Michael Bakare tried his luck from the edge of the area, but could not test goalkeeper Nick Townsend as his effort trickled to the man between the sticks.
No sooner that Iron found their first real attempt on goal would the home side deal a further blow when scorer became provider on twenty minutes. Sean Newton crossed from deep on the left into Hamza Bencherif, who nodded virtually unchallenged into the back of the net to double Iron's woes.
Just beyond the half hour mark, the flag stayed down for Jordan Cox who sprinted onto a ball played through the middle moments after having a shot scooped up by Townsend. Iron continued to add some pressure when Alan Massey blasted a shot from the edge of the box, which was blocked and lofted away by the Imps.
Lincoln were soon on the attack again when Ben Tomlinson picked up the ball on the hosts right hand side. Without a viable option ahead of him, Tomlinson carried the ball across the edge of the Iron box, going on the shoot with his left hard and low at the Iron goal, but missing the target by a fair distance.
As the half drew to a close, Dan Sparkes provided one last chance to pull one back before the break, curling in a decent effort towards the head of Mitch Brundle. The centre back flicked the delivery towards goal, but misjudged slightly as the ball skipped out for a goal kick which would be the last kick of the half.
Alan Devonshire looked to bring about a change when James Mulley was brought off for Ryan Case at half time. Moments after the start of the second half, the game was turned on its head when Jordan Cox was pulled down in the area by Tony Diange. Diange saw red despite home protest, and Kenny Davis was handed the opportunity to get back into the game with the majority of the half still to play. Davis coolly slotted the ball down the middle to grab a goal back for the Iron, with Townsend diving to his right.
As Iron searched to get something out of the game, Jordan Cox looked to have been held back again on the edge of the area, but the referee signalled a goal kick this time. Two minutes after the incident, the Imps were to increase the lead to two once more through Ben Tomlinson. Tomlinson easily got behind Sam Habergham to latch onto a great ball through the middle, and guided the ball across goal and beyond and outstretched Nick Hamann to extend the home advantage.
With twenty minutes left to play and two goals behind, Alan Devonshire looked to force a change in the game again by making a double substitution. Dan Walker came on for Sam Habergham, and Sean Marks took to the field in place of Michael Bakare.
On seventy five minutes, a spell of danger for the home side saw crosses exchanged between the flanks, finally resulting in Kenny Davis drilling a shot at Nick Townsend. Both Dan Sparkes and Mitch Brundle had to go off at times to receive treatment in the final ten minutes, Dan for what looked like an ankle injury and Mitch for a head wound. Both returned to the field of play, and Brundle could not have made more of an impact upon his return, scoring in the 90th minute to hand the Iron a chance. Brundle picked the ball up just outside the box, and fired a deflected shot into the back on the net as five minutes of injury time was announced.
Braintree searched for an last gasp equaliser when Dan Sparkes fell in the are three minutes into time added, but a point was too much to ask as time ran out for the Iron with the score line stuck at 3-2.
Lincoln City: Townsend, Caprice, Diagne, Brown, Newton, Bencherif, Nolan, Mendy, Power, Burrow (Marshall), Tomlinson. Unused Subs: Kabba, Robinson, Everington, Farman. Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham (Walker), Isaac, Massey (Case), Davis, Sparkes, Bakare (Marks), Cox, Peters, Mulley. Unused Subs: Clerima, Pentney. Referee: John Whiteley. Assistant Referee: Chris Francis and Matthew Smith. Fourth Official: Duncan Carratt. Attendance: 2231. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Early dominance slips away
Braintree Town suffered at the wrong end of a game of two halves against Chester on Saturday. A goal to the good at the interval, having squandered a number of other chances, Iron conceded three goals in nineteen second half minutes.
Braintree were in control for much of the first half. Both Chez Isaac and Sean Marks tested Chester keeper Freddie Hall, with Marks rattling the crossbar. Iron then took a deserved lead mid-way through the half when Chester's John Disney handled in the visitors 18-yard box and skipper Kenny Davis despatched the result spot kick for 1-0. Iron continued to press and could have doubled their lead when Marks saw another header dip just wide of the target.
But it all fell apart for Braintree after the re-start. Having survived a warning early on when Chester hit the post, Iron keeper Nick Hamann could do little to prevent Sean McConville's shot on 48 minutes.
Chris Iwelumo then headed Chester into the lead on 64 minutes and McConville secured the points with another shot from close range, having taken advantage of the worrying gaps in the Braintree defence.
After the game Iron Manager Alan Devonshire was less than pleased: "We did well before the break, but we have to put our chances away. We could have turned around three or four goals ahead, but you've always got a chance at 1-0 and, credit to Chester, they took their chances during the second half."
He added: "As good as we were first half, I felt we were very ordinary after half time and I've got a bit of work to do next week."

Massey brace blows Dover away
Braintree quickly bounced back from their opening day loss against Macclesfield with a convincing win at Cressing Road, scoring three times without response. Dan Sparkes earned his crust on the night, setting up all three goals from set pieces which the Iron effectively capitalised on to secure all three points. Iron manager Alan Devonshire was delighted with the response.
"It was a good display from us tonight. I'm delighted for them. I think they let themselves down on Saturday and I think they felt that as well so I'm delighted.
On Alan Massey "I did tell him. I said you're going in too early at near post and he listened to me and scored two goal."
"The whole team did so much better on Saturday and that's what we need to do. We've got another game Saturday and we want to make this a fortress here. We're a mobile team and if we play it right, people are going to struggle against us and that's what we want to do."
"I thought the back four was tremendous as well as going forward. That's the way we need to play"
Iron's first chance came from a corner in from Dan Sparkes made its way out to Kenny Davis, who put his foot on the ball in the area in search of support, but with no options opted to punt the ball at goal, which deflected up and was punched away by the visiting goalkeeper. As Dover made little of their corner at the other end, Sean Raggett saw yellow when he body checked Nick Hamann who was looking to release quickly after collecting the ball in.
With Iron winning a free kick on the left hand side, the home fans did not have to wait too long for the first goal of the season at Cressing road thanks to a great Dan Sparkes delivery. The whipped ball across goal was read well by Alan Massey who connected form just a few yards in front of goal to bag the Iron first goal of the campaign within the quarter of an hour mark.
Iron searched for a second with a hopeful bicycle kick from Mitch Brundle, and looked threatening from set pieces which they continued to deliver with vigour into the White's penalty area. Mulley capitalised on the pressure, securing the second on 25minutes by finishing Walker's trickery. Walker flicked the ball over his head, looking to set himself up on his left, but Mulley stepped in and placed the ball into the net, easily beating the Dover Athletic goalkeeper to double the lead.
The away cries for a penalty were waved away by referee Craig Hicks when Chris Kinnear went down in the area after failing to meet a lofty delivery in. Marks managed to meet yet another corner for the Iron down the over end, but directed straight at the Dover goalkeeper five minutes before half time as he failed to make it three. With Braintree dominating the first half, the referee blew on a 2-0 lead to give the away side a tough test in the second half if they were to take anything from the game.
With a slower start following half time, Dover looked to force a change by making a double substitution, playing with three up front for much of the second half. The rain began to fall again on Cressing road, but chances dried up on the pitch until Marks was set free just after the hour mark. Bearing down on goal, Marks drilled a shot which was met by the rushing Mitch Walker and cleared long to switch pressure to the home end. Mulley did well to put the ball behind for a corner as pressure was applied by the Dover front line. Dan Sparkes looked to punish from a double set piece on 73 minutes, first from a free kick which was drilled into the wall and deflected behind goal. The resulting corner teased the orange shirts in the box, going out for a goal kick.
Dover cried again for a penalty through a hand ball by Isaac in the area. The ball flicked up and at the wrist of Isaac, but the referee waved away appeals again to the frustration of the visiting crowd.
Following the introduction of Jordan Cox for Sean Marks late on in the game who saw out a trickling ball for a corner, Sparkes was to set up again from a set piece on the 85th minute. Another good delivery in by Sparks was read well for a second time by Alan Massey who put the game out of sight with the final five minutes played out without another chance.
Provider of three Dan Sparkes reflected after the game on the performance.
"We've come back tonight, we knew what we had to do. We had to put things right from Saturday and that's what we did."
"Maybe it was first game of the season nerves. We made no excuses on Saturday we were poor. I've been telling Massey to do all season what he has done tonight and he's done it. Set pieces have always been my strength. Everyone knows what they are doing and finally tonight we pulled it off."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac, Massey, Walker (Bakare), Davis, Marks (Cox), Sparkes, Peters, Mulley (Maybanks). Unused Subs: Case, Pentney. Dover Athletic: Walker, Stone (Nanetti), Wynter, Kinnear, Raggett, Orlu, Modeste, Bellamy, Cogan (Payne), Sterling, Reid (Elder). Unused subs: Lock, Deverdics. Referee: Craig Hicks. Assistants: Craig Green and Martyn Holmes. Fourth Official: George Sprague.
Match report by Chris Pargin.

Goal-less Braintree frustrated in Cheshire
Braintree manager Alan Devonshire had frustration written all over his face at the end of the seasonal opener at Moss Rose on Saturday having seen his side control most of the game but fail to find the net leaving them a long journey home without picking up at least a point.
"I'm gutted because we looked the better side but in all honesty we didn't play well," he said. "For a start we didn't create enough but overall we didn't to ourselves any justice and I'll have to get that sorted out for our next home games.
"We started well, gave away what was clearly an offside goal, came back into it but really in the second we ran out of ideas which is disappointing. The subs coming on didn't make the impact I expected and we have to do better.
Defensively we were good as we were all last season," he added.
The Iron, starting with only one new signing in the line-up - French defender Remy Clerima - replacing the departed Dean Wells - looked solid at the back all afternoon and they always looked the more threatening side going forward.
But it was a regular problem for the Iron showing lots of effort and hard work but not enough penetration and lacking that little bit of quality with their finishing where it matters.
The Iron had started cautiously with just Sean Marks left up front as the one striker but they still created well from midfield and while goal scoring chances were few and far between they did have opportunities with Mark, Chez Issac, James Mulley and Kenny Davis with possible chances.
It was much against the run of play when the home side took the lead on 15 minutes courtesy of a free-kick swung into the Iron area where hesitation allowed Chris Holroyd to side the ball into the net with a left-footed shot.
The second half was much the same with the Iron pushing forward and looking to score but they just failed with their final ball into the danger area.
Devonshire threw caution to the win on the hour after which he brought on three strikers - Michael Bakara (for Dan Sparkes 61), Dan Walker (for Issac 79) and Jordan Cox (for Marks 62) - and they each battled hard for the equaliser but again that lack of finnese and quality in the final quarter was the problem.
Defensively the Iron were good value so much so that keeper Nik Hamann had little to do all afternoon apart from picking the ball out of his net for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Clerima, Massey, Habergham, Issac, Davis, Paine, Sparkes, Mulley, Marks. Unused subs: Brundle, Pentney. Attendance: 1,309.
Next up, Iron host Dover Athletic in their first home game on Tuesday, kick off 7 45pm and they will be without utility player Matt Paine who was on the end of a bad tackle from a home player.
"Yes, sadly he's going to be out for a while - it was really a bad tackle but amazingly it wasn't even given as a foul," added Devonshire.

Clubhouse will be open from 1pm-3pm for collect your season tickets on Saturday
Those Iron supporters who are yet to collect their season tickets for the forthcoming 2014/15 campaign can do so between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday afternoon from the Iron Clubhouse. Peter Tilbrook will be looking after the tickets.

Iron heading up the M6 on Saturday
Braintree Town look forward to Saturday's inaugural Vanarama Conference trip to Macclesfield Town full of confidence with plenty of goals from pre-season and everyone fit and available for selection! Last season we won 1-0 at the Moss Rose ground at the end of August, but the Silkmen got their revenge at Cressing Road winning by the same scoreline in April. A defeat that put a big dent in our play-off hopes as we played every two or three days! Kick-off at Macclesfield on Saturday is 3pm and admission prices are: Adult seats-18, Adult standing-14, Concession seats-14, Concession standing-10, U18/Students-5, U12-3. Directions for those travelling are as follows. Exit the M6 at junction 17 (Sandbach) and follow the A534 to Congleton. From here take the A536 to Macclesfield (Macclesfield is signposted from the Motorway). After passing the 'Millers' pub on the left continue for about 1/4 of a mile and take the first right after the speed-camera onto Moss Lane. Follow Moss Lane until you reach the ground.

Goals aplenty in Peterborough
Braintree Town completed their pre-season build up with a five-goal victory at Peterborough Northern Star on Tuesday evening. Two goals from Dan Walker put Iron ahead before the break and that tally was doubled by a brace from Sean Marks after the interval. Dan Sparkes added the fifth to complete a confidence-boosting finale before Saturday's inaugural Vanarama Conference trip to Macclesfield Town on Saturday.

French defender joins Iron squad
Braintree Town have signed REMY CLERIMA from Vanarama Conference North side Brackley Town. Clerima, who will be 24 in September, switched to Brackley from Histon last February. The French defender arrived at the Glass World Stadium in 2010 and went on to make 129 appearances for the Cambridgeshire club, netting nine goals.

Board Statement from Vanarama Conference - Respect
The Vanarama Conference has listened to supporters, especially those bringing children to matches, before embarking on the next stage of its Respect programme, designed to tackle concerns and to continue its objectives to make the match day experience enjoyable for everyone involved.
Two Board directives, one a new initiative, are now required to be closely monitored by appointed Club Respect Directors, who will be responsible for overseeing issues that come under the Competition's scrutiny, designed to increase 'Respect & Sportsmanship' through applying consistent standards.
Non-playing staff have been instructed not to enter the field of play at half time or full time. They are asked to allow match officials to return to their Dressing Room unimpeded. This will reduce the potential of confrontation, which often leads to scenes that discredit those individuals concerned and their Clubs. These unhelpful scenes frequently lead to unpleasant incidents which result in strong disciplinary sanctions being imposed by the Football Association.
The second initiative is the reinforcement of a practice introduced by the Conference approximately six years ago. The Board has mandated Clubs to ensure that any member of its bench personnel, if dismissed from the Technical Area by the Match Referee, must be directed to a place that does not afford a view of the pitch, for the remainder of the match. The object of the exercise being to prevent continuing undesirable conduct, in full gaze of the viewing public; and to protect the participant from being the subject of similar unpleasant conduct from others.
Chairman Brian Lee commented: "The Conference has been showing an improvement year on year with on-field player discipline, which is a welcome trend; but we accept the actions of some individuals still raise concern. The two areas now to be focussed upon have been identified in various communications received from supporters who attend matches. Unacceptable language is also high on the agenda of dislikes pointed out by spectators, particularly those attending with children. Collectively we must recognise that 'family values' are so important, if clubs are to see long term return from their efforts to encourage and retain future generations of support".
"It is impossible to remove all emotion from our game, and no football lover would want to, but the lack of self control demonstrated by a few individuals needs to be addressed. Bad language and confrontation on the field with match officials is unseemly and erodes our efforts to attract more families. Quite simply, these are elements of our great game which The Vanarama Conference seeks to eradicate. Clubs have been warned to take ownership and how to do it.
Individuals who misbehave will be accountable to the Football Association. Ultimately though it is down to our Members to enforce the directives on a match day. Penalties can be punitive. We want our Clubs to sit up, 'smell the coffee', and advise their Staff how to conduct themselves, thus avoiding stringent financial penalties and the unnecessary suspension of individuals for their lack of self control".

Available for collection on Tuesday and Thursday
Season tickets for this season's Vanarama Conference campaign are ready! Those applicants who enclosed a stamped addressed envelope will have their tickets posted tomorrow (Monday) and those who wish to collect their tickets will be able to do so from the Club Office on Tuesday (from 11am - 4pm) and Thursday (11am - 4pm) and from the Clubhouse on Tuesday evening (from 7.30pm - 9pm) and Thursday evening (from 7.30pm - 9pm). Unclaimed tickets will be available for collection at the tickets turnstile on Tuesday, 12th August, when we entertain Dover Athletic.

Dan Walker gets the goal
Braintree Town continued their pre-season build-up with a single-goal victory at Wealdstone's Grosvenor Vale ground. The deciding goal came nine minutes before the break when Dan Walker's low effort from the edge of the box could not be held by the home 'keeper Jonathan North and crept inside the near upright. Iron hit the post after the break but could not ado their tally. Next up for Braintree is a re-arranged friendly match at Peterborough Northern Star this coming Tuesday, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Mitch Brundle joins Braintree
Braintree Town Manager Alan Devonshire has added defender Mitch Brundle to the Iron Squad for the coming season. Mitch, who will be twenty in December, started his career at Millwall and Yeovil before signing his first contract at Bristol City last summer. Although Mitch did not make a first team appearance for the Ashton Gate club, he did make eight League Two appearances while on loan at Cheltenham Town earlier this year.

Devs test two more trialists
A youthful West Ham side proved too strong for the Iron in the penultimate friendly of the pre-season, running out 2-0 winners on the night. Alan Devonshire looked at his options again, offering two trialists a start who went on to play the majority of the game. Iron did win a penalty late on, which was well saved by the West Ham goalkeeper, playing in front of a decent turnout again at Cressing Road. Dan Sparkes found himself through five minutes into the game when a wayward pass was picked up inside the West Ham half. Sparkes' shot was easily collected by the West Ham 'keeper, but Braintree created another chance just moments later. Sam Habergham tore down the left hand side, blazing a ball across the face of goal which was taped just wide of the right post in a lively start for Iron. Elliott Lee was then caught offside twice by a Braintree back line that were quick off the mark, including a trialist looking to fill the right centre back position. A chance was soon dealt to the trialist up the other end, who side footed with his left over the bar from a corner just a few yards out. Dan Sparkes played in a free kick from the right twenty minutes in, but again the delivery could not be capitalised on before West Ham had their first real opportunity to put the visitors ahead. Being played in from the left, Kieran Sadler ran unchallenged at the Iron backline, drilling his shot across goal, but just wide of Hamann's left post. Sparkes soon had another chance when a backward header set up a volley for Dan, who fired over with 30minutes played. Elliott Lee looked as if he had stepped into the same shoting boots when he fired his effort over down the other end following some nice build up play from the visiting side. Hamann pulled off a great save when Josh Cullen blasted a shot hard and low, but with Braintree failing to clear their lines, the deadlock was to be broken. The rebounded ball found its way to Kieran Sadlier, who fed into the path of Elliott Lee. Lee side footed unchallenged into the back of the net three minutes before the referee's half time whistle. With mass changes in the visiting team, a slow start to the second half meant that it was almost 15 minutes before a chance was created. Mulley put one over for the home side, but it was again Elliott Lee that stung Iron, slotting home a close ranger to double the away advantage. The West Ham trialist who was introduced in the second half took a shot after failing to win a free kick with a dramatic fall, firing wide from a way out. Kieran Sadler repeated the same effort seconds later, followed by an attempt with his other foot which flew over and into the car park as the Hammers searched for a third. A quick ball into Sam Habergham from a free kick inside the West Ham half allowed the left back to send in a searching ball. However, that was all it was to do when failing to find an orange shirt, it skipped to safety. Minutes later, James Mulley won a penalty when he was brought down going away from goal inside the visitor's penalty area. Kenny Davis stepped up, but the West Ham goalkeeper dived down well to his right to prevent the skipper from pulling one back before the full time whistle. Iron travel to Peterborough Northern Star in the final friendly of their pre-season campaign with their next home game against Dover Athletic on Tuesday 12th August. Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Habergham, Paine, Massey, Trialist, Davis, Trialist, Sparkes, Brundle, Mulley. Subs: Petney, Case, Cutajar, Maybanks, Moore, Green, Gomis. West Ham United: Brown, Westley, Page, Cullen, Burke, Pusk, Turgott, Bywater, Lee, Lletget, Sadlier. West Ham United 2nd half: St Louis-Hamilton, Westley, Onariase, Makasi, Akinola, Knoyle, Diangana, Lletget, Trialist, Lee, Sadlier. Subs: Maiga. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Bakare brace and Mulley winner secure victory
Braintree Town made the journey around the M25 to visit Ryman League side Kingstonian and, despite going two-goals behind early on, recovered to win 3-2. Goals from Sam Page and Andre McCollin gave the K's a 2-0 lead before Michael Bakare reduced the deficit before the break. Bakare added a second with 20 minutes remaining to level the scores before James Mulley netted the winner with five minutes remaining to secure the 3-2 win. Next up for Braintree is the visit of a West Ham United XI this evening - Tuesday 29 July. Kick-off tonight is 7.45pm and admission prices for the game, which is pay at the turnstiles on the day, are as follows: 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s. A small quantity of programmes will be on sale at 50p.

Davis penalty puts Braintree ahead
Braintree Town were beaten 2-1 at home by last season's Promotion Final winners Cambridge United at Cressing Road on Saturday. Iron had the best possible start when they took a second minute lead. James Mulley was fouled in the visitors 18 yard box and skipper Kenny Davis stepped up to tuck the resultant spot kick past United keeper Chris Dunn. But the advantage didn't last long as United levelled within another two minutes. Ryan Donaldson released Tom Elliott behind the static Iron defence and he took a touch before placing his shot past the exposed Nick Hamann. United added the winner on the hour. Nick Hamann produced heroics to deny Harrison Dunk's effort, but could do little as the resultant corner was swung over by Donaldson and headed home by Elliott. Next up for Braintree is a trip to Ryman Leaguers Kingstonian on Monday evening, followed by the visit of a West Ham United XI the following evening - Tuesday 29 July. Kick-off on both Monday and Tuesday is 7.45pm and admission prices for the West Ham United game, which is pay at the turnstiles on the day, are as follows: 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s. A small quantity of programmes will be on sale at 50p.

Iron host United before their return to the Football League
Braintree Town host their fourth pre-season friendly match against Football League opposition this coming Saturday, 26th July, when newly promoted Cambridge United are the visitors to the Cressing Road Stadium. Iron and United were regularly paired over the Christmas and New Year holiday during the past three years and last season saw Braintree lose 1-0 at The Abbey on Boxing Day, but win the delayed return at home 1-0 in February, courtesy of a goal from Dan Sparkes. Cambridge United went on to win promotion via the end of season play-offs. Having defeated FC Halifax Town 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals, The U's booked their return to The Football League after a nine year wait with a 2-1 Promotion Final victory over Gateshead at Wembley, with goals from Liam Hughes and Ryan Donaldson. Kick-off is 3pm and admission prices for the game, which is pay at the turnstiles on the day, are as follows: 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s. A small quantity of programmes will be on sale at 50p.

Early goals too much for Braintree
A strong Braintree XI made the short journey to Conference South neighbours Chelmsford City for another pre-season match last (Wednesday) evening and came away beaten by three goals to one. Iron were behind in the opening minute when Mark Hughes headed home from close range and Michael Cheek doubled that advantage on 12 minutes when his shot bounced over Nick Hamann. Luke Callander's quickly taken free-kick made it 3-0 just before the half hour before Jordan Cox completed a well-worked move to reduce the arrears before the interval. Braintree did a little better during the second half, but it remained goal-less and the match finished 3-1. Next up for Braintree is the visit of Cambridge United this coming Saturday afternoon for another pre-season match, with kick-off at 3pm.

Thousands raised for Iron legend
Iron long-term servant Brad Quinton stepped onto the Cressing road pitch for one last time in his testimonial match against Ipswich Town. The sun shone on Brad and the team in what made for a great send off for the Iron man whose 546 appearances will go down in Braintree Town history. The first half saw a very strong Iron side take on the Tractor boys, in what turned out to be an even affair for much of the first half. Kenny Davis and Sean Marks had chances, but it would be the visitors that would take the lead. Ipswich trialist Leeroy Lita found himself through on goal when he received a ball over the top from Bru. Only an arm across Lita's body prevented the shot, and subsequent free kick fired over the bar before Dan Walker fired into the goalkeeper's hands up the other end on the half hour mark. But it was Ipswich who found the back of the net five minutes later when Lita was presented with a tap in from Nathan MacDonald. MacDonald dived low to parry a free kick from just outside the area into Lita's path, who could do nothing but score from just yards in front of the goal line. Bakare did well to intercept 2 minutes before half time coming on as a substitute, turning to shoot from outside the box, but fired well over. It was Brad had the final chance of the half himself, standing over a free kick with intent, but blasting into the Ipswich wall to find himself on the wrong end of a 1-0 score line at half time. The Tractor boys had the chance to extend their lead ten minutes into the second half, with Petney's bar struck from a free kick. Quinton stepped up again for the home side on the hour mark for a free kick 25 yards out. The shot was drilled low and into the 'keeper's arms in what would be Brad's last kick in an Iron shirt. Walking off to a standing ovation, Brad applauded the crowd showing his respect for the Iron faithful, taking up a seat in the dugout to watch the remaining 30 minutes. With wholesale changes in the second half, both sides failed to really threaten; the biggest applaud going to the announcement of over 3000 being raised for Bradley from the game. There's no rest for Iron who will travel to the Melbourne tonight to face Chelmsford City in their next pre-season friendly. Attendance: 467. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Braintree Town v Ipswich Town
This coming Tuesday evening, 22nd July we will be entertaining an Ipswich Town XI. The match will be a testimonial game for long-serving player Brad Quinton who has reluctantly had to retire from the game after making 546 appearances for the Club. Brad will be playing on Tuesday evening and all Iron supporters are invited to show their appreciation for a true Braintree Town man. Kick-off is 7.30pm and admission prices for the game, which is pay at the turnstiles on the day, are as follows: 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s.

51 points and the need for better
Speaking to Iron manager Alan Devonshire prior to Saturday's victory over Southend United, Alan re-iterated his focus on strengthening his squad ahead of the season. True to form, the Iron boss has refused to alter the objectives of the club at this stage, despite only narrowly missing out on a play-off place last season. Answering a few questions from Chris Pargin Alan confirmed that, although he has already added two fresh faces to his squad, the club are moving to bring in three or four more for the start of the season.

We'll start with asking what are the aims and objectives for the season ahead?
- "51 points! 51 points as always, that is the starting point and the quicker that we can get there then we can re-evaluate. We're not going to get carried away with the three seasons that we have had, it's going to be tough. Southport last season only just stayed up, the year before they finished sixth, just missing out on the play-offs. It's going to be a tough tough league."
With Dean leaving, it's left a bit of a hole. What have you got on the horizon in terms of new additions? Is there anyone that's going to be able to fill that space?
- "Well we hope so. I'm not going to rush anything, I've got a few different options. It's about picking the right player to play in that position. It's hard to replace Deano as we know but at the end of the day it gives someone else an opportunity."
You've got a couple in already with Charlie (Strutton) and Dan (Walker) ...
- "Yes, we lost Dan Holman, he was our top goal scorer so we lost our top goal scorer and our best defender, so they're going to be hard to replace. Up front I think we are ok when the boys are back and fully fit, but we need to get somebody at the back and that's what I'm working on at the moment."
So with two new faces how many are you looking to add?
- "I'm looking for another three or four to add, but they've got to be as good as or better than what we've got, so that's what we're working on at the moment."
Alan has another chance to look at his squad ahead of the coming season this week with games against Ipswich Town at Cressing Road on Tuesday evening and at Chelmsford City on Wednesday evening.

Third friendly win in a week for Iron
Braintree Town won their third pre-season match in a week with a deserved odd goal in three victory over a full strength Southend United side at the Cressing Road Stadium on Saturday. Michael Bakare put the Essex side ahead after 42 minutes when he broke on the left before driving the ball past Southend keeper Danny Bentley from a tight angle. The Roots Hall club levelled in similar fashion early in the second half through Barry Corr, but conceded a second with 22 minutes remaining. Braintree's James Mulley was caught as he broke free of the Shrimpers defence and skipper Kenny Davis stepped up to tuck the resultant spot kick home. Don't forget that Tuesday evening sees long-serving Brad Quinton's testimonial against Ipswich Town at Cressing Road with kick-off at 7.30pm.

Braintree continue build up against Southend United
Braintree Town continue their pre-season build up with the visit of League Two side Southend United to the Cressing Road Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. Please note that the kick-off for this match is 1pm.
Iron entertained the Roots Hall club last pre-season and got their pre-season campaign off and running with a high tempo match. We took a sixth minute lead when excellent work on the right from Newman Carney set up Dan Holman wide on the left of the Southend penalty area. Despite fighting a seemingly lost cause, Dan was able to get the better of the United full back and lifted the ball across the six yard box for the waiting Sean Marks to head home. Southend levelled on 26 minutes when pressure from Hemmings saw Matt Paine's attempted clearance loop over Nathan McDonald, but Iron secured the winner with six minutes remaining. Nicky Symons broke from half way before firing his effort with venom low into the bottom right corner from 25 yards.
Admission prices for the game, which is pay at the turnstiles on the day, are as follows: 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s.

Strong Norwich side too good for Braintree
Braintree kicked off their home pre-season campaign in a changed white strip, unfamiliar to Cressing Road. A strong side was fielded by the Canaries, who ran out 6-1 winners on the night. Both sides made the most of the squads at their disposal, making mass changes in the second half with Alan Devonshire introducing some trialists in the fold against the Championship opposition. Wes Hoolahan won free-kick just outside the 18 yard box, which was fired straight into the arms of Nick Hamann by Bradley Johnson early on. At the other end, Chez isaac's free kick was deflected over for a corner, which he delivered near post to the head of Alan Massey. A stooping Massey could not test the keeper, turning the ball over for a goal kick. The next Norwich attack was to lead to the opener, as Hoolahan was played in from the right just in front of goal. Looking like he was going to shoot, Hoolahan coolly found Andrew Surman to his left unchallenged, who had enough time to open his body and slot the ball into Hamann's bottom left corner. Sean Marks came close to equalising just two minutes later for the Iron, receiving a ball deep inside the Canaries' half. Marks beat the keeper with his right footed effort, but could not beat the post as his shot bounced off the woodwork and out to safety. On the 26th minute Kyle Lafferty extended the lead for the away side with a fine free-kick from 25yards out. Lafferty curled the ball around the Iron wall, sending Hamann scrambling across goal, but unable to meet the shot which found the side netting. Some great build up play from Norwich led to a cross in from the right by Elliott Bennett. A towering Kyle Lafferty directed his header from inside the Iron box onto the crossbar, leaving the trailing by just the two goals going into the second half.
With mass changes at half time from Canaries manager Neil Adams, second half introduction Ricky Van Wolfswinkel needed just one touch to open his account, passing the ball into an empty net with Hamann committed out of his box from the off. Nathan Redmond added another ten minutes later with a thunderous strike from outside the Iron box. Just past the hour mark, Norwich added a fifth through Bradley Johnson after making another two substitutions. Norwich's fresh legs began to run away with the tie, with the home side introducing only Jordan Cox and Michael Bakare until this point. Jordan Cox was played through from the left hand side, and looked likely to open the scoring for the Iron but appeared to be held back by the covering Norwich defender. However, the referee waved away appeals to leave the home side searching again with Norwich introducing an eleventh change minutes later. But the Iron wasn't to search for their opener for too much longer when Sean Marks found the net with a header. An Isaac free-kick delivery across goal was headed back to Marks, who glanced across goal to guide the ball past Dunn to the delight of the home support. Norwich added a sixth minutes from the end, with the Iron now a much changed side also as Devonshire took the opportunity to take a look at what was on offer for the season ahead. Josh Murphy whipped in a ball from the left, reaching Van Wolfswinkel at the back post who added a tap in to his tally for the night. A decent game by both sides pleased the 833 turnout at Cressing Road, with the strong Norfolk following taking a 6-1 win on the night.
Braintree Town: Hamann, Case, Habergham, Isaac, Paine, Massey, Mulley, Davis, Marks, Walker, Hawkins
Norwich City: Ruddy, Johnson, Martin, Turner, Howson, Lafferty, Hooper, Hoolahan, Bennett, Olsson, Surman
Norwich City second half: Dunn, Whittaker, Bennett, Turner, Garrido, Redmond, Howson, Johnson, Murphy, Van Wolfswinkel, Grabban.
Match report by Chris Pargin.

First home friendly on Tuesday evening
Braintree Town continue their pre-season build up with the visit of Norwich City to Cressing Road on Tuesday evening, 15th July. We understand that the Carrow Road club will be sending the first team squad over for the game and kick-off is 7.45pm. Admission prices for the game, which is pay at the turnstiles on the night, are as follows: 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s.

Braintree hit eleven in three hours
Braintree Town got their pre-season campaign underway with eleven goals on Saturday, four in the 11.30am kick-off at Stanway Rovers, followed by seven at Long Melford in the afternoon game. Jordan Cox and Michael Bakare scored two each in the morning game, while Dan Sparkes scored a six minute second-half hat-trick at Long Melford. The other goals coming from Sean Marks (two), a Chez Isaac penalty and a late seventh from Ronnie Hawkins.

Stanway and Long Melford away on Saturday
With pre-season training going well at Cressing Road, the Iron squad turn their attentions to the first of the pre-season friendlies this coming Saturday. The Braintree Town players, together with selected trialists, will play two games - the first at Thurlow Nunn Leaguers Stanway Rovers, kick-off: 11.30am, the second at Thurlow Nunn Leaguers Long Melford, kick-off: 3pm. For those travelling to these grounds for the first time, addresses are as follows:

Stanway Rovers FC, The Hawthorns, New Farm Road, Colchester, Essex CO3 0PG.
Long Melford FC, Stoneylands, New Road, Long Melford, Suffolk CO10 9JY.

Braintree Town's full pre-season schedule is as follows:
Saturday 12 July - away v Stanway Rovers, kick-off: 11.30am, away v Long Melford, kick-off 3pm.
Tuesday 15 July - home v Norwich City, kick-off 7.45pm.
Saturday 19 July - home v Southend United, kick-off: 1pm
Tuesday 22 July - away v Peterborough Northern Star, kick-off: 7.45pm
Wednesday 23 July - away v Chelmsford City, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 26 July - home v Cambridge United, kick-off: 3pm
Monday 28 July - away v Kingstonian, kick-off: 7.45pm
Tuesday 29 July - home v West Ham United XI, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 2 August - away v Wealdstone, kick-off: 3pm

New kit available online
Braintree Town can confirm that current shirt sponsors Miles Smith Insurance Group have extended their longstanding support of the Iron for further season. The Club plan to hold an official kit launch and media day soon, details to be announced when the squad has been finalised. The new home shirt which has received a favourable reaction, again supplied by Errea has a white collar with a subtle change to the sponsors logo and the shorts will be the same blue with an orange flash. The popular away kit will be similar to last year though slight changes to the shirt with a silver trim and orange print and the shorts will be white. In the meantime you can be one of the first Iron fans to wear the new shirts. Just click on the club website and place your order on line.

Away start again - as Braintree head North
Iron start their fourth Football Conference Premier Division campaign with an away trip at Macclesfield Town on the opening day of the season - Saturday, 9th August. The 2014/15 fixtures then continue with two matches at Cressing Road against Dover Athletic on Tuesday, 12th August and Chester on Saturday 16th August. Bank holiday fixtures see Iron entertain Nuneaton Town on August Bank Holiday Monday, 25th August, with the return at Nuneaton on Easter Monday, 6th April. Christmas and New Year fixtures have seen Iron paired with Dartford, with Braintree visiting Princes Park on Boxing Day, followed by the return at Cressing Road on New Year's Day. Both games either side of another home game against Eastleigh on Christmas Sunday, 28th December and the holiday games are followed by a trip to Chester on Sunday, 4th January. Former Football League sides Bristol Rovers and Torquay United visit Cressing Road on Saturday, 6th September and Saturday, 20th December respectively. Iron finish the season at home to Conference North Promotion Final winners Altrincham. As in previous years, Braintree don't start their FA Cup involvement until the fourth and final qualifying round on Saturday 25th October and enter the FA Trophy at the First Round stage on Saturday, 13th December. The opening day fixtures are as follows:

Sad day for football - as Witham Chairman passes away
All at Braintree Town Football Club would like to add their condolences to the family and friends of Witham Town FC Chairman Tony Last who passed away last night. Tony was a popular figure at Cressing Road, assisting the Club for many years before taking over at Spa Road, where he guided Witham to promotion from both the Essex Senior League and Ryman League Division One (North).

Charlie looking to continue - that explosive start to his Iron career
Braintree Town have re-signed 25-year old striker Charlie Strutton. Charlie is well known to the Iron fans having scored six goals in just seven goals while on loan from AFC Wimbledon during September and October last season. He started his career at Chalfont St. Peter before joining AFC Wimbledon in March 2012. After his loan spell with Braintree, Charlie had another loan spell at Aldershot Town, but suffered a broken leg in his first match last November. Since then Charlie has been recovering from his injury, but left AFC Wimbledon at the end of last season.

Iron to visit Melbourne Park - on 23 July
Braintree Town have now confirmed arrangements to visit neighbours Chelmsford City for a friendly match on Wednesday 23rd July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. The Melbourne Park club have advised us that entrance prices for the match will be as follows: adults - 10; OAPs, students and 12 to 18 - 5 and under 12 - free.
Braintree Town's pre-season schedule is as follows:
Saturday 12 July - away v Stanway Rovers, kick-off: 11.30am, away v Long Melford, kick-off 3pm.
Tuesday 15 July - home v Norwich City, kick-off 7.45pm.
Saturday 19 July - home v Southend United, kick-off: 1pm
Tuesday 22 July - away v Peterborough Northern Star, kick-off: 7.45pm
Wednesday 23 July - away v Chelmsford City, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 26 July - home v Cambridge United, kick-off: 3pm
Monday 28 July - away v Kingstonian, kick-off: 7.45pm
Tuesday 29 July - home v West Ham United XI, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 2 August - away v Wealdstone, kick-off: 3pm

Conference office announce - distribution next week
The Football Conference have announced that the fixtures for 2014/15 will be available from 3pm on Friday 4 July. Though originally scheduled for Monday 7 July, this change of release date will allow five full weeks for fans to take advantage of special travel offers. Caution is advised though in respect of Premier Division fixtures, as BT Sport will as soon as practicable, be selecting their first pick of LIVE matches as part of up to 30 Football Conference Premier Division fixtures to be screened by our broadcast partner during 2014/15

Iron add two more - away pre-season trips
Iron have added two more pre-season friendlies to their schedule. Braintree have provisionally agreed to play an away friendly on Wednesday 23rd July, with the game still to be confirmed. However, the Club have confirmed that they will send a side to visit Ryman League side Kingstonian on Monday, 28th July. More news when we have it!
Braintree Town's pre-season schedule is as follows:
Saturday 12 July - away v Stanway Rovers, kick-off: 11.30am, away v Long Melford, kick-off 3pm.
Tuesday 15 July - home v Norwich City, kick-off 7.45pm.
Saturday 19 July - home v Southend United, kick-off: 1pm
Tuesday 22 July - away v Peterborough Northern Star, kick-off: 7.45pm
Wednesday 23 July - away v TBC, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 26 July - home v Cambridge United, kick-off: 3pm
Monday 28 July - away v Kingstonian, kick-off: 7.45pm
Tuesday 29 July - home v West Ham United XI, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 2 August - away v Wealdstone, kick-off: 3pm

Sparkes and Walker - sign contracts at the Club
Braintree Town Manager Alan Devonshire has added two more players to his squad for the forthcoming 2014/2015 season. Both Dan Sparkes and Dan Walker signed contracts at the Club last (Thursday) night. Dan Sparkes is 22 and has spent two years at Cressing Road following his move in the summer of 2012 from Histon. He has already made eighty appearances for The Iron and scored three goals last season. Dan Walker is 24 and rejoins the Club after spending last season with Hereford United. Equally at home in a midfield role or up front, Dan previously spent a spell on loan at the Club in February 2013, when he made four appearances.

Iron agree to transfer request - deal good for the Club
Braintree Town have agreed to a transfer request submitted by defender Dean Wells who will today join League Two side Stevenage for an initial fee of 25,000, that could rise with subsequent payments for appearances, promotion and a sell-on clause. Over the past three years Dean has been an influential part of the Club's consolidation in the top tier of non-League football, playing 120 games and scoring seven goals.
Iron Manager Alan Devonshire was sad to see him leave: "I've worked with Deano for nine years now and when he wanted to take this chance at playing in the League, we felt we couldn't stand in his way, so long as the deal was right for the Club."
Chairman Lee Harding agreed: "Dean has been a great asset for the Club since joining us in 2011 and is the latest player to move on from us into the full time game. Financially, the deal is a good one for our Club and will allow manager Alan Devonshire to not only replace Dean, but also strengthen in other areas."
Following the completion of the move Dean Wells said: "Thanks for the way the Club have looked after me for the last two and a half seasons. I wish you all the best in the future as Braintree is a great club with great fans. I will miss you all from the bottom of my heart."

Sam & Nathan back - but Dan and Dan are free agents
The Club can confirm that Sam Habergham has agreed to extend his contract next season and goalkeeper Nathan McDonald has indicated that he will be returning to Cressing Road for 2014/2015. Neither Dan Holman or Dan Sparkes have accepted the Club's offer of re-engagement and are now free agents to sign for other clubs. With the additional funds available from the Dean Wells transfer, Manager Alan Devonshire is already reviewing and planning additions to his squad over the coming weeks as pre-season training and the friendlies get underway. More news when we have it!

Discount prices to see - Iron take on the pro clubs at home
Reduced admission prices have been agreed for the four pre-season friendlies scheduled for July. The games against Norwich City, Southend United, Cambridge United and a West Ham United XI will cost just 10 for adults, 7 for OAPs and those still in full time education, 5 for under 16s and 3 for under 11s. All games will be 'pay on the day' and supporters will be able to either sit in the main stand or stand anywhere in the ground.

See the World Cup game v Uruguay - on the Clubhouse big screens
You'll be able to watch England's make or break World Cup match against Uruguay live on the big screens in the Clubhouse at Cressing Road this coming Thursday evening. The bar opens at 7pm and the game kicks off at 8pm. All are welcome and there's happy hour prices of 2.50 for Fosters, Carlsberg and Greene King IPA, or just 2 a pint for Social Club members!

Canaries first team squad - to face Iron in July
Braintree Town have completed arrangements for their pre-season matches with a match at Cressing Road against Norwich City's first team on Tuesday, 15th July, with kick-off-off at 7.45pm. Neil Adams' team visit Braintree before flying out to Turin to take on Serie A outfit Sampdoria!

See the World Cup opener - and buy your Iron season ticket
You'll be able to watch the World Cup opening ceremony on the big screens in the Iron clubhouse tonight, followed by the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, which kicks off at 9pm. You can also use the opportunity to purchase your season ticket for the forthcoming Conference Premier Division campaign. An Iron season ticket offers tremendous value with the ticket providing for 23 matches for the cost of just 16 - a discount of over 30%!

Your chance to grab a 30% discount - to see The Iron throughout 2014/2015
Season tickets for the forthcoming Conference Premier Division campaign continue to sell well and the deadline for the discounted prices is this coming Saturday. An Iron season ticket offers tremendous value with the ticket providing for 23 matches for the cost of just 16 - a discount of over 30%! The Clubhouse will be open for season ticket sales this coming Thursday (12th June) evening between 7.30pm and 9pm and again on Saturday afternoon from 12.30pm through to 6pm.

See the Brazil game live Thursday - plus England v Italy Saturday
The Iron clubhouse will be open for many of the World Cup matches including this coming Thursday evening's opening match between hosts Brazil and Croatia, with kick-off on the large screens at 9pm. We will also be show both Group D games on Saturday evening, starting with Uruguay v Costa Rica at 8pm and England's opening game against Italy at 11pm. The clubhouse will be open for the duration of the games and hot food will be on sale from behind the bar!

Southend United to visit - for Saturday 1pm kick-off
Braintree Town have confirmed their third home pre-season friendly match. Iron will entertain League Two side Southend United on Saturday 19th July, with kick-off at 1pm. The Club are still awaiting confirmation of arrangements for the game scheduled for Tuesday, 15th July.
Braintree Town's pre-season schedule is as follows:
Saturday 12 July - away v Stanway Rovers, kick-off: 11.30am, away v Long Melford, kick-off 3pm.
Tuesday 15 July - home v TBC, kick-off 7.30pm.
Saturday 19 July - home v Southend United, kick-off: 1pm
Tuesday 22 July - away v Peterborough Northern Star, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 26 July - home v Cambridge United, kick-off: 3pm
Tuesday 29 July - home v West Ham United XI, kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 2 August - away v Wealdstone, kick-off: 3pm

West Ham date switched - but four League sides to visit
Iron continue to make progress with their pre-season schedule. Please note that the game at home to a West Ham United XI, originally scheduled for Saturday, 19th July, has now been re-arranged. This match will now take place on the following Tuesday week, 29 July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. The Braintree players and trialists will start their pre-season matches with a Saturday double-header on July 12. The Iron squad will visit Thurlow-Nunn League Premier Division side Stanway Rovers for an 11.30am kick-off and follow this with a 3pm kick-off at Thurlow-Nunn League Division One side Long Melford. Arrangements for the games on both Tuesday 15th and Saturday 19th July, both at home to Football League opposition, are still to be confirmed. Alan Devonshire will then send an XI to visit United Counties Premier League side Peterborough Northern Star on Tuesday 22 July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Iron return to Cressing Road on Saturday 26 July for the visit of Cambridge United, just promoted back to the Football League, followed by West Ham United on Tuesday 29 July. Braintree complete their pre-season schedule at Conference South side Wealdstone on Saturday 2 August. The Football Conference Premier Division campaign gets underway on Saturday 9 August.

Matchday prices increase by a pound - but season ticket prices are held!
Braintree Town have agreed their ground and seating prices for the forthcoming 2014/2015 season. While there will be a 1 increase in admission prices for matchday tickets - the first increase in three years at Cressing Road - prices for season tickets purchased on or before Saturday 14 June have been frozen for a fourth successive season! The other good news is that, with the continued backing of the GMB Union, season tickets for all those under 16 will continue to be free of charge!
Chairman Lee Harding said: "We've had to increase our matchday prices to ensure we remain competitive in the Conference. But we do realise the importance of the support we receive from our season ticket holders. So, for those that support the Club by taking advantage of the early purchase option, we have decided to keep these prices at the same levels as last season. The past three seasons have seen top half finishes of 12th, 9th and 6th and we pride ourselves on offering value for money. Alan Devonshire's side continues to consolidate and compete at this level. Supporters play a vital role in our progress and by offering discounted season tickets at the same price for a fourth successive season, together with free tickets for all those under 16, we try to reward those who back the Club through thick and thin."

Contracts extended - and new deals offered
Iron Manager Alan Devonshire has started work on moulding his squad for season 2014/2015. All of this season's successful squad have been invited back for pre-season at the end of June. Seven players have had their contracts at Cressing Road extended. Dean Wells, Alan Massey, Jordan Cox, Sean Marks, Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis and Nick Hamann have all signed new contracts. Six more have been offered new deals for next season: Nathan McDonald, Sam Habergham, Dan Holman, Dan Sparkes, Ryan Peters and Matt Paine. Alan Devonshire admitted to being inundated by requests from players who want to join the Club and we'll announce news on new signings as they're completed!

Iron welcome The Hammers - in July
Braintree Town have confirmed their first pre-season friendly for the forthcoming 2014/2015 season. The Iron will welcome a West Ham United XI to Cressing Road on Saturday 19th July, with kick-off at 3pm. Braintree Town have also agreed to send sides to both Stanway Rovers and Long Melford on dates to be agreed - more news when we have it.

Fired-up Concord Rangers - simply wanted it more
Though the scene was set for Braintree to add some silverware to a successful season, the opportunity passed Iron by when they went down by two goals to one in the Essex Senior Cup final. An impressive team goal finished by Sam Collins was capped off with a cool strike from James White for Concord Rangers, sending Braintree back up the A12 empty handed in their last competitive game of the campaign, with James Mulley adding a consolation in injury time. Braintree showed their intent from kick off, striking the woodwork in the opening minutes with some nice play down the left hand side. Marks and Holman linked up well, switching the play to James Mulley in an advanced position just outside the box. It was an opportunity possibly too early for James Mulley, who scuffed his shot across goal and onto the opposing post. Down the other end, Gary Ogilvie picked up the ball from a throw on the left wing for Concord Rangers, running at Ryan Peters and cutting in at the by-line. Penalty appeals on mass from the men in blue with Ogilvie going to ground in the area were waved away and the ball collected by Hamann. However, Concord made the next chance count and opened the scoring through Sam Collins on 17 minutes. Gary Ogilvie was to thank for a fantastic ball across field from the Rangers left hand side, floating into space for Collins to attack. Latching onto the cross and in plenty of space, Collins struck across goal, finishing well past Nick Hamann to put the Conference South side ahead at Victoria Road. Jamiee Butler did well on the stroke of half time to retain the hard fought lead, reacting well with a double save to force Devonshire's men to face a tough team talk as Barry Holderness blew the whistle. Ten minutes after the break, the Beach boys were screaming for a penalty again when Matt Paine stuck out a leg on the edge of the area. But with the referee ignoring the calls for the second time, Braintree broke down the left, providing Jordan Cox with possession inside the opposition box. Cox looped a ball into the middle of the box, which was met by James Mulley who nodded over. Davis went into the book on the 65th minute for a stamp on the grounded Toby Stokes, leading to a dangerous looking free kick from 25 yards out. It was Collins who struck, demanding the most from the outstretched Nick Hamann who prevented a wonder goal from the scorer of the first. However, Hamann could parry only as far as James White, who put the ball in the back of the net to double the lead for Concord Rangers. With fifteen minutes to go, Bradley Quinton delivered from a corner into a mass of shirts, who watched helplessly as the ball trickled past the post for another corner which was put clear. Iron could not create in the game as they had all season in the league, but added a consolation through James Mulley moments before the referee's whistle. A corner in by Bradley Quinton fell to Mulley, who this time headed home, but it was far too late for a comeback with the referee blowing the signalling an end to the tie from the restart. Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Habergham, Isaac, Paine (Daley), Davis, Marks (Cox), Holman, Sparkes (Quinton), Massey, Mulley. Unused Subs: McDonald, Wells. Concord Rangers: Butler, Gordon, Glozier, Cawley (Lampe), King, Goodacre, Cawley, White, Ogilvie (Easterford), Collins, Stokes. Unused Subs: Alzapiedi Taaffe, Amole. Referee: Barry Holderness. Assistants: Wade Norcott and Thomas Ramsey. Fourth Official: Stuart Cheek. Attendance: 448. Match report by Chris Pargin.

Draw with Grimsby - secures Iron's highest ever finish
Braintree Town completed their Skrill Premier Division season with a goal-less draw against Grimsby Town at the Amlin Stadium to finish the season in a creditable final sixth position. Iron had the better of the exchanges early on and a Dan Sparkes free-kick just missed the target in the opening two minutes. Grimsby's Andi Thanoj saw his effort miss the target after twelve minutes, but it was the home side that were enjoying the better chances, with Sean Marks header dipping over the bar from a Sparkes cross five minutes later. Before the break both an Alan Massey header and another Sparkes shot tested the visitors, but they survived to turn around goal-less. The second half saw the Mariners come more into the game with both Alex Rodman and Craig Disley have efforts well saved by Iron keeper Nick Hamann. Another Sparkes shot saw Iron respond on 52 minutes as the game started to open up. Iron pushed players forward in search of the goal they needed, but that also left gaps at the back. Grimsby's Oumare Tounkara saw his header miss the target on the hour. Iron continued to pressurise the visitors. On 68 minutes Dean Wells saw his header from Chez Isaac cross well saved, while James Mulley's effort dipped over two minutes later. On 73 minutes Isaac tried his luck from outside the box, but failed to hit the target. Late on substitute Jordan Cox saw his shot zip just widen 84 minutes and skipper Kenny Davis shot over two minutes later. Both Marks and Davis had chances in a final flurry for Iron, but the Grimsby defence held on to secure a point. After the game, Dean Wells was rewarded for another fine season with the Supporters Player of the Year award and Iron can now look forward to their Essex Cup Final at Dagenham this coming Tuesday evening.


Have a good summer!
Watch this space for dates
of our pre-season matches
in July 2015!