Braintree 2-0 Town - Match Report
Saturday, 14th Jul 2018 16:50
A goal in each half from Aryan Tajbakhsh saw Braintree Town to a 2-0 friendly victory over the Blues at Cressing Road.
Town manager Paul Hurst named a strong starting XI but with the whole travelling squad playing a part as is usual at this stage of pre-season.
Missing were striker Joe Garner, who is understood to have picked up a minor knock, while Emyr Huws and Tom Adeyemi were presumably not considered ready for match action. Teddy Bishop, who is a couple of weeks away from full training, watched the game from the stand.
Trevoh Chalobah is currently with the England U19s, while striker Ben Morris was also missing and is also believed to be with the Young Lions ahead of the Euros in Finland. Bartosz Bialkowski and Jonas Knudsen are still away following the World Cup.
In sweltering conditions, Martyn Waghorn hit an early effort not too far over from distance. Last season’s 16-goal top scorer was in a role behind new signing Jordan Roberts playing as a lone striker, with Freddie Sears on the left and Grant Ward on the right. Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes were the deeper central midfielders in front of the back four.
On seven, Christie Pattison broke down the centre, just to the right and hit a low 20-yard shot which Dean Gerken did well to push past his post. From the corner, Olu Durojaiye diverted the ball on to the bar at the near post.
Five minutes later, the Vanarama National side took the lead. Dan Thompson appeared to foul Downes midway inside the Town half and Tajbakhsh struck a low well-placed shot to Gerken’s left.
The Essex side went close to doubling their lead soon afterwards when Tajbakhsh crossed and Michael Clark headed over, then Blues skipper Luke Chambers diverted Pattison’s low ball from the right over. From the corner, Gerken turned Josh Hill’s header over.
On the half hour, Pattison’s curling effort from just outside the area was deflected wide with the home side having had the better of the opening third of the match.
The Iron should have added to their lead on 32 when Pattison crossed from the left and found Thompson, who somehow diverted it the wrong side of the post fro six yards when it was easier to score.
New boy Roberts headed Town’s first effort on target into the arms of Braintree keeper Nathan McDonald on 34 with the Blues having struggled to dictate the game despite having tried to pass the ball when they’d had it, although on an unhelpful bumpy surface.
Two minutes later Waghorn tried to catch McDonald unawares with a chipped effort from distance but the ball sailed a few feet over the bar
The Blues, with Sears now on the right and Ward on the left, began to make some headway in the half’s final minutes and on 38 Roberts teed-up Waghorn on the edge of the box and the former Rangers man hit a low effort wide.
Neither team threatened again before the break with the home side having been the better side and having had chances to be more than a goal in front.
Ahead of the second half, Luke Woolfenden and Tristan Nydam took over from Josh Emmanuel and Downes with Jordan Spence moving to right-back.
Nydam immediately made an impression, striking a powerful shot not too far wide from the edge of the box two minutes after the restart.
On 52, after good work from Spence on the right, Sears, now down the middle with Roberts on the left and Ward the right, stabbed a low effort goalwards and McDonald turned it round the post. From the corner, Chambers flicked Waghorn’s ball into the box across the face and wide.
Town had begun to move the ball around much more fluently and in the 56th minute Waghorn’s clever pass fed in Roberts, whose shot was well-saved by McDonald. Soon after, Waghorn scuffed a low effort to McDonald.
But in the 64th minute the Iron went two in front. Waghorn fouled Marcel Barrington not far outside the box and Tajbakhsh curled a brilliant freekick just inside Gerken’s left post.
Town immediately made the expected wholesale changes with Harry Wright coming on in goal, Barry Cotter at right-back, Corrie Ndaba joining Woolfenden at the centre of the defence and at left-back former Braintree loanee Pat Webber.
In midfield, Brett McGavin joined Nydam with Conor McKendry and Ben Folami wide and Andre Dozzell behind striker Aaron Drinan.
The Blues had been on top prior to the goal and mass changes after which it took the game a few minutes to settle down.
Despite Town having most of the possession, the home side came close to another goal in the 80th minute but Reece Grant lofted the ball over both Wright and the bar.
With five minutes remaining ex-Blues left-back Ben Wyatt curled a goal-bound freekick which Wright did well to get reach and tip wide.
Wright, the son of former Blue Richard, was in action again two minutes later, when he diverted Mahrez Bettache’s freekick over.
Town were unable to threaten in the closing stages and fell to a defeat which, on the balance of the first half, was well deserved.
The Blues improved after the break and the second Braintree goal came against the run of play before the match drifted following the late subs.
However, despite the result, manager Hurst will have found the game a useful exercise as he assesses and shapes his squad ahead of the season proper with the role Waghorn played off the main striker a talking point, a position taken up by Dozzell when he came on.
Town are next in action against Crawley at East Grinstead on Tuesday evening.
Braintree: McDonald (Trialist 73), Muleba (Grant 73), Wyatt, Durojaiye (Muleba 83), Hill (Frimpong 65), Clark (Ellull 46), Barrington (Bettache 73), Crook (Barker 65), Thompson (Rapai 60), Tajbakhsh (Mensah 71), Pattinson.
Town: Gerken (Wright 65), Emmanuel (Woolfenden 46), Spence (Cotter 65), Chambers (c) (Ndaba 65), Kenlock (Webber 65), Skuse (Dozzell 65), Downes (Nydam 46), Ward (McKendry 65), Sears (Folami 65), Waghorn (McGavin 65), Roberts (Drinan 65). Att: 581.
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