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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 ÔCÕ 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.
Braintree Town's Vanarama Conference trip to Southport this evening has been postponed. The Haig Avenue pitch is frozen and the weather forecast for the area provides little hope of a thaw. News on a new date when we have it.
Iron to visit Bristol Rovers in late February, if ...
Braintree Town have agreed a provisional date of Tuesday 24th February for their Vanarama Conference trip to Bristol Rovers. The match, originally scheduled for this coming Saturday - but postponed due to Iron's continued involvement in the FA Trophy, will take place on this date - only if the clubs are not involved in FA Trophy action. If that is the case, it has been agreed that the game will be deferred to either the 3rd or 10th of March.
Back in the game at 1-1, Braintree concede too quickly
Iron slipped to a frustrating home defeat at the hands of a smash and grab raid by Forest Green Rovers on Saturday. Braintree were looking to extend their unbeaten start to 2015 by recording a victory over the Gloucestershire side, who sit just outside of the playoffs. The game turned out to be the first defeat for the Iron as a brace from Jon Parkin consigned Braintree to defeat.
The games first opening came within a few minutes when a Braintree corner was headed low into the corner by Jordan Cox, the Rovers defence managed to deflect the ball inches wide. Cox then missed a sitter just a few minutes later. Simeon Akinola showed great strength to shrug off three defenders and turn them before passing to Chez Isaac out on the right wing. Isaac burst into the box and instead of shooting at an angle, he cut the ball back for Cox lurking yards from goal. Cox took a swipe at the ball but a bobble on the pitch put Cox off his strike. Had Cox been able to make proper contact, it would have been a glorious chance as Sam Russell was out of position to make a save.
It was a fast start from the Iron, but after twenty minutes Forest Green battled into the game, turning the match into an end to end entertaining match. The Rovers came close to opening the scoring when a long range blistering effort by Sam Wedgbury was saved by the fingertips of Nick Hamann, the ball rattling the crossbar before cannoning back into play. Braintree responded to the threat with a dangerous Isaac corner met by the head of Akinola, the chance going narrowly over. Aarran Rancine had an opportunity moments later, his shot from the edge of the six yard box bounced narrowly wide. The Iron had a very similar chance moments later with James Mulley whipping the ball into Cox but debutant Charlie Clough was on hand to clear the danger before Cox could pounce.
Forest Green Rovers Elliott Frear was a handful throughout the game, and towards the end of the half with no support he did well to dance through a couple of challenges to get himself into a shooting position, the however shot lacked any power and was easily scooped up by Hamann. There was still time in the half for Ryan Peters to go on a run himself, unleashing a shot that cannoned off the defence for a corner. The corner was whipped in by Isaac and bounced around the box before falling to the feet of Kenny Davis with his shot also being deflected wide for a corner. It was Isaac again with the delivery, this time met at the far post by Remy Clerima who could not direct his header towards goal.
The first half was end to end entertainment, but with no end product for either team. In fairness at half time neither team deserved to go in behind, but Braintree had certainly created more goal scoring opportunities.
Jon Parkin had an early chance in the second half as Forest Green hit the Iron on the break with the pace of Frear. The ball into the box by Frear found Parkin, his effort was tame and went wide without troubling Hamann. Moments later Akinola played a peach of a cross field ball that put Isaac clear on goal. Isaac did well in rounding the defender and goalkeeper, but as he went to shoot the ball appeared to slow down in the mud and Isaacs effort was straight at Russell. Russell could not hold onto the ball and it was spilled back into the path of Cox, but Clough was able to get in the way to block the ball, which was eventually smothered by Russell.
The first goal of the game came on sixty-eight minutes when Parkin was first to react in the box. A corner from the left side was met at the near post by Clough who knocked it on across goal. The ball fell at the far post kindly for Parkin who was able to apply the finish. After the game Nick Hamann commented that he felt it was a soft goal to concede.
From the restart the Iron went straight back on the offensive but were unable to create any clear cut chances. Substitutes Dan Sparkes and Sean Marks combined straight after being brought on when a Sparkes cross almost found Marks rushing in at the far post. They did however combine in the eighty-forth minute, a Sparkes delivery from a free kick created chaos in box. Davis was able to get a shot away which fell kindly to the unmarked Marks who struck the ball low and hard into the net to equalise.
They say you are most vulnerable right after you score, and that proved to be true for Braintree. On eighty-sixth minutes almost straight after the restart, Parkin got his second goal of the game. Frear again showed his pace on the left wing and delivered a cross into the near post, where Parkin had managed to get in front of the defence. The header from Parkin was deftly knocked on over Hamann and across goal landing just inside the post.
It was a sucker punch for the Iron who had worked very hard to get back into the game so late on. After the game Alan Devonshire praised the effort of his team and felt that in the end Braintree did enough to get at least a point from the game. Devonshire also shared Hamann's belief that Braintree needed to take the chances they created early on. The next game for the Iron is an away trip to Southport, one that Devonshire is now focusing to get a result at.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Remy Clerima, Alan Massey, Sam Habergham, James Mulley (Dan Sparkes, 75 mins) Matt Paine (Charlie Strutton, 80 mins) Chez Isaac, Kenny Davis, Jordan Cox (Sean Marks, 75 mins) Simeon Akinola. Unused Subs: Dan Walker, Carl Pentney. Forest Green Rovers: Sam Russell, Charlie Clough, Sam Wedgbury, Stuart Fleetwood (James Norwood, 80 mins) Marcus Kelly, Clovis Kamdjo (Chris Stokes, 84 mins) Aarran Rancine, Kurtis Guthrie, Elliot Frear, Rob Sinclair, Jon Parkin. Unused Subs: Chris Stokes, Corby Moore, Danny Coles, Steve Arnold. Match Report by Ryan Delaney. Attendance: 661.
Iron to meet Vanarama South opposition
The draw for the Third Round Proper of The FA Trophy has been made at Wembley today. Braintree Town have been drawn at home to Vanarama South side Ebbsfleet United. The tie is scheduled for 24 January, just 12 days away. The Third Round Proper draw:
Stockport County or Wrexham v Grimsby Town or Gateshead
Braintree Town v Ebbsfleet United
Chorley or FC United Of Manchester v AFC Fylde or AFC Telford United
Dartford v FC Halifax Town
Maidenhead United or Farnborough v North Ferriby United
Hemel Hempstead Town v Torquay United
Bath City v Altrincham
Oxford City or Woking v Dover Athletic
Braintree involved in FA Trophy action
Following Saturday's FA Trophy victory, our Vanarama Conference trip to Bristol Rovers scheduled for Saturday, 24 January is postponed. News on a new date for our trip to Bristol Rovers will be announced as soon as it is agreed.
Davis and Cox secure comfortable win
Braintree Town eased into the last sixteen of this season's FA Trophy competition following Saturday's 2-0 victory at Gosport Borough. Iron were in control of the tie for the majority of the game, made easier by their numerical advantage as Gosport Borough received two red cards on their way out of the competition. The goals came from Cox and Davis, the two scorers in Braintree's last match at Chester.
The match started slowly with both teams getting to grips with each other as well as a strong wind. Despite not creating any clear cut chances Braintree were comfortable and were putting in crosses that were testing the Gosport defence.
After twenty-five minutes Braintree were awarded a penalty when a Simeon Akinola cross was handled by Lee Molyneaux, the defender sliding in to block the cross with his hand high above his head. The referee had no hesitation in giving the penalty, which Kenny Davis stepped up to take. Davis placed his shot low to the right of the goal which Nathan Ashmore did well to get down and save.
The half progressed without too many attempts on goal by both sides. Both Matt Paine and Chez Isaac had blocked shots in the Gosport box before Matt Paterson attempted an acrobatic scissor kick that fizzed over the bar. Akinola showed a glimpse of what he could do with a sharp turn and shot that was parried by Ashmore.
Akinola grew into the half and was again behind the Gosport defence after a beautiful turn into the box. Akinola was bearing down on goal and was ready to pull the trigger when Dan Wooden unceremoniously brought Akinola down as the last man. The referee again had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and brandishing the red card. There were few complaints from the Gosport players regarding the decision. Davis showed nerves of steel by stepping up to take the spot kick after his previous attempt had been saved. Davis changed direction instead going down the middle as Ashmore went the same way as before, unable to get his foot to the ball. The goal came on the stroke of half time.
There was more drama before the half finished as Justin Bennett attempted to lob Hamann unsuccessfully. This was followed by more drama when Paterson was denied a penalty following a defensive error. Paterson was still able to get a shot away that was well saved by Hamann. The save was parried and the ball rolled into the path of Paterson who had a second bite at the cherry but this time Hamann made the save and smothered the ball. The first half finished with a flourish after a slow start and Braintree had a one goal advantage.
Almost immediately from the second half kick off Jordan Cox got himself on the score sheet after an embarrassing mistake by Ashmore. The ball was passed back to Ashmore by Sam Pearce, Ashmore then inexplicably played the ball along the ground straight to the feet of Cox who had the luxury of being able to take a couple of touches before dispatching the ball low into the opposite corner of the goal.
With twenty minutes to go Gosport were down to nine men for the second time in two games. Mike Carter was dismissed for the second time in a week for a two footed tackle on Matt Paine, who had to be treated on the sidelines following the challenge. Gosport had little complaint over the decision and now faced a very tough challenge to overcome the Iron. With the result more or less secured the Iron slowed the pace down, allowing Gosport to pass the ball around without getting close to Hamann.
Late on chances fell to both Charlie Strutton and James Mulley. Strutton's chance came from a Dan Walker cross that found him at the far post unmarked. Strutton had to stretch to make contact with the ball, but sent it over the crossbar. Mulley was put through on goal following a swift counter attack but as he ran into the box his feet got tangled with the ball which went out for a goal kick.
In time added on, Iron had a number of chances to add to their tally, but settled for 2-0. After the game Alan Devonshire stated that he feels that Braintree can do well in the competition and is taking it seriously. Victory over Gosport made it eight wins out of the last eleven games and with that form the Iron will be looking forward to the draw for the last sixteen on Monday.
Gosport Borough FC: Nathan Ashmore, Lee Molyneaux (Adam Wilde 51 mins) Dan Wooden, Mike Carter, Robbie Matthews, Sam Pearce, Tom Dunford, Danny Smith, Matt Paterson, Justin Bennett (Lee Wort, 78 mins) Steve Ramsey (Paco Saez, 51 mins). Unused Subs: Matt Benham, Jonathan Muleba. Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis (Dan Sparkes, 63 mins) Simeon Akinola (Dan Walker, 76 mins) Jordan Cox (Charlie Strutton 61 mins) Remy Clerima, Ryan Peters, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Joe Maybanks. Attendance: 460.
Third Trophy trip to Gosport in seven years
After an encouraging Christmas and New Year haul of twelve Vanarama Conference points, Iron can now switch their attention to the FA Trophy and Alan Devonshire's squad face a daunting trip to last season's beaten finalists - Gosport Borough - on Saturday. The Hampshire club were beaten by (now) Football League side Cambridge United at Wembley, with the game attracting an 18,000 crowd. It was the latest step in a seven year journey that has seen Gosport rise from the Wessex League at step 5 as recently as 2007, through the Southern League's two tiers to within touching distance of non-League's top flight.
Last season had seen the Privett Park club languishing at the foot of the Conference South table before Christmas, but the Trophy run coincided with improvement in league form to a mid-table finish and Gosport have continued that improved form this season. A fine run of results in the run up to Christmas saw Gosport as high as third in the Vanarama South table. Although they have lost just six of their 34 games so far this season, recent form has been less consistent, but Borough still currently sit just two points outside the Vanarama South play-off places, in eighth place, with a couple of games in hand over three of the four sides immediately above them. Last Saturday saw them travel to St. Albans City and return home beaten by the odd goal in three. The game also saw Borough finish with just nine players on the pitch after both defenders Lee Molyneaux and Mike Carter were dismissed.
Gosport's progress this season has not gone unnoticed, with League One side Swindon Town reported to be in negotiations over the possible transfer of striker Matt Paterson - who signed for Borough in the summer from Aldershot Town. The 25-year-old former Southampton striker has scored 17 goals this season and his partnership with 25-goal striking partner Justin Bennett has been a key reason behind the club's success this term. That said, Gosport manager Alex Pike has stated that he would not stand in a player's way if they are offered a route into the pro ranks.
We've met in the FA Trophy before. Back in November 2007, goals from James Hawes, Robbie Martin and two from Chris Sullivan saw Iron win a FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round tie 4-1 at Privett Park. Four years later in December 2011, the FA Trophy again paired the clubs in Hampshire with Dean Wells scoring the only goal of the First Round tie.
For those making their own way to the game on Saturday, the address and telephone details are as follows: Gosport Borough FC, Privett Park, Privett Road, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 3SX. Tel: 023 9250 1042.
Iron respond after transport woes
Iron completed a successful five game festive season by deservedly winning this game at the Swansway Stadium on Sunday having come back from conceding a goal just before half time to collect 12 out of a possible 15 points and consolidate their mid table league position. The squad's preparation for the game wasn't helped by the non appearance of the team coach, but the Braintree lads responded positively to complete a good holiday period for the Club.
It left a broad smile on manager Alan Devonshire's face who was clearly delighted at his side's latest performance adding: "I think we deserved the victory and again showed what this squad of ours is capable of achieving particularly with coping with five games within 15 days.
"I had to change the players around again to give some a rest and then we lost Chez Isaac early on with an injury before conceding what was an unlucky goal just before the break," he said. "But they showed great character and determination in the second half and everyone worked hard to make sure we won and collected the points."
It was also a fine return for young striker Jordan Cox, starting his first game for almost two months because of injury, because his second half brace ensured the Iron returned home with a win.
"I'm pleased for the boy who has had a frustrating time with injury recently and I have only been able to bring him on as a substitute for short periods as he gets back to fitness," said Devonshire. "He is still young and learning the game but he took his two goals well which will give him a lot of confidence."
The Iron, keen to avenge their home defeat by Chester back in August, had started with Cox and Simeon Akinola leading the attack as Devonshire was forced to rest Charlie Strutton while Sean Marks had not fully recovered from his ankle injury picked up in the New Year's Day win over Dartford.
In what was a fairly scrappy and tame first half in front of the home's side's 1,690 crowd - and the Iron were a little unlucky to go a goal behind five minutes before the interval.
The home side's Sean McConville cut inside from the left driving a right foot shot straight at Iron keeper Nick Hamann but it took an awkward deflection off defender Alan Massey on the way and into the net.
This season the Iron have found it difficult to come back from being a goal down but that didn't happen here because with 10 minutes of the restart they were back on level terms when skipper Kenny Davis lobbed a fine shot over home keeper Jon Worsnop following a Danny Sparkes corner.
A minute later the Iron stunned the home crowd when they took the lead and again it all came from Sparkes who sent over an accurate cross straight to the head of Cox who duly nodded it past Worsnop for his first goal since late October when he netted in the FA Cup tie replay with Weymouth.
The home side naturally tried to retaliate and minutes later John Rooney Ð the younger brother of Manchester United and England striker Wayne Ð headed just wide at the end of a decent move.
But the Iron rearguard, again led in style by Alan Massey and Remy Clerima, managed to keep the home forwards until the 76th minute when from a corner Rooney headed the ball on to Chester skipper Matt Brown and he levelled matters with a another header that beat Hamann.
But any hopes that the home side would then snatch all three points were dashed within a minute because the Iron responded in fine fashion, moving the ball straight up field and again it was the busy Sparkes who caused problems for the home defence.
His fine cross could only be partially parried away by Worsnop and there was Cox on hand to pounce on the rebound to send a right foot shot into the home net.
Despite this sudden setback the home side rallied again but the Iron defence held out and manager Devonshire brought on some fresh legs in the final minutes with Marks replacing the tiring Cox and fit again Dan Walker making his first appearance since the end of October replacing Akinola.
"We knew it would be a hard game particularly as it was a fifth in such a short period but to come away and up here and win was great and all the players deserve credit for the three points," added Devonshire.
This Saturday the Iron go to Gosport Borough in the FA Trophy Second Round.
Braintree: Hamann; Brundle, Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Davis, Paine, Isaac (Sparkes 31); Cox (Marks 78), Akinola (Walker 83).