Braintree drawn away to Gosport again
Braintree Town have been drawn away to last season's finalists Gosport Borough in the Second Round of this season's FA Trophy. Gosport defeated Basingstoke Town 2-1 in their First Round replay on Tuesday evening, after extra time. This match will take place on Saturday 10th January 2015.
Back here on Monday to see who we get
Iron's reward for Saturday's FA Trophy win over AFC Sudbury is a place in the competition's last thirty-two. The draw for the FA Trophy Second Round is scheduled for Monday from The FA's headquarters at Wembley Stadium. The Second Round match will take place on Saturday 10th January 2015. News on our opposition here - as soon as we have it!
Braintree into FA Trophy last 32
Braintree Town had to work hard to get a result against AFC Sudbury, as the team three divisions below them put up a tenacious fight. The result could have read more favourably for the Iron given the number of chances they created, as it is the solitary strike from Simeon Akinola proved to be the difference, as Braintree Town came out 1-0 victors.
AFC Sudbury started the brightest, creating a few early chances and testing Nick Hamann. A fine ball across the Braintree box caused confusion with Hamann unable to either catch the ball or punch it clear, instead it fell to Jack Wilkinson at the far post. The Sudbury players shot blocked well by Ryan Peters who had to be alert as Hamann was not on his line. Correy Davidson had a shot inside the Iron box blocked by Mitch Brundle and Terry Rymer had a drive at goal well held by Hamann.
After the first twenty minutes Braintree Town came into the game, asserting control of the midfield and defending solidly. Mid way through the first half, perhaps the easiest chance fell to Akinola. A long ball out of the Braintree half was chased down by Akinola and the Sudbury clearance was blocked. Akinola got control of the rebound from his block and put on a turn of speed to get past the last defender and go round the goalkeeper. With the hard part done Akinola bared down on goal with two defenders on the line as makeshift keepers. The shot from ten yards beat the defenders on the line but thumped against the upright and bounced clear of danger. It was a sitter that Akinola and Alan Devonshire acknowledged after the game should have been buried.
It was that man again, Akinola, who had another fantastic opportunity to break the deadlock. James Mulley did brilliantly to get to the ball into the feet of Akinola from the left edge odd the box after taking on the Sudbury defence. Akinola's shot from twelve yards out was hit low and hard, but also down the centre of the goal. It still required a great reflex save from Marcus Garnham to get down low and put enough of his body behind the ball to keep it out. The ball was not held by Garnham and the rebound dropped to the edge of the six yard box where Brundle was waiting to pounce. Brundle powered a low drive at goal, however, the Sudbury defence had regrouped and reorganised and two defenders put their bodies on the line to keep it goalless.
Moments later Akinola was again gifted a great chance to open the scoring. Some fine link up play between Akinola, Brundle and Sean Marks put Brundle into a dangerous position to cross on the right side of the box. Brundle fed the ball across the face of the goal to the unmarked Akinola who had to stretch to get a toe to the ball. Akinola made contact with the ball but could not quite convert the chance, instead directing the ball wide. The first half finished goalless, but Braintree certainly had created the majority of the goal scoring opportunities and had been able to nullify the threat posed by AFC Sudbury.
It was after fifty seven minutes that the deadlock was broken, with Akinola the scorer and making amends for previous chances. A deep cross from Peters was taken under control by Mulley who was then bundled over in the box on the left side, with the ball dropping into the path of Akinola. From just inside the Sudbury box, Akinola unleashed a volley low into the right side of the net, with Garnham unable to react to the shot. It was the most difficult of the opportunities that Akinola had, and after the game both Devonshire and Akinola said that it was the hardest of all his chances.
After the Iron took the lead it became a less frantic end to end encounter and more of a midfield battle. Whenever Sudbury pushed forward their attempted long balls were easily headed clear or taken under control by the Iron defence, and when Braintree were on the offensive the final product was lacking, and Sudbury were playing with plenty of men back behind the ball. James Baker, a former Braintree Town player, normally used as a striker was utilised in defence. He looked natural in the position and he hardly gave Braintree a kick at goal in the second half.
Akinola was taking on Sudbury defenders and on many occasions was finding his way past challenges, even when they doubled up on him. He was composed in possession and spread the ball well with some fantastic cross field balls. Shortly after his goal Akinola put a peach of a cross into the feet of captain Kenny Davis who could not quite get the ball from under his feet to take the shot.
The closest Braintree came to doubling their lead was through Dan Sparkes in the dying minutes of the game. Sparkes attacked the Sudbury defence, run directly and at pace, managing to jink past two challenges down the left wing and into the box. Sparkes appeared to try to cross the ball to the far post but instead it whistled agonizingly close to the far corner of the Sudbury goal, going narrowly over.
There was late drama as Sudbury won a contentious free kick in a dangerous crossing position on the right side of the Braintree half. The delivery was perfectly met and the header looked to be looping over the head of Hamann who was stretching, instead it grazed the top side of the crossbar, going out for a goal kick. Had it been a few inches lower Hamann looked to have it covered.
It was perhaps not as easy as Braintree Town would have liked, and not the winning margin they may have hoped for, but they will be in the draw for the next round which pleased Alan Devonshire, who also stated after the game that Sudbury deserve plaudits as they performed very well. He also said that he would love to go on a cup run and that these games provide something else for the players to enjoy.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Mitch Brundle (Charlie Strutton, 64 mins), Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Matt Paine, Sean Marks, Simeon Akinola (Dan Sparkes, 81 mins), James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Remy Clerima, Steven Smith. AFC Sudbury: Marcus Garnham, Ben Robinson, Lee Flynn (Mark Ray, 81 mins), Jack Wilkinson, Craig Pope, James Baker, Ayrton Coley (Scott Kemp, 73 mins), Sam Clarke, Correy Davidson (Jordan Blackwell, 66 mins), Terry Rymer, Ollie Berquez. Unused Subs: Tyler Kemp, Jack Guyton. Attendance: 547.
Can Suffolk club continue their giant-killing run?
Braintree Town start their involvement in this season's FA Trophy competition with a First Round tie at home to Ryman League Division One (North) side AFC Sudbury on Saturday. While all Vanarama Conference clubs enter the competition at this stage, our visitors have battled their way through six matches from the Preliminary Round and three Qualifying rounds. The Suffolk club have been consistently unlucky with the Trophy draws so far this season, with Saturday's First Round tie belong their fifth successive away pairing!
Progress to the competition proper started with a 3-1 Preliminary Round win at Ryman League Division One (South) side Whitstable Town in mid-October. This was followed by a creditable 2-2 draw at Ryman League Premier Division side Bognor Regis Town, in the First Qualifying Round, before their first giant-killing in this competition was completed with a 2-1 home replay win in early-November. The Second Qualifying Round sent the Kingsmarsh club to another Ryman League Premier Division side - this time championship-favourites Maidstone United in mid-November. Sudbury produced the shock result of the round winning 2-0 on the plastic pitch.
The Third Qualifying Round saw them again drawn away to a step 3 side chasing promotion to the Conference - this time Southern League Premier Division promotion hopefuls St. Neots Town at the end of November. An equaliser in the third minute of time added on saw the home side deny Sudbury another notable victory. But the Suffolk club completed the job 1-0 in the replay with a twenty-five yard drive from Lawrence Yiga securing a third successive giant-killing and a seventh game in the FA Trophy. Their progress in the competition has been as follows:
Preliminary Round, away v. Whitstable Town, won 3-1
First Qualifying Round, away v. Bognor Regis Town, drew 2-2
First Qualifying Round replay, home v. Bognor Regis Town, won 2-1
Second Qualifying Round, away v. Maidstone United, won 2-0
Third Qualifying Round, away v. St. Neots Town, drew 1-1
Third Qualifying Round replay, home v. St. Neots Town, won 1-0
Since earning promotion to non-League football's top flight, Iron's record in the FA Trophy has been disappointing with only two wins in six matches.
In 2011-12, Braintree won 1-0 at Gosport Borough in the First Round before going out at home in a penalty shoot out to Gateshead in a Second Round Replay at Cressing Road. The dreaded spot kicks were needed following a 2-2 draw in the North East and a 1-1 draw (after extra time) in the replay. Season 2012-13 saw Iron the victims of an embarrassing giant-killing as they went down by the odd goal in three at home to Conference South side Havant & Waterlooville. Last season was little better. Despite beating Welling United 3-0 at home in the First Round, Braintree were then well beaten 3-1 by Lincoln City at Cressing Road in Round Two.
This match has been designated as a category 'C' fixture with reduced admission charges in place for the third time in Braintree's last four matches at the Miles Smith Stadium. No segregation will be in place and entry will be all pay at the turnstile on the day.
St. Neots Town or AFC Sudbury to visit a week on Saturday
Braintree Town have been drawn at home to the winners of the Third Qualifying Round Replay between St. Neots Town and AFC Sudbury in the First Round of this season's FA Trophy competition. The replay will take place at AFC Sudbury's Brundon Lane stadium on Tuesday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Braintree enter the Road to Wembley at last 64
The draw for the First Round of this season's FA Trophy takes place at Wembley Stadium today. The 32 ties are scheduled to be played on Saturday 13th December, with the winners each picking up £5,000 from The FA's prize fund. This is the stage when the 24 Vanarama Conference clubs enter the competition to join the forty qualifiers who have battled their way through from the preliminary round and three qualifying rounds.
Cambridge United, last season's Wembley winners, won't be defending the Trophy, having been promoted to the Football League last May, but runners-up Gosport Borough have started their involvement already, having come in at the Third Qualifying Round stage on Saturday with a 4-0 victory at Peacehaven & Telscombe. Local interest includes neighbours Bishop's Stortford (4-3 winners over Chelmsford City in Saturday's Third Qualifying Round) and AFC Sudbury (who will need a replay after drawing 1-1 at St. Neots Town).
Last season Iron defeated Welling United 3-0 at Cressing Road in the First Round, before bowing out in the Second Round 3-1 at home to Lincoln City. We will have the draw here as soon as it is released by The FA.
Iron struggle to break down Cards defence
IRON manager Alan Devonshire left the Kingfield Stadium baffled that his side had come away with nothing to show for their afternoon's work after dominating most of the game and creating a host of chances that all went begging.
"It's difficult to believe really that we had so many chances to score but we failed to find the onion net as the old saying goes," he explained. "We didn't play badly at all and it was a tight game but we need to start scoring goals because that obviously wins you matches."
He went on: "We have to sort out the problem ourselves and we'll be working specifically on that now in training as we have time to rest and with no game next Saturday when the players will train.
"Out keeper Nic Hamann didn't really have a decent shot to save while their keeper was busy all afternoon and to his credit did keep them in the game," he continued. "But we did lack that little bit of quality and we had the chances to have come away with something.
"I can't criticise the players because they all worked hard but we've got to address the problem of not scoring when we've created so many chances," he added. "Kenny Davis had three good efforts in the first half, Sean Marks should have scored with a second half header and other chances simply went begging and you can't afford not to take such chances at this level."
It was the second 1-0 defeat in four days for the Iron - they lost at home to Welling on Tuesday - where in both games they created more than enough chances to have won both but they now slip to 18th in the table.
Devonshire, who made two changes for this match with skipper Davis returning after injury along with Mitch Brundle replacing the injured Ryan Peters at full-back, added: "It's disappointing not to have returned home with something from the game but we'll dust ourselves down, get ourselves sorted out with shooting practice and be ready for the next game."
The only goal of the game came in the 37th minute and it was a scruffy affair when the Cards' John Goddard picked up a clearance from the Iron area and fired a shot goal ward, the ball bouncing through a ruck of players low into the bottom left hand corner of the net with Hamann clearly unsighted.
With Davis back in the middle for the Iron they still looked the more likely side to score and he had three good first half efforts on goal, the best being brillianly tipped away by home keeper Ross Warner.
The Iron were even more impressive with their approach play in the second and certainly had more chances to score with Marks, Simeon Akinola and James Mulley all going close while the Iron's best player on the day, defender Alan Massey also missed a chance with a header.
The Iron couldn't even rely on their recent regular goal scorer, 27 year-old striker Charlie Strutton, who again was substituted almost on the hour still looking tired after his year long lay-off with injury.
"He is still off the pace but trying to find his feet and full match fitness after such a long lay-off but the more time he can spend on the pitch the more he will improve," said Devonshire. "Obviously it's not fair to rely on him to score every time and really in this game we didn't need to because others created more than enough to have scored goals and have won the game and three points."
He added: "It wasn't a particularly exciting game and it was not a bad performance from us but we must starting converting chances and scoring goals."
Braintree Town: Hamann; Brundle, Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Davis, Isaac (Cox 89), Akinola; Marks, Strutton (Sparkes 57). Unused subs: Paine, Walker, Pentney. Attendance: 1,622.
Braintree frustrated by visitors from Kent
It was the Wings that came away with three points and completed a league double over the Iron in an even game of few chances.
The match started at a fast pace and for the first few minutes of the match Braintree Town were on top. Charlie Strutton, on a high after his recent goal scoring run, broke through the Welling defence before crossing to Sean Marks. There was a scramble in the Welling box with Marks shot blocked before the danger was finally cleared.
After twenty minutes Welling came into the match and had a few chances from set plays, with two free headers from corners going narrowly wide and over. Welling also threatened with a dangerous cross from the right wing that bounced across the box, but no Welling player was close enough to the ball. Chez Isaac had an opportunity to score for the Iron with a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box but his chance went over the bar.
Simeon Akinola nearly scored a fluke of a goal just before half time when his cross from the right wing curled over Liechtenstein international Benjamin Buchel towards the far corner, before curling away from goal inches from the line. It was the last real chance of the half and it finished at half time goalless with neither team managing to get a shot on target.
The second half started brightly for the Iron and on fifty minutes James Mulley had possibly Braintree's best opportunity to score. Matt Paine played a fast cross into the Welling box from the left side of the pitch, which found its way to Mulley on the far side of the Welling box. Mulley hit it low and hard but also wide of the near post and he should have done better with his chance. It was on sixty minutes that Braintree registered their first shot on target. Isaac linked up well with Strutton, feeding him the ball on the left side of the box, however, Strutton's left footed drive was comfortably held by Buchel. Moments later Mulley played a dangerous ball from the right wing that was almost met at the far post by Marks who was sliding in at the far post but the Welling defence were first to the ball.
The deadlock was broken after sixty-one minutes and it was Charlie Penny with the goal. Aristide Bassele worked himself into shooting space just outside the Braintree box, but his attempt was inaccurate and instead hit Remy Clerima, with the ball falling nicely for Penny who had no hesitation in blasting the ball left footed into the top right corner of the net from the middle of the box. Penny had been dangerous throughout the match, Alan Massey had been yellow carded in the first half for a foul on Penny and Clerima was also yellow carded shortly after the goal, although it could have been a red card as Clerima was debatably the last man.
Alan Devonshire made three substitutions for the last twenty minutes, bringing on Dan Walker, Dan Sparkes and Kenny Davis. The Iron showed more attacking intent and had the greater share of possession but could not find a breakthrough. The closest the Iron came to an equaliser was after some good build up play saw a long range shot from Paine deflect wide of the goal for a corner. From the corner there was a goal line scramble and any shot would have asked serious questions of Buchel, but the Wings managed to get the ball clear. Welling had a chance in extra time to put the game beyond doubt after Kieron St Aimie wriggled to the side line and put a low cross in to the edge of the box where Joe Healy connected with the ball, his powerful effort however was narrowly over the bar.
The game finished in defeat for Braintree and Alan Devonshire was not at all happy with the result nor the performance, saying that it felt like "two steps forward, one step back" and given the Irons recent results he had "not expected that kind of a performance." Devonshire also went on to say that he would be making changes to the team that faces Woking away in the next fixture as he has almost a clean bill of health to choose from and will be looking to freshen things up.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Sam Habergham, Alan Massey, Remy Clerima, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, James Mulley (Dan Sparkes, 71 mins) Simeon Akinola (Dan Walker, 68 mins) Sean Marks, Charlie Strutton (Kenny Davis, 68 mins). Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Mitch Brundle. Welling United FC: Benjamin Buchel, Barney Williams, Zac Fagan, Michael Chambers, Jack Taylor (Malachi Hudson, 84 mins) Jamie Day, Jake Gallagher, Sam Corne, Charlie Penny, Aristide Bassele (Kieron St Aimie, 87 mins) Joe Healy. Unused Subs: Jonathan Henly, Jamie Turner, Johnson. Attendance: 580.
Category C game for our match against Kent club
For the second time this month, the Club are offering reduced admission prices. For this coming Tuesday evening's Vanarama Conference fixture against Welling United, Category 'C' prices will apply - reducing adult admission charges to just £15 for the terraced areas of the Miles Smith Stadium and just £16 for seats in the main stand.
FA Cup fixture takes priority for Lancashire club
As a result of Southport's continued involvement in this season's FA Cup competition, the Vanarama Conference fixture at Haig Avenue - scheduled for a week on Saturday, 6th December - has been postponed. More news on a new date when we have it.
Braintree back to their best in sizzling display
A scintillating first half display by the Iron that saw them score three goals which manager Alan Devonshire admitted afterwards should have been six because of his side's total domination laid the foundation for this impressive first ever win at the Bucks Head Stadium on Saturday.
Two superb strikes by Charlie Strutton and a well-taken goal by Sean Marks effectively sealed the points for the Iron after they had completely outplayed the home side in the first 45 minutes.
"Let's be honest we were in complete charge and should have come in at the break by six goals with the chances we had," said Devonshire. "I'm pleased for Charlie who took his goals well but he should have scored after only 17 seconds of the game and then again just before half time.
"But he's still coming back from his lengthy lay-off with that broken leg and I have to be careful not to over play him which is one reason he came off on the hour," Devonshire explained. "But every player did exceptionally well on the day and they've gained their rewards for their outstanding effort."
Devonshire, who was forced to change tactics for the second half after the home side made a triple substitution at the interval, said: "They changed their formation to 3-5-2 so I knew we had to respond and although they did pull one goal back even then I never felt we were going to lose the game.
"It's good to have back to back wins and clearly the players' confidence has returned as a result," he said. "I never had any doubt we would come back strongly once we had all the injured players fit again and I'm delighted for them because we pressed them right high up from the word go and we played some good, passing football which they couldn't cope with on what was quite a rain-sodden pitch."
With Simeon Akinola and James Mulley causing havoc down either flanks every time the Iron attacked they created a host of goal chances in that first period only to be denied by some brave saves by home keeper Freddy Hall.
Strutton finally opened the scoring on 14 minutes when a clever Akinola through ball saw him beat the offside trap to coolly slide the ball low into the net to beat the advancing Hall.
The best goal of the game came on 38 minutes when the Iron swept up field with Chez Isaac crossing a waist high cross in from the left straight into the path of Strutton who's first-time half volley from 30 yards gave Hall no chance - a really classy strike from a forward gradually finding his feet after a year on the sidelines.
The hard working Marks added a third two minutes before the interval sliding the ball home at the near post from a fine deep left wing cross from full-back Sam Habergham and there was still time for Strutton to almost grab his hat-trick on 45 minutes but, unmarked at the far post, he just failed to connect with another Mulley right wing cross.
With three fresh faces in at the start of the second half the home side responded and naturally applied some pressure for the first time on the Iron defence and they were rewarded on 54 minutes when Tony Gray race into the area from a left wing centre from substitute Kyle Brownhill to slide the ball past keeper Nick Hamann.
But the Iron soon weathered the short storm and Devonshire made a tactical change, bringing on experienced midfielder Kenny Davis, replacing Strutton on 63 minutes, to help calm things down and ensure the Iron were back in control of the middle of the park.
A delighted Strutton said he was pleased with his goals but disappointed not to have grabbed a hat-trick adding: "I had a couple of first half chances and then another early in the second half but each time just failed to get to the ball but I feel I'm getting there and hopefully the more I play the more match fit I will be."
Towards the end of the game the Iron still kept up the pressure on the home defence and chances fell to Mulley, Akinola and Marks late on but tired legs saw the chances go begging.
Devonshire added: "We had the right game plan, the players worked their socks off and I always had faith in them that once we were back to almost full strength we are capable to doing well.
"We now look forward to a home game against Welling on Tuesday and obviously I want to keep the momentum going," he added. "Some players have picked up knocks today but I'll have a roll call and yes may make some changes for Tuesday."
Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters (Brundle 73), Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Isaac, Paine, Akinola (Sparkes 83); Strutton (Davis 63), Marks. Unused subs: Smith, Pentney. Attendance: 1,523.
Iron host Essex Football Association Soccability Festival
Soccability Festival - Disabled Football
The Discovery Centre, Braintree; 20th November 2014
Braintree Town Football Club (BTFC) played host to an Essex Football Association Soccability Festival on Thursday 20th November. Soccability is designed to promote football for children with a range of disabilities and the festival included skills sessions and friendly matches, with the emphasis on fun. The weather was very kind, and around 50 children attended from schools around the county and enjoyed the excellent all-weather facilities at The Discovery Centre in Braintree. There were many contributors to an enjoyable morning. Braintree District Council donated use of the Discovery Centre facilities, while coaches and students from the BTFC Academy - supported by The Football Conference Community Trust - offered soccer drills for the children and refereed a series of friendly matches on the excellent all-weather surface. The climax to the festival was a ceremony where Braintree Town 1st team players Carl Pentney and Mitch Brundle presented certificates and a tournament trophy souvenir to every attendee. We have three pictures of the day below:
BTFC Academy student Steven Rolfe supervises a skills session
Players congratulate each other after a match
BTFC Players Mitch Brundle (centre) & Carl Pentney (right) present certificates and souvenirs
Charlie hits the target to secure Braintree win
Iron ended a winless run of ten league matches through a Chalie Strutton goal, who was making his first league start since returning to the Miles Smith Stadium. Injuries to Captain Kenny Davis and Jordan Cox allowed room in the starting eleven for Strutton, who chalked up 68 much needed minutes of game time, starting alongside Simeon Akinola and Sean Marks in an attacking line-up. In a display more reminiscent of the start of the season than recent weeks, Braintree did what was needed at the right time, creating chances and looking solid at the back, a scene that delighted manager Alan Devonshire who said that it was "the first time that he felt that they had really felt pressure, and they responded brilliantly".
Iron got underway quickly with Chez Isaac putting in a dangerous looking ball in the opening minutes of the game from the right hand side; the cross being headed clear. Some tricky feet from Akinola allowed a pass down the line to Sam Habergham on the other side of the pitch, the two working well as a pair on the left. Habergham managed to find the head of Akinola, but the flash header was directed over for a goal kick.
Akinola was at the heart of it again with 20 minutes on the clock, picking up a looped flick on from Charlie Strutton. Akinola tied his marker in knots with some good footwork again, and worked enough space to drive in a low shot, unfortunately drifting the wrong side of the post. Habergham saw yellow for a late slide just inside his own half, with the resulting free kick in punched back out by Hamann.
Isaac was next in the book for dissent, although it was Iron who had just won a free kick just a few yards outside the Wrexham box when Hudson slid in late on Muley. Strutton's shot from the dead ball rebounded back off the wall, but presented Strutton with another chance which this time he buried. Strutton instinctively struck the rebound hard and low into the bottom left corner of the goal, firing the Iron ahead with 25 minutes played.
Sean Marks came breathtakingly close when he won the second ball in the box with his back to goal ten minutes later. From just six yards out, Marks managed to turn and snatch a shot, but his attempt was blasted at Coughlin who's reaction save turned the ball behind. Mulley picked up a yellow a few minutes before half time for a late challenge in the centre circle, but with no further chances, the referee blew for half time with the Iron a goal ahead.
Seven minutes into the second half, a good spell of Iron play lead to a chance for Mulley, who picked up the ball from a cleared Sam Habergham cross. Mulley volleyed from the wide right, but could not keep his shot down as it sailed over the bar.
Wrexham saw a desperate need for change as the hour mark approached, making all three substitutions at once. The fresh legs of Keates and Moult almost made an immediate impact, with Keates delivering a long free kick into the area, narrowly escaping the head of Moult in an advanced position. Desperate Iron defending saw Isaac with a last ditch tackle, and Sean Marks scuff a clearance in a scramble at the edge of the box on 63 minutes. As Iron failed to clear their lines, it was down to Hamann to pull off a great diving save to deny a thunderous strike from the edge of the box.
With Sparkes coming on for Strutton, Alan Devonshire changed to a 4-5-1 formation with 20 minutes to go. Marks isolated up front won a long ball up, and used his strength well to hold up the ball and play out to Sparkes. A good delivery back in to Marks saw the forward make a diving header at the near post, nodding just wide.
As Iron looked to be attempting to see out the game with 13 minutes left to play, Robbie Evans gave a threatening reminder that there was only a goal in it by firing in a shot to test Hamann from outside the box. Hamann collected well, and Iron were handed a boost just minutes later down the other end when Wrexham were reduced to ten.
Having already received a yellow card and giving away the free kick that lead to Strutton's goal, Blaine Hudson was the man that left his side with even more to do to get anything out of the game when he slid in late on James Mulley outside the area.
A minute before the end of normal time, a corner ball in from Dan Sparkes towards the far post found the head of Matt Paine, whose attempt was narrowly tipped over by the hand of Coughlin just below the bar.
With the man and the goal advantage, Iron did what was needed to wind the clock down, bringing on Mitch Brundle in added time and recording the result that they desperately needed after a winless run of ten Conference games.
Speaking after the game, a passionate Alan Devonshire complimented the performance and work ethic of his side. "At the end of the day we played well and totally deserved it today. We haven't had the rub of the green recently, we've had loads of injuries and people need to realise that."
"I'm pleased for them because they work their backsides off. We dominated that game today against a good Wrexham side. People need to start looking at what we are doing. The reasons why we have had a blip is because this is the worst I have known in the 16 years that I have had as a manager, and we can't afford to do that. We had another three today but we put another shift in and I'm proud of my boys. The one thing that they will not do is put a shift in and work hard, and when people question that it really riles me. We may lack quality at times, but we don't lack effort. We make sure of that, the players always do and we always do as the staff."
"Look at the league, the bottom eight sides are all the part time teams. It is easy to criticise. Some of the things that are coming out are an absolute disgrace."
Charlie Strutton echoed his managers delight at the three points more so than the individual achievement saying that "It was a massive three points that we needed badly."
"It was a poor freekick. It's gone in and that's all that matters. We got the three points and that's what's important."
"I was getting a bit tired in the second half, but the manager obviously knew when to take me off."
"We definitely deserved the win, we were the better team today. They never really looked like scoring."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Clerima, Massey, Habergham, Mulley, Pine, Isaac, Akinola (Brundle 90+1), Marks, Strutton (Sparkes 68). Unused subs: Smith, Sownmi, Pentney. Wrexham: Coughlin, Carrington, Smith, Hudson, Clarke, Durrell (Keates 59), Bishop, York (Moult 59), White (Evans 59), Jennings, Hunt. Unused subs: Tomassen, Rushton. Referee: Nigel Lugg. Assistants: George Sprague and James Turner. Fourth Official: Adrian Waters. Attendance: 840. Match report by Chris Pargin.
Sparkes comes closest, but Iron need a goal
THE Iron have now played 540 minutes of Vanarama Conference Premier football without scoring a goal after they went down 1-0 at the Crabble on Tuesday evening. Although it was a much improved all round performance compared to their FA Cup defeat against Chesterfield on Sunday the lack of goal scoring remains a major worry for manager Alan Devonshire.
It was the old Iron story really in that they conceded a poor goal right on half time after the home side had been the more threatening and then with a much better second half saw them create chances to have equalised but they again failed to find the net.
In a not particularly inspiring game the real Iron culprit this time was substitute Dan Sparkes, brought on to replace James Mulley on 75 minutes. He had a great opportunity to equalise on 85 minutes but managed to put his left-foot shot wide of the upright and he had a similar if easier identical chance three minutes into stoppage time but again his left-foot shot missed the target.
Devonshire made three changes from the cup game with both Sam Habergham (who arrived late) and Chez Isaac dropped to the bench and starts for Matt Paine, Jordan Cox and Remi Clerima with young on-loan Ipswich Town defender Omar Sowunmi returning to Portman Road.
In a game of few chances for either side it was the home side, fresh from their FA Cup home win over Morecambe, who started the more brightly and they really had the upper hand in the first period.
Again hard as they worked the Iron were let down in the final third of the pitch and they never really threatened the home goal and it was clear to handful of Iron fans in the paltry gate of 696 that Alan Devonshire needs to bring in a fresh striker if they are to start scoring goals.
Having contained the home side fairly well in the first half the Iron conceded a poor goal three minutes into stoppage time before the interval when home midfielder Nicky Deverdics was allowed space to head in a cross from Stefan Payne to give them the lead.
The Iron did improve in the second half, particularly in the latter stages, but before then the home side could have increased their lead when Payne was through on goal but failed to make it count.
Young Cox tried hard to score - his goal at Gateshead on October 4 was the last time the Iron scored a league goal - while the late arrival as a substitute of striker Charlie Strutton gave fresh hope but he clearly needs more game time to be really effective.
The Iron should have come away with a point at the end of the evening and they would have done but for Sparkes missing his two late chances while this defeat pushes the Iron down to 16th place.
Braintree: Hamann; Peters, Massey, Clerima, Brundle, Mulley (Sparkes 75), Davis, Paine (Isaac 84), Akinola; Marks (Strutton 79), Cox. Unused subs: Habergham, Pentney. Match report by David Ward.
League One side take their chances
A great FA Cup occasion at Cressing road saw a very good League One Chesterfield side prove too difficult for the Iron to overcome in order to progress to the second round proper. Six goals was the difference between the two sides who sat 52 positions apart in the football tier at the start of the game, but Iron created some good chances in the game. Though well beaten on the day, Iron showed glimpses of promise in their performance in some areas against what they knew would be a massive test at Cressing road on Remembrance Sunday.
Iron had the early chance with Sean Marks played through by James Mulley in the centre of the pitch. Mulley beat the Chesterfield back line with a single ball, which Marks controlled well and fired hard and low towards the bottom right hand corner. Goalkeeper Tommy Lee had to be on top form to palm the ball behind five minutes in.
From the early chance, Chesterfield responded with a ten minute spell of pressure, the majority of play taking place deep inside the Iron half. Braintree coped well, looking solid defensively and dealing with any test that the Spirites gave in the initial quarter of an hour. However, following a free kick into the visitor's box where a foul was given on Sean Marks against Tommy Lee, Chesterfield created the necessary chance to open the scoring. Beaten down the right hand side, Iron allowed Eoin Doyle space in the centre of the goal to reach a pass played along the six yard line from Clucas. The ball was squeezed beyond the outstretched Hamann, which Doyle tapped in unchallenged and with ease to put Braintree a goal behind 20 minutes in.
The breakthrough signalled the end of Braintree's good defensive performance, and the floodgates were to open in this match, with Chesterfield contining to threaten through Doyle who narrowly missed a pacey ball in from Morsy, which would have been certain to double the lead. The second did come just ten minutes after the first with a great strike from Jay O'Shea just outside the Iron box. Turning with his right, O'Shea turned in a curling effort, which found the top corner giving Hamann no chance and the Iron a mountain to climb within half an hour if they were to progress to the 2nd round.
Just before half time, Akinola turned Ian Evatt, and looked to be through on goal. Having been beaten by Akinola's acceleration, Evatt went to ground, pulling down Akinola in the process and escaped with a yellow due to a covering defender being available on the far side. The free kick in was nodded down by Sowunmi to Alan Massey, whose shot was scooped up by Lee. Straight down the other end, some sloppy defending allowed Sam Clucas to scuff a shot in from close range, being on his own again inside the 6 yard box. Similar to the first, simple football played around the Iron defence allowed a ball across, which this time Hamann got to but could not prevent, and Clucas was the man presented with the opportunity to tap in unchallenged.
Devonshire made a double substitution at the break, with Marks and Brundle making way for Cox and Strutton. Strutton had an immediate impact, catching a great shot with his right which was palmed away by Tommy Lee. The goalkeeper was the centre of controversy moments later, when outside the box he charged down Jordan Cox who appeared to be through on goal. As Cox went to ground, the referee immediately blew the whistle for a free kick just outside the area, but strangely no word was said to the goalkeeper, nor a card shown for the challenge.
Down the other end, and against the run of play since the break, a Gary Roberts solo effort from outside the area extended the lead to four in the 53rd minute. Tandayi Darikwa ran at the Iron defence, and through a challenge found a looping ball to Roberts. Roberts looked up and nestled the ball into the top left hand corner with a great attempt from outside the area, showing the quality that the League One club has. The Spirites were to have the ball in the back of the net yet again when Jay O'Shea thumped a Gary Roberts through ball past Nick Hamann, but O'Shea was ruled offside and it remained 4-0 with half an hour to play.
The Iron never gave up, with Jordan Cox looking lively up front with Strutton, coming back to receive the ball when possible. Cox did just that, playing the ball out to the right hand side and getting himself into a good position looking for the return. Iron played the ball across the box searching for the opening, and it was eventually Akinola on the other side that found the space required to pull the trigger; a shot fired at Tommy Lee that was palmed away. Cox met the return with his head, which flew over the bar and behind for a goal kick.
On the counter, Chesterfield punished Braintree yet again in the crulest of ways with fifteen minutes remaining when Remi Clerima turned in an own goal when trying to meet a cross in from the left. Gary Roberts tore down the left hand side and provided the cross, but as Remy slid to turn the ball behind, he instead deflected it past the 'keeper Hamann to further extend the lead.
Iron fans held their breath as Akinola cut in to shoot down the left had side, only to be denied by the head of the Chesterfield man on the line. But the day was finished with a final goal from the league side, when Eoin Doyle bagged another just before full time, slotting past Hamann with ease. Moments before the full time whistle, Doyle was put through on the right, and took his chance well, side footing into the bottom corner to wrap up the day which saw Chesterfield ease past Braintree with six goals and no reply.
Iron boss Alan Devonshire showed his discontent on the result, which did see his side match up against a far superior league side. In terms of positioning, the distance between the two is the same as that of Chesterfield and Manchester City at the start of the game. However, Devonshire pulled no punches following the game stating that he was "bitterly disappointed" with his side.
"We did alright for five minutes, started well and then after that we were poor. I'm bitterly disappointed, I feel that the players have let the club down. They are better than that, you know that, you see them week in week out and I'm trying to put my finger on it - I don't know. I am bitterly disappointed with that performance, and all we can do is move on."
"We didn't go with runners and sloppy mistakes, we couldn't clear the ball. How many times did we scuff it ten yards to them? It's just poor. I don't know what they want. It's the first round of the FA Cup, the TV cameras are here, have a go lads and show them how good you are. I've got to apologise to the fans because I feel they were brilliant today and we were poor."
"I said to them in there that they were playing against League One players, but we made them look like Championship or Premier League players today. We need to roll our sleeves up now because we have a game against Dover on Tuesday who had a great win yesterday."
"At the end of the day we have had enough chances to score. Charlie (Strutton) had a chance and Jordan (Cox) had a chance that should have been in the back of the net like it was at the other end. There finishing was good but at the end of the day we also gifted them some goals as well. Especially the third one which I just felt at half time had killed the game, it was so sloppy. We've got to learn quickly."
"I don't know if the confidence is low, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to roll our sleeves up and make sure we get another thirty points in this league to make sure that we stay in it. There are a few people coming back now, so I will have a choice to make. I could probably drop them all after today, but there will be a few changes after today because that was poor."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Habergham, Sowunmi (Clerima), Massey, Isaac, Davis, Mulley, Brundle (Strutton), Marks (Cox), Akinola. Unused subs: Sparkes, Paine, Walker, Pentney. Chesterfield: Lee, Darikwa, Evatt, Ryan, Morsy, Clucas, Jones (Humphreys), O'Shea (Gardner), Raglan, Roberts (Boco), Doyle. Subs: Wright, Ariyibi, Banks. Referee: Brendan Malone. Assistants: Ian Fissenden and Chris O'Donnell. Fourth Official: Darren Blunden. Attendance: 1206.
Match Report by Chris Pargin.
Pay on the day, but tickets on sale Saturday 1-5
Tickets for tomorrow's FA Cup First Round match are on sale this afternoon. Although you can pay on the day at the appropriate turnstile, Braintree supporters are encouraged to purchase their ticket(s) in advance so as to be able to take advantage of turnstiles 5 & 6 that will be open for home ticket holders only - to avoid the expected queues. Thanks to the support of advertisers, in particular Braintree District Council, ticket prices have been reduced for this match, which has now been designated as a Category C fixture and admission will be reduced to:
Seats - adults £16, concession £12
Ground - adults £15, OAP £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
Both ground and seat tickets will available this afternoon from the Clubhouse from 1pm to 5pm
Cup tie on TV and happy hour beer!
The turnstiles for Sunday's FA Cup match against Chesterfield will be open from 12 noon, as will the Iron Clubhouse! We will be showing the Halifax v Bradford City FA Cup tie live on the big screens and offering selected draught beers at discounted prices of just £2.50 a pint for the happy hour of 12 noon - 1pm.
Pay on the day, but tickets on sale now
Tickets for Sunday's FA Cup First Round match are now on sale. Although you can pay on the day at the appropriate turnstile, Braintree supporters are encourages to purchase their ticket(s) in advance so as to be able to take advantage of turnstiles 5 & 6 that will be open for home ticket holders only - to avoid the expected queues. Thanks to the support of advertisers, in particular Braintree District Council, ticket prices have been reduced for this match, which has now been designated as a Category C fixture and admission will be reduced to:
Seats - adults £16, concession £12
Ground - adults £15, OAP £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
Both ground and seat tickets will available as follows:
Thursday (6 November) evening from the Clubhouse 7.30pm-9pm
Friday (7 November) from the Club Office 10am-3.30pm
Saturday (8 November) afternoon from the Clubhouse 1pm-5pm
Braintree's poor league form continues
It was a change of formation for Braintree, playing five in the middle of the park, with James Mulley sitting behind Sean Marks. But it was another defeat for Braintree as they were unable to break through the Mariners defence.
Grimsby started brightest, with the first chance coming from a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the area which went harmlessly over. After twenty minutes another dangerous free-kick was whipped in and cleared by a Braintree head. From the corner it was again headed clear by the Iron defence. Mitch Brundle had to make a last ditch interception to prevent Jack MacKreth from being clean through on goal. It was a two-on-one situation with Nathan Arnold unable to pass the ball beyond Brundle. Braintree continued to absorb the pressure from Grimsby, with iron defending from Massey diving low to scoop a header clear off the boot of Lenell John-Lewis. The best chance came after thirty-seven minutes for John-Lewis, when a headed knock on left him behind the Braintree defence for the first time in the match. His shot however was rushed and sliced which made it easy for Nick Hamann to deal with. There were very few chances created and it finished goalless at half time. Manager Alan Devonshire felt the Iron were "too respectful to Grimsby in the first half and were not themselves."
The second half saw Braintree be more, as Devonshire described, like themselves. There was strong defending in the air and solid tackles, particularly from Omar Sowunmi. Grimsby did not threaten often in the second half, with most of the pressure being dealt with by the Irons defence and crosses and passes were also going astray. The first real chance for Braintree came in second half. An in-swinging corner was meet at the near post going narrowly wide with James McKeown rooted.
The breakthrough goal came from John-Lewis in the sixty-sixth minute. A long range shot by Clay zipped across the surface heading for the far post. Hamann saved the initial shot but could only get his fingertips to the effort and the rebound fell kindly for the lone front man John-Lewis near the penalty spot. His effort was blasted into the roof of the net with Hamann unable to get a touch to the ball. Devonshire stated after the game that he felt that Hamann could have done more to prevent the goal, as the initial shot by Clay was fairly tame.
Braintree had a fantastic opportunity to equalise through Omar Sowunmi after seventy-five minutes. A free-kick in a dangerous position on the right wing was curled into the box perfectly for the unmarked Sowunmi to connect with his head. His effort however went narrowly wide of the post. It was Braintree's only clear opportunity of the game.
There was an opportunity for Grimsby to double their lead late on. A corner was knocked on by Harry Pell which fell to the feet of John-Lewis, his shot in front of goal from a couple of yards out was hit across goal and the ball was then cleared by Habergham who was standing on the post.
There was late pressure from Braintree, but it proved to be too little too late as they were unable to get a decent shot away, with both Kenny Davis and Charlie Strutton having blocked shots and Jordan Cox unable to find a shooting position in the box. Devonshire was not happy with the result of the game, as he felt Grimsby only had the one real chance, but Devonshire also conceded that the team had played poorly. It is now nine games without a win for Braintree. When questioned on this Devonshire reassured that the club will be back to winning ways soon and that he is confident of the upcoming game on Sunday against League One side Chesterfield in the FA Cup first round. Devonshire was quick to point out that a lot of players were coming back into the squad from injuries which gives him confidence as he will have choices to make and options on the bench.
Teams: Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Omar Sowunmi, Chez Isaacs (Charlie Strutton, 68 mins), Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Dan Walker, James Mulley (Jordan Cox, 80 mins), Sean Marks, Dan Sparkes (Kenny Davis, 68 mins). Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Simeon Akinola.
Grimsby Town FC: James McKeown, Aswad Thomas, Shaun Pearson, Carl Magnay, Jack MacKreth (Jon-Paul Pittman 85 mins), Craig Disley, Lenell John-Lewis, Craig Clay, Nathan Arnold, Aristote Nsiala, Harry Pell. Unused Subs: Paul Bignot, Ross Hannah, Scott Neilson. Jon-Paul Pittman, Paddy McLaughlin. Attendance: 875. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.
Surrey club withstand second half barrage
On the back on an eight goal thriller midweek at Cressing Road, Iron took a well-earned point in a tight game with few chances when they returned home in the league. Simeon Akinola looked a threat throughout the game, a positive that manager Alan Devonshire will take along with the clean sheet that the Iron will be keen to repeat against Grimsby on Tuesday night.
Woking had the initial chances of the game, with Hamann recovering well around ten minutes into the match to dive onto a loose ball that looked to be trickling towards the goal line. In a mix up with Omar Sowunmi, Hamann committed himself at the edge of the box, but as the ball skipped past, Hamann was on the back foot, recovering quickly enough to scoop up the danger.
Guiseppe Sole had a shot inside the Braintree area 16 minutes in, which he took on the turn and forced Hamann into a good save. The Iron 'keeper could only parry the ball back into the box, but Sowunmi was there to clear the danger.
Just after the half an hour mark, Scott Rendell found himself in space after some work around the Iron box by Woking. Rendell struck a weak shot from a great position in front of the centre of goal, allowing Hamann to get down low in time to cover. Straight down the other end, Akinola eventually picked up the clearance, but was denied by Ross Warner who parried his attempt behind goal. The resulting corner was flicked over the bar by Akinola after a good delivery into the box.
The next Iron attack left James Mulley furious after some nice build up play which ended with Mulley face down on the Cressing Road turf. Walker played a nice ball through to Mulley who looked to be pushed by Joe McNerney, who was clearly losing the foot race. As the last man, a blow of the whistle would have been sure to have led to a red card, but the referee waved play on much to the dismay of the Iron faithful.
After the restart, Iron gained momentum and had a great chance on the hour mark. Akinola stood his ground against the odds to drill in a cross to strike partner Jordan Cox. Directly in front of the Iron fans behind the goal, Cox's shot was blocked, and a cry came from the faithful for hand ball. But the referee waved away appeals, and Jordan's second attempt went wide.
Despite some good build up play by Braintree, Woking restricted the chances, and frustration set in as the whistle loomed. Brundle resorted to a speculative effort from way out which he put well wide with two minutes of normal time to play. Isaac drifted a ball in from a free kick in a good area in additional time. With a goalmouth scramble, Iron looked about to shoot, but with the goalkeeper on the floor the referee stopped play. The dropped ball came to nothing, and both sides were forced to settle for a point in a game of very few chances.
Reflecting after the game, manager Alan Devonshire confirmed his content with the team's performance.
"Second half I thought we bossed and were the only team that were going to win the game. I was pleased with it. It was a decent game, with two decent sides on the day and it was probably a fair result in the end. To get a draw at the end of the day, we'll take it and look forward to Tuesday."
"I might start Charlie (Strutton) on Tuesday, I'll have a chat with him and see how he feels, but I will be resting a few on Tuesday."
"I felt that we were a bit shaky defensively first half, but second half I was really pleased with our shape was and the way we played. All that was missing was a goal, but they are a very good side. Gary's done very well with them this season. We'll take it, and we'll see how we go for Tuesday."
Braintree Town: Hamann, Peters, Habergham, Sowunmi, Massey, Mulley, Isaac, Brundle. Walker, Akinola, Cox. Unused Subs: Sparkes, Strutton, Pentney, Paine, Case. Woking: Warner, Newton, McNerney, Clarke, Payne, Murtagh (Jones), Rendell, Sole (Marriott), Betsy, Lewis (Goddard), Arthur. Unused subs: Cester, Cole. Referee: Brett Huxtable. Assistants: Paul Yates and Paul Howard. Fourth Official: Carl Pearse. Attendance: 876. Match report by Chris Pargin.
Now a Category C game for visit of Chesterfield
Thanks to the support of advertisers, in particular Braintree District Council, ticket prices have been reduced for our FA Cup First Round match against Chesterfield, a week on Sunday, 9th November. This match has now been designated as a Category C fixture and admission will be reduced to:
Seats - adults £16, concession £12
Ground - adults £15, OAP £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
Although the game will a 'Pay on the day' fixture, we will have seat tickets available in advance - hopefully by next Tuesday at both clubs. We also hope to have ground tickets available in advance - more news on their availability when we have it. Home supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to reduce the queues through turnstiles on the day.
Club to review ticket pricing
Braintree Town's FA Cup First Round fixture at home to Chesterfield is one of eight ties that will feature in the BBC's FA Cup Final Score with Jason Mohammed on Sunday 9 November, with kick-off at 2pm. As a result of additional funding and advertising secured for the match from, in particular, Braintree District Council, the Club will now be reviewing the ticket prices for the game and, with the agreement of both our opponents and The FA reduce them accordingly - more news when we have it.
Both sides evenly matched in eight-goal thriller
Braintree were looking to overcome Weymouth for a place in the FA Cup first round, which would see them host League One side Chesterfield. Having drawn at Weymouth, with neither team scoring, the tie exploded into life at Cressing Road, with the tie finishing 3-3 and Braintree going on to win 5-3 after extra time. Simeon Akinola scored his first and second goal for the club in the match and Dan Walker also got his first two goals of the season.
In a fairly even first half it was Braintree who narrowly edged the contest, creating a number of chances, especially with Akinola and Walker, and also earning plenty of corners. Weymouth did come close to opening the scoring after 25 minutes, when Adam Kelly hit the post with a curling shot from the edge of the area after a swift counter attack, the rebound being blazed over the bar by Jamie West. It was however Jordan Cox who started the scoring after 42 minutes. A ball over the Terras defence was chased by both Weymouth keeper Jason Matthews and Cox. Matthews was first to the ball, but his clearance was straight at Cox and the ball ricocheted kindly, leaving Cox clear to slide the ball into an empty net close to the byline.
Braintree, and in particular Akinola, started the second half brightly, with Akinola scoring his first goal for the club with a solo effort after 51 minutes. Akinola robbed West and then skipped past a couple of Weymouth challenges, working himself into a shooting position on the edge of the box, his low powerful drive beating Matthews at his near post. The Iron had dominated the opening exchanges, but Weymouth came back into the game soon after when a clearance from the Iron only went as far as Adam Kelly who placed an excellent curling shot from outside the box into the top far corner of the net that had Nick Hamann rooted to the spot.
Walker looked to have scored the goal that secured the Irons place in the first round proper after 72 minutes. Akinola picked the ball up just inside the Weymouth half and played a delightful cross field ball wide to Walker in plenty of space on the right wing. Walker had the option to cross but instead cut inside and skinned passed his marker to plant a low drive into the opposite corner from a wide angle.
The Terras however were not ready to give up the tie and pegged Braintree back almost immediately with a second goal for Kelly. Yetton forced the ball into the Braintree box after finding space on the right wing and his cross was turned in by Kelly after he slide in to make contact with the ball. The late drama was far from over as the Terras sensed they could force the game in to extra time and Braintree were rattled. After 75 minutes Weymouth captain Stewart Yetton smashed in the equaliser after a scramble in the six yard box following some direct running from Kelly. Weymouth had turned the tie on its head but the Iron went into the last few minutes of the match and injury time looking for a winner, with Chez Isaac coming close to heading Braintree back in front with the last touch of normal time.
Despite making a spirited comeback, Weymouth were on the back foot for most of extra time, as Weymouth looked as though they were tiring, but Braintree looked galvanised. Whatever was said after end of normal time by Alan Devonshire clearly worked. After 3 minutes of extra time Braintree re-took the lead when a teasing cross from Sam Habergham on the left wing was nodded in by Akinola on the edge of the six yard box. Akinola had a few more attempts through extra time but could not quite round off his evening with a hat trick.
The Irons fifth came in the 107th minute when Weymouth broke down a Braintree attack and looked to play the ball out from the back, but a mislaid pass was intercepted by Walker in the Terras half, he then bore down on goal unchallenged and unleashed a low shot on the edge of the box that nestled in the bottom left corner.
Braintree had for the third time in the game built a two goal cushion that Weymouth could no longer overcome as they had finally exhausted themselves. After the fifth goal Braintree created a number of other chances, especially for Charlie Strutton, and the last half of extra time was comfortable for Braintree, but there was to be no sixth goal. Braintree can now look forward to an encounter with Chesterfield at Cressing Road a week on Saturday.
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaacs, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Dan Walker, Ryan Peters, Jordan Cox (Dan Sparkes 109 mins), Simeon Akinola (Charlie Strutton, 111 mins), James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Ryan Case, Kenny Davis, Joe Maybanks, Omar Sowunmi. Weymouth FC: Jason Matthews, Jamie West (Jake Wannell, 64 mins), Jordan Copp, Chris McPhee, Jamie Laird, Calvin Brooks, Adam Kelly, George Rigg, Stuart Yetton, Steve Colwell, Chris Sheppard. Unused Subs: Luke Winsper, Sam Poole, Joe Prodomo. Attendance: 480. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.
League One side for the replay winners
In the FA Cup First Round draw, made at the National Football Centre at St George's Park in Burton, the winners of Tuesday evening's Fourth Qualifying Round replay between Braintree Town and Weymouth were drawn at home to Chesterfield, currently tenth in Sky Bet League One. The tie will take place across the weekend of 7-10 November.
Even match ends goal-less
It was a repeat of last year's FA Cup draw for the Iron, as they made the long trip to Dorset to face Southern Leaguers Weymouth at the Bob Lucas Stadium. But it was not the same result as last season, with a replay at Cressing Road this Tuesday evening now needed to decide which team will progress into the next round. Weymouth are currently fourth in the Southern Premier, two divisions below Braintree, yet for much of the first half were a match for the Iron. In the second half it was a different story as Braintree had large spells of dominance but were unable to capitalise on the chances they created.
Weymouth had a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring with the first chance of the game after two minutes. The chance came after Braintree conceded a free kick on the right wing. The cross went high and evaded all the heads in the box, but found Steve Colwell unmarked on the edge of the six yard box. Colwell had enough time to take a touch and to then get his shot away, which fortunately went wide of the target.
Braintree's best chance of the half came to Dan Walker after twenty-three minutes. Iron hit the Terras on the break and, with the home defence stretched, Walker ran down the left wing unchecked into the Weymouth box before placing his shot under the arm of onrushing Jason Matthews. The keeper was beaten but the shot went wide of the upright with Jordan Cox unable to get a toe to the ball to divert it.
The Terras had another great chance in the first half, which came after thirty-five minutes. After a Braintree attack with Akinola petered out, Weymouth countered down the right with Stuart Yetton, who drilled a shot on the right edge of the box. His shot went under a sliding Braintree block and through the legs of Colwell and ended up going just wide.
At the start of the second half Braintree showed more urgency with three great chances coming in quick succession after fifty minutes. The first chance fell to Simeon Akinola in a one-on-one with Matthews. Matthews parried Akinola's effort and it was hastily cleared by the Weymouth defence before Cox or James Mulley could get to the rebound. Moments later Mulley whipped in a great ball in from the right wing across the six yard box and Dan Walker muscled his way in front of his defender to connect with the ball. His shot went across goal and went narrowly wide of the post. Just a minute later it was then Akinola again with a one-on-one chance after a clever little ball over the top of the Weymouth defence. This time his shot beat Matthews, but also went just inches wide of the post.
It was after 87 minutes that Jordan Cox had arguably the best chance to seal what could have been a late winner. Mulley won possession in the Weymouth half and sent a teasing cross straight onto the head of Cox, just inside the six yard box and unmarked. Cox headed the ball back across goal with enough power but not enough accuracy as it went agonisingly wide of the upright. It was the last real chance for either team to decide the tie on the day.
Despite Weymouth having a few very clear cut chances, Nick Hamann was only called into action on a few occasions and was not seriously tested. It was in part due to Weymouth not hitting the target, but Braintree restricted Weymouth in the second half and had they taken their clear chances themselves, could have won the game.
Weymouth FC: Jason Matthews, Ashley Wells, Jordan Copp, Chris McPhee, Jamie Laird, Calvin Brooks, Adam Kelly (Sam Poole, 64 mins), George Rigg, Stuart Yetton, Steve Colwell (Luke Winsper 73 mins), Chris Shephard. Unused Subs: Tim Sills, Ed Palmer, Jake Wannell, Jamie West, Joe Prodomo. Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaacs, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Dan Walker (Charlie Strutton, 83 mins), Ryan Peters, Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Ryan Case, Dan Sparkes, Joe Moore, Joe Maybanks, Omar Sowunmi. Attendance: 989. Match Report by Ryan Delaney.
Pre-matrch injury and dismissal don't help
It seemed that Iron would have no luck all evening against top of the league Barnet at the Hive, with an injury prior to kick off, a sending off 26 minutes in and three goals conceded forming a night to forget in the sole Conference Premier game on Tuesday evening.
A last minute injury to skipper Kenny Davis meant that Alan Devonshire was forced into a late change, handing Jordan Cox another start and providing Sean Marks with the responsibility of captain. Devonshire had just three substitutes on the bench following the injury, one being Carl Pentney, having taken just four. With the forced alteration, Devonshire made four changes to the side named on Saturday with a new look Iron taking to the field.
James Mulley had the ball in the back of the net on 14minutes in front of a vocal Iron following, but was denied opening the scoring with the whistle already blown for a foul. Down the other end, some great defending by Ryan Peters denied Akinde from pulling the trigger at the final moment, toeing the ball away for a corner. Not to be outdone, Alan Massey threw himself in front of a Weston shot, pulling off a great block inside the first 20minutes.
A good opening quarter of the game for Iron was turned on its head within two minutes when Iron went both a goal and a man down. First Luisma Villa drilled home the opener on 26 minutes, tucking the ball beyond the reach of the outstretched Hamann largely against the run of play. From the kick off, Sean Marks made Braintree's task of overcoming the single goal deficit even harder when he was sent off for an elbow on Bondz N'Gala. The home side surrounded referee Dean Treleaven, who brandished the red after consolting his assistant on the challenge.
With Braintree down to 10 and without their skipper at the last moment, it wasn't long before a second goal was added, again by Villa, benefitting from Iron's failings to clear a corner in from their right hand side. Villa struck low once more, this time across goal and into Hamanns left to extend the lead, sending Iron 2-0 down going into half time.
Mitch Brundle was called into action early into the second half, sliding in to clear off the line as Barnet looked to finish the game as early as possible from kick off. It took until the 57th minute to score the third, with substitute Luke Gambin finishing some nice build up play for the home side. Gambin was there to side foot the ball past Hamann, having been subbed on at half time for Lee Cook.
The Iron appeals for a penalty were turned down on 65 minutes when Jordan Cox went down in the area under a challenge from Graham Stack. Chez Isaac floated in a cross from the left which committed the goalkeeper inside the six yard box, and with Cox on the floor, the referee was turned to by the Iron faithful desperate to see their side get back into the game, but given nothing by the man in black.
With Barnet coasting for the final 25 minutes, little was created in terms of opportunities for either side, the extra man for two thirds of the game proving too much to overcome for an injury plagued Iron side.
Barnet: Stack, Yiadom, Johnson, N'Gala, Stephens, Weston, Akinde, Cook (Gambin), Togwell, Villa, Nurse (Mekki). Subs: Saville, Vilhete, Hoskins. Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Isaac, Massey, Walker, Marks, Sparkes (Case), Smith, Peters, Mulley, Cox (Akinola). Subs: Pentney, Cox. Referee: Dean Treleaven. Assistants: Craig Green and Gary Parson. Fourth official: Lee Marshallsay. Attendance: 1074. Match report by Chris Pargin.
Iron lose by only goal at Altrincham
A scrappy affair at the J. Davidson stadium saw Altrincham win by a single goal in a performance that Iron will be keen to put behind them in the North West. Ipswich Town loanee Omar Sowunmi made his debut in a Braintree Town shirt after signing a month long deal yesterday, but Devonshire's problems looked to be at the other end of the pitch as Iron created little against a side that has shipped goals in the past few games in this division. Devonshire said after the match that "the sharpness doesn't look right further up the pitch."
A slow start to the game in Greater Manchester saw little more than a sliced Kenny Davis effort in the opening stages. However, Iron began to build some momentum as they got into the groove, with a nice passage of play led by Mitch Brindle to set up James Mulley. Though Mulley could gain nothing more than a corner with this chance, the winger was to hit to bar minutes later when he picked up the ball on the left hand side, and wrapped his right foot around the ball from distance.
Iron loanee Omar Sowunmi used his towering height to his advantage whilst up for a corner at the back post, but his headed effort dropped the wrong side of the post for an early Braintree lead. At the other end, the first real time that the hosts have come forward lead to a good chance for Simon Richamn. A run of good passes before a low driven cross from the Altrincham left, found Richman in the middle whose shot was denied by Hamann's leg, and the rebound put wide.
Richmans next move was far more effective, as the again cut in to receive the ball from the left hand side. Again his shot was blocked by Hamann, but this time Nicky Clee was there to pick up the rebound deep into the Braintree box, punishing Iron by finding the net just inside the half hour mark.
Iron had chances to reply, but failed to make possession count with little more than half chances in the first 45 minutes. Alan Devonshire was left with some work to do at half time, trailing 1-0 at the whistle.
It was the hosts that came out the quickest, with Damian Reeves through on goal in the opening five minutes of the second half, firing over from close range. Hamann did well to claw out a header down to his left on the hour mark, moments before Devonshire made a double substitution, bringing on Sean Marks and Dan Sparkes for Dan Walker and Chez Isaac.
The referee brandished four yellows in as many minutes, beginning with Reeves and Sowunmi, who both took a turn at pushing one another and could have seen red in an isolated incident. Sam Habergham earned his warning moments later for a late tackle, and Mitch Brundle also found the book for a high foot.
With both sides creating little, Davis looked most likely to equalise in the second half. Davis received the ball just outside the Altrincham box, brought the ball across his body with his right, and struck the underside of the woodwork with the resulting shot. Bouncing the wrong way for the Iron faithful, Sean Marks tried desperately to latch onto the rebound, which saw some scrappy moments in front of goal. Sam Habergham finally had the chance of the resulting follow up, but fired way over the bar with little more than five minutes left on the clock.
Four minutes of added time petered away as Iron struggled to create again, perhaps the story of their afternoon, going home empty handed to a single Altrincham goal.
Alan Devonshire reflected on the performance stating that "In the first 20-25minutes we bossed the game seeing probably too much of the ball. We were camped in their half really, then we got done with a sucker punch poor poor goal."
"I felt we deserved something out of the game but we haven't and we have to move on. We'll role our sleeves up for Tuesday."
"I'll look at what happens on Tuesday. He (Omar Sownumi) was available and Remy's out for a couple of weeks. We're a small side, but with getting him in, all of a sudden we look a big side. He done ok, he's helping us through this period and we'll see from there what goes on."
"We're a bit worried at the moment because we haven't created as much as we did earlier on the season. It's the old cliche, we'll role our sleeves up and get on with it."
Atrincham: Coburn, Densmore, Moult, Havern, Leather, Lawrie, Richman, Reeves, Clee. Marshall, Cavanagh. Subs: Gillespie, Perry, Wilkinson, Paron, Williams. Braintree Town: Hamann, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac (Sparkes), Massey, Walker Marks), Davis, Cox, Peters, Mulley, Sowunmi. Unused Subs: Smith, Case, Pentney. Referee: Ben Toner. Assistants: Sean Richardson and Matthew Pope. Fourth Official: Barry Lamb. Attendance: 894. Match report by Chris Pargin.
6'5 defender joins from Ipswich Town
Braintree Town manager Alan Devonshire has strengthened his squad ahead on Saturday's Vanarama Conference trip to Altrincham by taking 19-year old centre-half Omar Sowunmi on loan from Championship neighbours Ipswich Town, initially until mid-November. The 6'5 defender signed a season-long contract at Portman Road in May this year and Devs has confirmed that he will be included in the squad for the trip North tomorrow.
Iron set for first visit to Altrincham
Up next for Iron is a trip to Moss Lane to take on Altrincham. The Greater Manchester side will be looking to pull themselves away from the bottom, with Braintree looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at home to Southport last weekend.
Conference newcomers Altrincham finished last season in 3rd position in the Conference North, and have had a tough test so far which sees them sit in 21st position currently. The Robins have been struggling for goals after failing to hit the back of the net in their past two games. Conceding 14 goals in their past six would suggest that the Iron have a great opportunity to get the goals needed to end a run of five winless games.
The club's top scorer Damian Reeves will be looking to add to his already impressive goal-scoring tally of seven, but the fans can be expecting a physical game with three of Altrincham's players being sent off this season. Perhaps not a statistic that Iron manager Alan Devonshire will be pleased to hear having seen his squad already plagued by injuries early this season.
Match Preview by Brandon Westbrook
Duplicate of last season in the fourth qualifying round
Braintree Town have been drawn away to Southern League Premier Division side Weymouth in the Fourth and final Qualifying Round of this season's FA Cup competition. This is the second successive season that the two sides have been drawn together, having been paired at the same stage last season. The Terras have enjoyed a good start to the season - they sit in the Southern League Premier Division play-off places with eight wins and two draws from their twelve league games to date. The match is scheduled for a week on Saturday, 25th October, with kick-off at 3pm.
IRON FADE BADLY AGAINST SOUTHPORT
as slide into bottom half of the table continues
IF A team doesn't take it chances and score goals then it simply won't win matches which in reality is now a clear wake-up call for Iron players after this disappointing defeat at Cressing Road on Saturday.
They had more than enough goal scoring chances to have had the game and points wrapped up by the interval but some glaring misses proved fatal before just past the hour when the visitors scored, against the run of play, after which it was clear they would run out winners as the Iron capitulated.
Unfortunately the main culprit for missing gilt-edged chances was young striker Jordan Cox who had a game he will probably want to forget.
On 15 minutes his striking partner Dan Walker shrug off defender Jonny Lynch to set him up for a goal with a neat chip cross ball to him, unmarked in the area, but with just had the keeper to beat he headed the ball over the bar and then five minutes before the interval he missed an even easier chance when unmarked inside the penalty box he managed to stab the ball past the post with the goal at his mercy.
On the hour he was again unmarked in the area but headed over from a Dan Sparkes corner and minutes later Walker was again a provider with a fine cross but Cox somehow managed to put his header wide.
He wasn't the only culprit though because Walker missed a comparatively easy chance early in the first half, Chez Isaac fired over on the half hour when he should have scored and four minutes before the break the returning from injury Sparkes also drove the ball over the bar when clean through down the left and running into the area with only keeper David Raya Martin to beat.
It was much the same sad scenario in the early part of the second half when Kenny Davis found space to head a Sam Habergham left wing cross but it went straight into the hands of Martin.
The visiting keeper was the busier of the two keepers all afternoon and on 58 minutes he did well to deal with a curling free-kick from Sparkes and shortly afterwards both James Mulley and Walker made excellent runs through the backward tracking visiting defence but they failed dismally with their finishing when either should have been more clinical and scored.
The Iron certainly missed the pace and shooting too of the injured Simeon Akinola up front but there was some hope for the home fans in the 810 crowd when fit again striker Sean Marks emerged off the bench on 68 minutes replacing Sparkes.
Unfortunately though he too received few good passes in the final quarter of the pitch for him to make any impression.
Under a minute of that Iron substitution though they fell behind when what appeared to be an innocuous attack from the visitors' Luke George sent a first time low shot goal ward that picked up an unfortunate ricochet on the way and the ball flew into the bottom corner of Nick Hamann's goal.
As when conceding their first goal at Gateshead the previous week the Iron game plan then appeared to collapse with players lacking spirit and commitment for the final 20 minutes of the game as if going behind had again really knocked the wind out of their sails.
They needed to raise their game and again Cox missed another chance before with four minutes to go he was belatedly and probably by now relieved to be substituted and replaced by Ryan Case with Walker moving back up front to partner Marks.
But it was all to no available as the Iron allowed the visitors to now take control of the game when what they really needed to do was up the pace of their game again.
All the earlier misses though came back to haunt the with four minutes to go when Amadou Bakayoku with his back to the Iron goal was allowed to cleverly turn marker Alan Massey inside the home area himself plenty of room to score with a low shot into the corner of the Iron net.
In the end it was a deserved win for the visitors and the Iron can have no complaints really because it was all down to them not taking some of the chances they had created early on.
Little wonder Iron fans are eagerly awaiting the return of long time injured striker Charlie Strutton in about two weeks to add some clinical finishing in their attack which is sadly missing at present.
Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters, Habergham, Massey, Brundle; Mulley, Davis, Isaac, Sparkes (Marks 68); Cox (Case 86), Walker. Unused subs: Pentney, Smith.
Iron manager Alan Devonshire said afterwards: "Goals change games and we should have done so before half time with the chances we had and the game would have been over.
"I'm worried that as in the Gateshead game we dominated for so long but once we concede a goal we seem to collapse like a pack of cards and we have quickly to sort that one out," he continued. "At the end of the day they deserved to win because they took two of the three chances they had - we just didn't take one of the many more we had in the game."
He added: "So no excuses from me, we lost and we now have a week to work at things and get us up to Altrincham next week and start winning."
He went on: "I think with all the recent injuries we got away with it when doing well against the top three sides but it's now caught up with us although hopefully within the next two weeks we should get all the players back from injury.
"It's very difficult at this level running with such a small squad when you get injuries and we are on one of the smallest budgets in the league so I would say to the supporters moaning to me today to take a reality check and see where we have come from," he continued. "We've come a long way in a short time and we'll continue the way we have done so far - we've already 20 points on the board and our basic target remains 50 points for the season and I'm confident we will do it again."
Chairman Lee Harding agreed: "After such a disappointing result, it is always easy to blame a lack of players or money. Yes, we have a small squad at the moment, but the Club gives Alan full delegated authority to bring in who he chooses - he alone decides who and how many players we have. As to the playing budget, it may not be the highest in the division, but it is certainly the biggest we have ever allowed a manager at this Club. We must never forget that it is all too easy for a club to spend money it does not have (as the supporters of both Hereford and Salisbury found out last season) but we in the board room remain convinced that it is competitive. It is certainly more than last season ... and the two seasons before."
MARKS & SPARKES TO RETURN?
Devs sees light at the end of injury tunnel
Team News - Braintree hope to have both Sean Marks and Dan Sparkes back in contention as they welcome Southport to Cressing Road on Saturday. The pair have been missing in recent weeks but a week with no midweek game has given them further time to recover and Manager Alan Devonshire said: "We are starting to get players back and they might be available for the weekend. I thought we looked a little tired at Gateshead last week because players have had to play every game recently while we have had four or five out injured. Hopefully a few fresh legs will add competition."
The Opposition - Southport gave new boss Gary Brabin a great start on his return as Manager, coming back from 2-0 down after 17 minutes to draw 3-3 with Lincoln on Tuesday night. Brabin is in his second spell as boss at Haig Avenue having replaced Martin Foyle after a 5-2 defeat to Woking. Brabin has enjoyed success at this level with Cambridge and in former York striker Richard Brodie has a forward who has always scored regularly at this level. Currently sitting 22nd, Southport finished last season in 18th position, a way shy of an impressive 7th place finish in the 2011-12 season. The sides last met in April 2014 at the Merseyrail Community stadium, where Braintree ran out 4-0 winners on the day. Sean Marks opened the scoring early on, with Dan Holman adding a brace before James Mulley finished the scoring with a rare header. The fixture looks set to see goals a plenty again, with the visitors seeing 13 in their last 2 fixtures. The Port conceded five at home to Woking in a 5-2 loss last weekend, before hosting Lincoln City in a 3-3 draw on Tuesday.
Tickets - This is a Category B game with adult admission £16 for the terraces and £17 for the seats. Under 16s can watch the game for just £6, with under 11s £4.
Pre-Programmed - Make sure you pick up a copy of the Matchday Programme tomorrow. Featuring the latest news on relocation from Chairman Lee Harding, teams news and views from both Manager Alan Devonshire and Skipper Kenny Davis, the programme is packed full with news from around the club and the league as well as topical thought-provoking articles on all aspects of the game. The programme is available all around the ground for just £2.50.
Get Involved - Want to team up with The Iron? Then click here SALES & MARKETING for a full list of partnership opportunities.
Match preview by Chris Williams and Brandon Westbrook
HEED OVERPOWER TIRED IRON
Injury ravaged Braintree squad lead but lose
A DEVASTING six minute spell midway in the second half during which they conceded three quick goals ended any hope the Iron had of returning home from Tyneside with at least a point on Saturday.
Up until the 69th minute they had looked comfortable, controlled the game and taken a first half lead through the persistence on Jordan Cox who sneaked in between home defender to slide the ball into the net on 34 minutes.
But wily home boss Gary Mills threw caution to the wind making three substitutions around the hour to effectively play with four strikers and it immediately paid off with fortunes completely reversed leaving his side to in the end run out comfortable winners.
With fresh legs on in attack the home side full-timers took advantage of by now extremely leg weary and leaden-footed part-time Iron side and took them to pieces leaving the 36 loyal Iron who made the long journey to the north-east wondering what might have been had their players been able to maintain their recent impressive form.
But in truth the Iron's physical effort in holding the league's top two teams to draws in the previous seven days finally caught up with them in this second half and with again just a bare eleven first team players fit to start the game they knew from the off they would find it another tough game.
Iron assistant manager Keith Rowlands admitted after the game: "Yes, we know were are really stretched at the moment with the number of injuries we have with our small squad but that's no excuse because we had done exceptionally well up until they scored.
"They had the advantage of bringing fit and experienced players off their bench to change the game and they did so but we are still disappointed at the way we conceded all three individual goals and in such a short space of time," he continued. "We didn't have their option on the bench but we should still have competed better in certain areas at certain times and particularly shut them down more but we failed to and they scored their goals."
He added: "We know they are a good team and they will be up there near the top at the end of the season but we didn't do ourselves justice on the day and we'll look forward to having no midweek game and getting ourselves prepared and back on form for next Saturday."
The fact that the Iron only had one corner in the whole match compared to 10 for the home side did reflect on the quality of attacking potential the home team offered.
Up until the late flurry of home goals it had in truth been a scrappy encounter but the Iron, having weathered an initial difficult 15 minutes, settled down and for long periods of the game look to be in control, even with three or four players clearly not on song and lacking their normal aptitude for the game.
Cox had opened the scoring when he latched on to a poor headed back pass by Phil Turnbull to squeeze the ball past keeper Adam Bartlett and both Simeon Akinola and James Mulley wasted good first half chances to have increased the Iron's one goal lead at the break.
Early in the second half Mulley fired over when well places and on the hour Akinola cross a fine ball from the right wing into the path of the unmarked Cox but he just failed to get his head to the ball with Bartlett stranded having missed the cross.
But it all went horribly wrong for the Iron with the three home substitutions made as they upped their pace and along with some poor defending it allowed Carl Finnigan time and space to stroke a first time shot past keeper Nic Hamann on 69 minutes to equalise.
Three minutes later Turnbull made amends for his earlier mistake by moving on to the edge of the Iron area where a neat move saw him unmarked and able to drive a low shot into the far corner of Hamann's net.
Three minutes later the game was over as a contest when another substitute Jon Shaw with also so much time and space able to drill the ball into the net from just inside the area and again the Iron paid for some poor marking.
By now the Iron looked a shadow of the side seen in their last two games with too many players looking tired and unable to cope with the resurgent home side as they pushed forward for more goals.
The one bright spot for Iron fans was the re-emergence of Sean Marks after a six game absence through injury who came on as a late substitute and was able to gain 15 minutes of action although by then his side had really lost the game.
Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters, Habrgham, Massey, Brundle; Mulley (Marks 76), Davis (Smith 84), Walker, Cox (Case 82), Akinola. Unused sub: Pentney. Attendance: 1,244. Match report by David Ward.
LEADERS HOLD BRAINTREE
Cox headers levels things up
Braintree took the sting out of the free scoring Bees in a very even contest at Cressing Road, as the game finished 1-1. Having held high flying Halifax to a draw just two days previous, Alan Devonshire's men put in another shift against top of the table opposition to take a well earned point. Such was the team performance that Alan Devonshire refused to point out any individual performances stating that there "were a few really good performances in the team."
The game did not start the way Braintree would have liked, being put on the back foot early on with a few crosses and long throws, as well as Barnet's powerhouse striker Jon Akinde surging through the Iron defence at times. The Barnet forward players also pressurised the Braintree defence by pushing up and chasing the ball down. All the early pressure paid off for Barnet as they took the lead after twelve minutes through Akinde. A cross from the right wing found Akinde a few yards from goal between Mitch Brundle and Alan Massey and his firm header found the top right corner. The last two goals that Braintree have conceded have been from headers from right wing crosses. With nineteen minutes gone Barnet could have been two goals to the good. A right wing cross had been headed at goal but was deflected wide for a corner, from the resulting corner the headed chance went just inches wide of the post.
After the first twenty minutes Braintree began to grow into the game. Akinola was very active all game, winning headers, putting defenders under pressure and creating chances. After twenty-three minutes Akinola had the ball in the Barnet net by back heeling James Mulley's half volley past Graham Stack. However, the linesman had his flag raised and the goal wasn't given. There were a number of chances for both teams, with Alan Massey having to put in a last ditch tackle in the box after Sam Hoskins had danced past a number of challenges, and Chez Isaac and Kenny Davis having a number of long range attempts, however they were not close to troubling Stack.
The equaliser came after thirty-six minutes and via the head of Jordan Cox. Ryan Peters went on a marauding run at the Barnet defence before passing the ball to Mulley who then passed it back to Isaac. The cross came from the right side of the pitch and it was a perfect cross for Cox to run on to and head downwards at goal. Stack managed to get a hand on to the ball but the header was too strong and he could not prevent it from crossing the line. Up to half time the game remained even and fairly open but there were no other clear cut chances.
From the restart the game continued to be an even battle. The first chance of the second half was from Walker, who was impressive throughout the match with some of his runs. After forty-eight minutes Walker made a run into the box and from a tight angle attempted a cross turn shot that went narrowly over the bar. Walker was having his shirt pulled in the box and protested to the referee, but nothing was given. A minute later Walker then exchanged neat passes with Mulley before attempting to find Akinola with a killer through ball, but the pass had too much weight on it and Stack was able to gather the ball. Moments later and Walker and Mulley were in a two on one situation with the Barnet defence. Mulley had the option to pass the ball and put Walker through, but instead opted to run at the Barnet defence instead. The chance to pass to Walker was gone as the Barnet defence recovered and Mulley then chose to shoot, however his attempt was comfortable enough for Stack to hold. A few minutes later and Akinola eased past three Barnet players before unleashing a shot which was also comfortable for Stack to hold on to.
With fifty-eight minutes on the clock Barnet had a fantastic chance as a ball over the top of the Braintree defence was latched onto by Akinde who lobbed the ball over the onrushing Nick Hamann. Fortunately for Braintree Akinde over hit the lob and it landed on the roof of the net. Barnet were having the lions share of the possesion, but Braintree's defence stood firm, with some strong but fair tackles, one of which from Peters injured Sam Muggleton. Braintree also posed a threat to Barnet on the counter, especially with the direct running of Akinola, Mulley and Walker.
As the game entered the last ten minutes Hamann was called upon to make a smart save. A headed knockdown by Akinde was met by a powerful shot from Villa, however Hamann was equal to it and parried it away. Braintree then countered from Barnet's chance and Mulley sent a cross into Cox at the back post only a few yards from goal with only one defender for company, who he had fallen trying to get a head to the ball. Cox now had a glorious chance to score but miscued his volley and from his air shot then took a second shot at goal which he scuffed wide. It was Braintree's best opportunity to win the game. Akinola and Walker had a counter moments later but Walkers shot from outside the box was deflected wide for a corner.
In the ninetieth minute Akinde was bundled over on the edge of the box after dispossessing Akinola and powering past three challenges. The free kick was in a very dangerous position and was Barnet's last opportunity to sting the Iron, but the shot was straight at the wall and the game finished as a draw.
It was a result that pleased the manager, especially as Braintree had only enough players to name four substitutes on the bench. None of the bench were used as Alan Devonshire had "faith in the eleven on the pitch." Furthermore, Alan Devonshire confirmed "it is likely that it will be the same starting eleven for the game at Gateshead." The manager then remarked that imagine "what results we can get when we have a full team."
Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Dan Walker, Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola, James Mulley. Unused Subs: Carl Pentney, Ryan Case, Joe Moore, Steve Smith.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack, Andy Yiadom, Sam Muggleton (Luisma Villa, 68 mins), Dave Stephens, Bondz N'Gala, Curtis Weston, Sam Togwell, Jon Nurse (Luke Gambin, 46 mins) Elliot Johnson (Mauro Vilhete, 46 mins) Jon Akinde, Sam Hoskins. Unused Subs: Jack Saville, Alfie Pavey.
Attendance: 1,168. Match Report by Ryan Delaney
ALL-SQUARE WITH 'FAX
Braintree & Halifax cancel each other out
Iron were looking to continue their impressive home record so far this season with victory over Halifax Town who were sitting third in the table. Braintree have so far put in some strong performances at home against the likes of Kidderminster and Bristol Rovers. It was not the victory Braintree were after, instead it was the first draw of the campaign for the Iron, as Alan Devonshire said it was "two good teams cancelling each other out."
There were very few chances throughout the first half and Braintree's best chance fell to captain Kenny Davis. Having scored with a header from a similar corner against Alfreton, Davis this time opted to use the side of his foot to connect with a corner played deep into the edge of the box. Unfortunately the shot was scuffed and went wide of the goal. Braintree had one other opportunity in the first half when Akinola's weak effort from outside the box was deflected wide for a corner.
Halifax perhaps had more opportunities in the first half yet Hamann remained fairly untested. Most of Halifax's chances came from crosses into the box or the long throws of Marc Roberts. Braintree were able to deal with most of the crosses, connecting with either a head or a boot. Halifax did however manage to get on the end of a few of their crosses, but most of their chances went wide. Perhaps the best opportunity for Halifax came after thirty-five minutes when a cross into the box was headed onto the far post. The onrushing Halifax player made contact with the ball but could not direct it at goal and it went behind for a goal kick. Halifax had another great opportunity after thirty-nine minutes when a great cross into the box was almost met by the stretching Danny Hattersley who could not quite connect. If he had been able to get a head on the ball it could have asked serious questions of Nick Hamann.
The second half started scrappily with a few yellow cards handed out to Halifax players. The first was for a poor timed tackle by Adam Smith from behind on Sam Habergham that had home fans calling for him to be sent off. Moments later Matty Pearson got a yellow card for a similar tackle on Kenny Davis in the middle of the pitch and right under the referees nose.
Braintree picked up the tempo for the second half with more chances falling for both teams, but there was not enough quality in the final third and very few clear cut chances. Halifax had their best opportunity after seventy-five minutes when they were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position just on the edge of the Braintree box. The shot beat the wall and was going inside of Hamann's left post had it not been for the diving Hamann who punched it clear for a throw in. It was arguably the closest that either team came to scoring throughout the game as it was one of the few chances on target.
As the game went into the last five minutes there was only one team applying the pressure and that was Braintree. A deep cross from James Mulley was spilled by Glennon, the ball was then sent back across by Akinola but Bakare's scissor kick went over. Mulley then had an opportunity himself, shooting with the outside of his boot when he was found on the edge of the Halifax box, again however the shot went over. Mulley took the game to Halifax by running directly at the defence and crossing to Michael Bakare who was found in the middle of the box, but his shot was blocked. The late pressure from Braintree came too late in the game as they were unable to take any of their opportunities and it finished goalless, with Alan Devonshire happy with the cleansheet. Braintree will be hoping for a similar defensive display for the next home fixture against league leaders Barnet.
Line-ups: Braintree Town FC: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters, Sam Habergham, Mitch Brundle, Alan Massey, Kenny Davis, Dan Walker (Michael Bakare, 71 mins), James Mulley, Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola
Unused Subs: Steve Smith, Carl Pentney, Joe Maybanks, Ryan Case.
Halifax Town FC: Matty Glennon, Scot McManus, Marc Roberts, Matty Pearson (Danny Schofield 80 mins), Simon Ainge (Jamie Jackson, 58 mins), Adam Smith (Richard Peniket, 58 mins), Paul Marshall, Steve Williams, Kevin Roberts, Scot Boden, Danny Hattersley.
Unused Subs: Phil Senior, Jake Hibbs. Attendance: 909. Match Report by Ryan Delaney
BRAINTREE FRUSTRATED AT EASTLEIGH
Header enough to separate the two sides
Braintree Town made their second journey in four days around the M25 and down the M3, this time to visit Eastleigh for Saturday's Vanarama Conference fixture. Iron welcomed back skipper Kenny Davis following his one match suspension and were in control for lengthy spells during the game.
It was against the run of play that Eastleigh took a 34th minute lead when Stuart Fleetwood glanced his header at the near post past Nick Hamann from a Will Evans cross. Iron could have levelled almost from the re-start when Dan Sparkes broke through the home defence, but his low drive was well blocked by home keeper Ross Flitney. Just before the break Simeon Akinola was unlucky as his header from a James Mulley cross just missed the target.
Braintree dominated the second half, with the home side limited to break-aways. Sam Habergham saw his crisp effort deflected over for a corner, while substitute Dan Walker was denied as his low drive was deflected just wide of the post. At the other end, Mitch Brundle performed heroics after he headed substitute Craig McAllister's header off the goal-line in a rare home attack but, despite their dominance, Iron could not find a way through as Eastleigh held on to claim the three points.
Next up for Iron is two successive home matches in the Vanarama Conference when the visit next Saturday, 27th of third-placed FC Halifax Town is followed three days later by the visit of leaders Barnet on Tuesday, 30th.
IRON DOMINATE AT ALDERSHOT