Ken, Sean & Jordan joined by new striker
Iron Manager Danny Cowley has continued his pre-season squad building with four players signing contracts for next season. Re-signing for 2015-16 are skipper Kenny Davis together with strikers Jordan Cox and Sean Marks.
Danny has also signed striker Michael Cheek from Chelmsford City, where the 23-year old made 66 appearances and scored 32 goals for the Vanarama South side, having previously played for neighbours Heybridge Swifts.
Danny was pleased with his latest signings: "We are delighted to have retained the services of Kenny Davis for the forthcoming season. Kenny has been a fantastic servant for the Club and has established himself as one of the best midfield players in non league football. He uses the ball both intelligently and purposefully and his work ethic allows him to perform consistently well. Kenny is a massive part of our football club and will continue to captain the team. We look forward to working with him towards the success that we expect to have.
"We see Sean as being both a vital player and character within the group. Our group will be young and consequently it is crucial that the more experienced players that we do have are the right personality traits. Senior players can be really influential in the changing room and can carry our message and standards. In Sean we have someone with those qualities and what really impressed us from our conversations was his drive and ambition. We are hoping to use him in a slightly different way so that we can take some of the physical workload off of him. This will allow him the energy to get himself into more scoring opportunities. We know with the right service he will score goals regularly a this level.
"We know Jordan well after watching him at Aveley and following his career since. Jordan has unbelievable potential. He has great physical qualities, is mobile and has the knack of getting into goal scoring opportunities. No one in the squad had more chances last season than Jordan and that is credit to him. We are really excited about working with him in training. If we can increase his conversion rate then we could have a 20 goal a season striker in our squad.
"Moving on to new signing Michael Cheek he was, in my opinion, the best all round forward in the Conference South last year. Chelmsford were one of the top scorers in the division and Michael along with Joe Ward played a big part in that. Michael is a really good fit for the club. He is a local lad, who has progressed from the lower levels of non league football. He has declined bigger financial offers at the level below to challenge himself in the Conference National. He is someone that has an infectious work ethic and has massive potential to improve. I believe he will thrive at this level and really enjoy the challenges that this league will bring.
"Generally, the squad is now really taking shape and Nicky and I are pleased to be able to add these four players to the squad. We are hoping to announce the signings of a couple of more players in the next few days. This will give us really solid foundations from which to build on. We are in the process of speaking to potential targets and have a clear idea of the players that will compliment and hopefully add to the group. We will need to be patient and continue to do lots of work behind the scenes to ensure that we can attract the very best players and people to Braintree Town Football Club."
Millwall to visit Cressing Road
Braintree Town Manager Danny Cowley has arranged three more pre-season matches as the club prepares for next season. A Braintree Town XI will visit Thurlow Nunn League side Stanway Rovers on Friday evening, 10th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. The first team squad will entertain a Millwall XI on Monday, 13th July, at Cressing Road, with kick-off at 7.45pm. A Braintree Town XI will also be visiting Ryman League Division One (North) side Heybridge Swifts on Monday evening, 20th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. We are awaiting confirmation from a Football League side for a fixture on Saturday, 18th July to complete our pre-season schedule.
Iron to visit Ram Meadow
Braintree Town have confirmed their sixth pre-season friendly match. Iron will travel to visit Ryman League side Bury Town on Friday, 24th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Reading & Dagenham to visit Iron
Braintree Town have confirmed three more pre-season friendly matches. Iron will entertain a squad side from Reading on Tuesday, 21st July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Seven days later, Iron will welcome our friends from Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, 28th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Braintree Town's pre-season build-up will complete with a trip to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday, 1st August, with kick-off at 3pm. We have not been able to agree a date to host Chelmsford City, but negotiations are on going for additional games during the week commencing Monday 13th July and for a possible trip to our friends at Bury Town - more news when we have it.
Iron to head up the A12
Braintree Town have confirmed their second pre-season friendly match. Iron will send the first team to visit Vanarama North side Lowestoft Town on Saturday, 25th July, with kick-off at 3pm.
Danny Cowley invites you over for a chat
New Braintree Town Manager Danny Cowley will host his first Fans Forum in June.
The 'Meet the Manager' evening will take place in the Iron Clubhouse at Cressing Road on Thursday, 11th June, starting at 8pm and will be hosted by First Team Manager Danny Cowley, together with his brother and Assistant Manager Nicky Cowley.
The evening will bee very much an informal affair and the Clubhouse bar will, of course, be open for refreshment!
Supporters will also have the opportunity to purchase their season tickets, should they choose, before the discount deadline the following Saturday, 13th June.
Danny Cowley gets to work shaping his squad
Braintree Town have announced their retained list.
The following players have been made offers for season 2015-16: Kenny Davis, Matt Paine, Sean Marks, Charlie Strutton, Dan Sparkes, Nathan McDonald, Simeon Akinola, Joe Maybanks, Jordan Cox, George Pullen, Remy Clerima, Chez Isaac, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Joe Moore, James Mulley, Carl Pentney and Nick Hamann.
The following players have left the Club: Alan Massey, Ryan Peters and Dan Walker.
Get yours by June 13th to see FIVE games free
Season tickets are now on sale from the Clubhouse. A season ticket purchased on or before Saturday 13 June will offer FIVE Vanarama National League games free of charge, or a discount of nearly 22% over the whole season. Here's what you get:
23 Home National League Games for the price of 18
Your very own personalised season ticket
First priority for cup games (home & away)
Exclusive discounts for additional Iron events
Prices are on the 'Tickets' link above and you can download your season ticket application form from here: SEASON TICKET APPLICATION FORM.
If you wish to pay by cheque, please make it payable to 'Braintree Town Football Club Limited'. Your ticket will be available for collection from the ground from Saturday 1 August 2015. Alternatively, if you wish to have your season ticket posted to you, please provide a stamped addressed envelope.
New Iron Manager talks to David Ward
Braintree Town's new manager 36 year-old Danny Cowley is promising fans entertaining football next season whilst further consolidating the club in the Vanarama Conference National League.
But like his predecessor Alan Devonshire, who this week returned to his first managerial club Maidenhead United as their new boss, Cowley is aiming initially for his side to reach the 50 point target seen as the cut off to avoid a dreaded relegation battle at the end of the season.
The ambitious young schoolteacher said: "The club has done remarkable well under Alan to have established themselves at the top level of non-league football and I want to build further on that and certainly aim for a top 10 position and play football that's entertaining too.
"Having spoken to all the current Iron players I want them all to stay particularly the nucleus of them for next season because it's clear that they all are closely knit group who want to play for the club," he explained. "They have shown great character and have that togetherness and that's what I was looking for on arrival and I can then add to that with any new players I feel will fit in and enhance it.
"Keeping the core of this group together is important with the tremendous team spirit they have it and will certainly avoid having to re-build from scratch this summer," he continued. "The foundations have been laid and I am looking for continuity on and off the pitch which I have always had and is one of the reasons why I have been so successful for the past eight years at Concord."
Cowley said he was excited but not undaunted at moving up to the top echelon of non-league and remains hopeful of keeping the core of this last season's team.
"It's about getting the right balance and I know we will be part-timers against mostly full-timers at times it's all about having the right players with the right attitude and the right characteristics," he continued. "Clearly the club currently has that with the core of the first team players and I will be looking to add to that with players I know who are keen and hungry enough to want to succeed at this higher level."
Cowley, along with his younger brother Nick as assistant, plan to have a solid hard core of 16 players in the first team squad supplemented, if needed and as and when, with loan players from bigger clubs.
"That has worked well in the past and it will do here again in the future," he added. "While I am also hoping that some of the younger ones can come through the Academy ranks, as both Joe Maybanks and George Pullen have this season and be given a chance at this top level."
He went on: "I am under no illusions it's going be tough and it's a big jump up for us to come and manage at this level but I am confident we can be successful and like at my previous club I also want us to play entertaining football and pass the ball and not just hitting long balls up field."
He continued: "We always do our thorough homework in advance on every side we play so we are prepared and we make sure the players are fully fit and prepared for each and every game too which is vitally important."
He added: "We know that compared to some of the bigger, full-time clubs in this league we have a limited playing budget but we have been use to that for the past eight years taking Concord from the Essex Senior League up to the Conference South and the brink of promotion again."
Chairman Lee Harding, delighted at the appointment of "two, ambitious and hungry young managers" said the club were looking to further consolidate at the top non-league level and preparing long term to move to an all new stadium which would help the club further generate income to progress even further.
"We appear to have a good reputation as a club in the non-league football circles that is stable, gives younger, ambitious managers from lower league clubs the chance to progress too," he said. "We had many good applications for the job but the board felt that Danny, along with his brother, both impressed us with their vision and commitment for the future were the right choice for the club."
Iron to visit Thurlow Nunn League champions in July
Braintree Town have agreed a date for their opening pre-season friendly of the forthcoming 2015-16 season. Iron will send the full first team squad for their opening warm-up fixture away at Thurlow Nunn League champions Long Melford on Saturday 11th July, with kick-off at 3pm. The game will allow us to express our appreciation for the help we have from the Stoneylands club in staging our reserve team fixtures.
New man looking forward to the challenge
Braintree Town have appointed 36 year old Danny Cowley as their first team manager - he joins from Conference South side Concord Rangers on an initial two year agreement. Danny, whose family come from Braintree, spent a very successful eight years at the Canvey Island club. He took them from step five to step two, enjoying a remarkable three promotions in just eight years plus a notable Essex Senior Cup Final success over Braintree just twelve months ago!
Chairman Lee Harding was delighted with the appointment: "I've been really pleased with the calibre of applicants for the job and thank them all, but Danny has really impressed us. I have been aware of his progress over recent years, have enjoyed hearing his views on the game and his desire to bring success to our club. The next few years will be pivotal in our history and I am confident that Danny will take us forward and be part of an exciting future."
Danny is looking forward to the challenge: "First of all, it's a great opportunity for me, one that I think I fully deserve and will mean that I have now managed at every step in the pyramid. I think it's a fantastic job and wouldn't have taken it if I didn't believe that I could take the club forward, especially after the progress made over the last four years. I've always been a winner, but it's not going to be an easy challenge. That said, it's one that inspires me to ensure that we all do everything in our power to make it a success. I'm really looking forward to it!"
Picture courtesy of Essex County Newspapers.
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.
Saturday 11 July, 3pm
Long Melford (Away)
Monday 13 July, 7.45pm
Millwall XI (Home)
Saturday 18 July, 3pm
Tuesday 21 July, 7.45pm
Reading XI (Home)
Friday 24 July, 7.45pm
Bury Town (Away)
Saturday 25 July, 3pm
Lowestoft Town (Away)
Tuesday 28 July, 7.45pm
Dagenham & Redbridge (Home)
Saturday 1 August, 3pm
Ebbsfleet United (Away)
Braintree Town XI's will also visit:
Friday 10 July, 7.45pm
Stanway Rovers (Away)
Monday 20 July, 7.45pm
Heybridge Swifts (Away)
HOW WE FINISHED