Chairman Update Mid-June 2020
What's going on at Cressing Road?

The Club have agreed their match day and season tickets pricing for next season. Prices have been retained at last season's levels.
Big Iron 'early bird' discounts are offered for season tickets purchased on or before Saturday 20 June 2020. Adult and concession season tickets bought on or before Saturday 20 June allow supporters to sit or stand and receive five games free of charge, while an under 18 season tickets offer an incredible thirteen games free! A new initiative for the coming campaign is the introduction of a new season ticket for our younger supporters - Under 12 - provided with entry for just £21 - just a pound a game! Season ticket prices for next season, purchased by Saturday 20 June, are as follows:
ADULT - £240 (21 for the price of 16 or just £11.43 a match)
CONCESSIONS - £160 (21 for the price of 16 or just £7.62 a match)
UNDER 18s - £40 (21 for the price of 8 or just £1.90 a match!)
UNDER 12s - £21 (21 for the price of £1 a game!)

The Iron look to the Fans and the Business Community for survival - and survival is serious business! With absolutely no income until the club can generate funds through the turnstiles and in the clubhouse Braintree Town's overheads still need to be met.
For the past few seasons the Club have been heavily supported financially by two of the Club's directors who have also provided key sponsorship.
They have said they will continue to support the Club to the same level but they are donating the shirt sponsorship as a major raffle prize.
The plan is to find 20-30 businesses to contribute net £1,000 each and first out of the hat will be the Main Club sponsor with runner-up being the secondary sponsor.
Will your business support the Club and enter? - Each entry will receive one perimeter advertising board which is valued at £1,000+VAT.
In addition entrants will receive plenty of other recognition and hospitality packages.
Businesses or individuals can enter and, if preferred, payments can be made by monthly instalments.
Contact Club Director Jerry Carter for more information on his e-mail: or

I took part in an on-line meeting of National League management and South club chairman last week and the current thinking is that our league campaign could start in September 2020.
Safety Officer Andy Gill and I are currently reviewing our stadium entry, holding and exit capacities in line with current government social distancing requirements. Our initial thinking is that our stadium capacity will be reduced to between 500 and 1,000 spectators.
Discussions are on-going between manager George Borg, players and the Club about possible pre-season training arrangements commencing in July, with pre-season friendly matches possible in August.
A first pre-season friendly match has already been agreed, with the Club agreeing to send the first team squad to Needham Market on a date still to be agreed.

As to our status, National League Chief Executive Michael Tattersall recently advised that: "The FA Council decided that there would be no promotion from Step 3 and also instructed the FA Executive to prepare the necessary amendment to FA regulations. These changes will be considered by FA Council and include a provision that confirms that there will be no relegation from Step 2.

In line with recent government thinking, the Club are making preparations to re-open the Cressing Road Stadium Clubhouse on Saturday 4 July 2020.
The government insists it is still working towards early July as the possible date for the re-opening of pubs and restaurants in England.
Comments from a Number 10 spokesman downplayed reports ministers could bring forward plans to allow the sector to start serving customers outdoors. "The roadmap envisaged" an easing from 4 July and "we continue to follow the road map," Downing Street said.
Our current thinking is that our clubhouse would serve customers on terraces, and similar outdoors areas.
Working towards Saturday 4 July, the Club is still to re-stock and bring back staff. The Club are currently working towards accommodating the current two-metre social distancing separation rule.

Under the guidance of Matt Hawtin, work parties continue next Saturday 20 June, the main areas to focus on are:
- 1 re-decorate the clubhouse end outside toilets.
- 2 treat Kit Room & Club Shop deck.
- 3 dugouts need a deep clean & lick of paint.
If anybody has any half tins of magnolia/white masonry paint would be great if you can spare them.
If anybody has paint or brushes/rollers or decking stain/oil they wish to donate Matt will be up club on Tuesday 16 June 7-8.30pm to sell season tickets.

Chairman's Update May 2020
With thanks to those helping keeping our 122 year old club alive
Braintree Town Football Club are preparing for the re-start of football as and when it is accepted that it is safe to do so. In the interim, the Club are continuing with routine maintenance at the Stadium.
However, throughout the course of a normal football season, the Club receives regular income from both its match and social activities. Both of these were abruptly curtailed in mid-March.
As a result, the Club has played no matches since Saturday 14 March and the Government's decision to restrict licensed premises a week later dictated that the Club's Clubhouse has also been closed.
With commitments to both staff and suppliers, this left the Club in a precarious financial position, but hard work by the Club's Board and its friends has ensured that the Club has been able to continue.
The Club would therefore like to express its thanks for the help and support received from a number of organisations in what are difficult and challenging times.
The support from our local authority - Braintree District Council - has made a significant difference to the Club's cashflow and we are grateful for their help.
The Club welcomes the decision of the National League to bring forward the sponsorship payment, due next September, to assist with the Club's cashflow challenges.
The Club also appreciates the recent donations from both the Independent Supporters Club and our Twelfth Man Group.
Finally, the continued support from two members of the Club's Board has also proved to be vital, without which the Club's finances would have been overwhelmed in recent months.
Looking forward, the Club continues to wait for confirmation from either the National League or the Football Association as to the structure and format of the game for the forthcoming 2020/2021 season.
We are aware of the statement from the Football Association that leagues within tiers three to seven have reached a consensus to bring the 2019/2020 season to an immediate end and that as a result all results will be expunged. This suggests that there will be no promotion or relegation of clubs between these tiers.
We understand that this decision has been supported by The FA Council.
Therefore, until any statement is made by either the National League or Football Association to contrary, the Club will continue to plan for the resumption of football in the National League.
Next season is due to commence on Saturday 8 August, but this date is by no means certain. For this date to be met by the Club, pre-season friendly matches would normally be played during July and pre-season training would be scheduled from mid-June. Both these activities may not be possible due to existing and future social distancing guidelines. However, it is the Club's view that football at our level may be able to commence in September. On that basis, the Club is now reviewing the possible sale of season tickets for the forthcoming 2020/2021 season from Monday, 1 June 2020, with the usual early purchase discount being offered until the following Saturday 6 June 2020. All season and match day ticket prices will be frozen at last season's prices. More news will be announced when the sale of season tickets is confirmed.
Chairman Lee Harding said: "Given the current situation, our thoughts and main focus is on supporting the rest of our community in overcoming the existing pandemic.
"But we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to those that have helped and continue to help the Club in what are very difficult and challenging circumstances. Put simply, their support has allowed the Club to continue.
"While we await guidance from Government, the National League and The Football Association, the Club has been making some preliminary preparations for next season and I am pleased to announce that all tickets for next season will be frozen at last season's prices.
"The Club is also mindful of the three matches that were not played before the closure of last season and we are currently looking at the possibility of offering season ticket holders free admission to home pre-season matches to recompense those supporters affected by decisions beyond the Club's control.
"The Club has also decided to reward those in our community working for our remarkable National Health Service - with special incentives and rewards currently being reviewed and considered.
"When our pre-season matches are scheduled it has been decided that one match will be a designated as a 'Pay what you like' match to celebrate the return of football in the town, with other food and refreshment incentives planned for what we expect to be a special 'We're back!' party.
"But there is still much work to be done to safeguard the Club's future. We are still looking to encourage local businesses and individuals to step up and talk to us about ways to become a commercial partner or sponsor.
In these difficult times, we need the community we are proud to represent to pull together, support it's local team, and, together, we can keep The Iron alive!"

Iron slip back into relegation places
Jekyll and Hyde season continues
Lacking the influential Kyran Clements in the defensive unit, Iron put in a disappointing performance in what was a six-pointer between two sides in the relegation zone.
There can be few excuses from the Iron side because they were second best for long periods and lacked cohesion, guilty of giving the ball away, and displayed little passion and commitment in what was a crucial game for the club.
It was a below par performance and but for the heroics of young Norwich City keeper Billy Johnson the visitors would have clearly won by a bigger margin.
Johnson pulled off two excellent saves in the first half, repeated it three times in the second and even brilliantly saved Guisppe Iaciofona's 44th minute penalty which would have given them a second goal right on the interval.
Admittedly the penalty was extremely harsh when referee Sunny Gill somehow deemed to judge what many in the 545 crowd felt was a fair tackle by Arthur Iontton on Frankie Musonda but Johnson did well to dive low to his left and push the ball away.
Iaciofona proved a thorn in the side of the Iron's defence most of the afternoon and had given his side the lead on 15 minutes when he was left unmarked at the far post to poke home a right wing cross and then twice in the second half he almost found the net again thanks to his persistence and skill.
With the Iron having started so badly it was perhaps no surprise that manager George Borg made a double substitution after only on 29th minutes bringing on Charlie O'Keefe and Liam Smyth for the Alfie Cerulli and Tommy Cooney.
It certainly improved the situation for Iron and they came more into the game but in the second half any potential momentum gained by two pairs of fresh legs quickly waned as Iron kept misplacing so many passes and then sat back further encouraging the visitors to take a stranglehold on the game which they did with ease.
Even Iron fans hoping for at least a goal late on to give them an equaliser and a share of the spoils were disappointed as the visitors ran the clock down and deserved their victory.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Kirkpatrick, Cooney (29 O'Keefe), Sheehan, Iontton; Smith, Guerfi, Gardner-Smith (60 Ocran), Cerulli (29 Smyth); Russell, Chiedozie. Unused subs: Matsuzaka, Pappel. Attendance: 545. Referee: Sunny Gill.

Match Preview in association with LV BET
Saturday 14 March 2020 - Braintree Town v St Albans City
St Albans City are currently 21st in the Vanarama National League South on 34 points. Their away record this season is: P 17 W 5 D 4 L 8 F 23 A 27 Points 19. Top Scorers - Joe Iaciofano - 15, Zane Banton - 8. Last 4 away League results: Lost 2-1 v Chippenham Town, Won 1-2 v Havant & Waterlooville, Won 0-3 v Bath City, Lost 2-1 v Hampton & Richmond Borough. Form last 6 games: WWDWLL.
Braintree Town are currently 19th in the Vanarama National League South on 35 points. Their home record this season is P 17 W 5 D 4 L 8 F 21 A 27 Points 19. Last 4 home League results: Won 2-0 v Bath City, Drew 0-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Drew 1-1 v Weymouth, Lost 0-1 v Slough Town. Form last 6 games: DLDLWL. Top Scorers - Liam Smyth - 4, Alfie Cerulli - 3
The teams last met on the 13 August 2019 at Clarence Park. Iron put in a top display which saw them win three-nil. Danny Mills making his first start was the first to score. Olly Saunders carried the ball from deep in his own half towards the City penalty area, played in the overlapping Ade Cole; he went past one man into the box, laid it back towards Saunders who left it for Mills to hit a shot that went over the keeper off the bar and into the net. A minute later the Iron had doubled their lead. Ade Cole played the ball out of his own half up to the feet of Tom Richardson; he set away the overlapping Femi Akinwande down the right who surged into the area before driving home at the keeper's near post. The scorer then went and kissed the linesman! The third goal came in the final minute of normal time; Michael Clark breaking up a move carried the ball forward, fed Mills to his left who then played a ball up to Cerulli. Alfie strode forward and hit a low shot from 25 yards which the keeper could only push the ball out into the path of Clark who had continued his run from defence to guide it into the net. (Highlights are here:
The teams last met at Cressing Road on 28 August 2017 when the game ended in a one-nil win for the home side. Marc Okoye scored heading home a Ben Wyatt corner.
Goal scorer Clark is now at St Albans City as are former players Scott Shulton, Rohdell Gordon and Taylor Miles.
Another relegation avoiding battle sees the Iron take on City who have had a couple of impressive away performances lately and the better of the recent form. Expect another nail biting encounter.

Talking to Liam Smyth
All about 'the best goal I've ever scored'
DOB: 6/9/01 (18) Born: Watford
Position: Forward
On loan from Stevenage
Q. Who do you support?
A. Liverpool
Q. Who is your favourite player?
A. Robert Lewandowski
Likes - Music, a bit of everything, house, hip-hop old school R &B.
Food - Sweet potato
Social Media - Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
Q. What do you like to do outside of football?
A. PlayStation - Call of Duty
Q. Tell me about your career path to date
A. I was at Chelsea Development from age six to eight before joining QPR where I stayed until I was thirteen. I started out as a forward, then centre back, left back, left and right midfield before playing as a forward again. After I left QPR I went into grass roots football playing with mates and enjoying my football again. I played in a trial game for Watford against Arsenal where a scout saw me and he then got me a trial at Stevenage where I joined their U15's on a 2 year contract.
Q. You also have five U19 caps for Northern Ireland, was that a surprise call up?
A. At first it came a bit out of the blue. My agent asked me if I had any different nationalities in the family and on my dad's side there is Irish ancestry. I was called into a training camp at sixteen and played in matches against Slovakia and the Faroe Islands and then played in a mini tournament in Belfast against Serbia, Poland and Kazakhstan.
Q. Who has helped you get this far in your career?
A. My parents; when times were tough, they helped me calm down. My dad had been a semi-pro at Harefield as a left back; he told me to shoot hard.
Q. Were you pleased to be loan out here and what are your personal aims whilst you are here?
A. It's a good loan and my first loan. I was told to get experience but when I got he I was told I'd start on the bench, but started straight away. My aim is to get as many goals as I can and as much game time as I can and to contribute as much as possible.
Q. You've recently lost your starting place, but have had a dramatic impact on your last two substitute appearances with goals against Bath and Billericay; what was that like have you scored any better?
A. Obviously it was good as I'd been down about being on the bench, but ready to come on. Against Bath, I got a shout early on to go for goal, the player to my right took a defender away and the gap just opened up for me for the shot, that's probably the best goal I've ever scored. The goal against Billericay, I stood up for the free kick, I practice a lot on free kicks at Stevenage.
Q. How have you settled in at Braintree?
A. I've settled in well having team mates here has helped. I was really quiet the first week not knowing how things worked here. But I've also played with Charlie before and Zak.
Q. What differences have you noticed playing here compared to what you're used to?
A. In men's football, if you make a mistake, they let you know as it's more costly. There's a lot less time on the ball and there's always a defender pressing you. It's more physical and about winning the second ball and set pieces.
Q. Who is the best coach manager you've worked with and why?
A. Jordan Gibson at Stevenage, he's always believed in me and he's been there for me when it's been tough and he's helping me to succeed.
Q. Best player you've played with/against?
A. Raheem Sterling when I was at QPR. He came along to a training camp to help and ended up playing in the game. Against has to be Ronnie Henry now at Billericay, when he was at Stevenage he'd always find a way to get inside your head.
Q. If you could play with anyone, who would it be and why?
A. Bobby Firmino at Liverpool; he always knows where people are for a pass, he's creative and would help me get goals.
Q. Which Braintree team mate makes you laugh?
A. Alfie Cerulli; he doesn't always know what's going on.
Q. Which team mate is the most committed in training?
A. Zak Gerfi, he's always running about chasing every ball.
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Above relegation!

Resurgent Iron denied at the death
Braintree impress but come home pointless
There was heartbreak for the Iron as the conceded a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to deny them a share of the spoils they fully deserved in a typical feisty local derby at New Lodge on Saturday.
Having come back from going behind after only 15 minutes with substitute Liam Smyth firing home a tremendous 25 yard free kick midway through the second half, Iron lost their point when home skipper Ronnie Henry, fortunate to be in the right place as the ball feel to his feet, rammed home a loose ball from a corner to score the winner.
It was a bitter pill for the Iron side to swallow because after being on the defensive for most of the first half they came back strongly, took the game to their more experienced home side in the second half and in reality deserved a draw.
Playing on a sodden and mud covered pitch, Iron were caught cold at the start and allowed Connor Shields to skip through down the right before firing in a low shot to the far corner of the net to give the Blues the lead.
With the home side use to the dreadful playing surface and adopting a direct long ball approach to feed their forwards, Iron struggled to make any imprint on the game with the midfielders unable to play their usual passing game.
Iron’s young keeper Billy Johnson pulled off two excellent first half saves while at the other end the Iron’s best chance fell to Alfie Cerulli but his fierce shot was pushed away by home keeper Alan Julian for a corner.
The second half though was a much different story as they Iron finally began to get a grip on the game and it was no surprise when on 66 minutes, Smyth drove a 25 yard free-kick into the top right corner of the home net for the equaliser.
Encouraged by this turnaround, Iron kept pressing forward and both Jacob Gardner-Smith and Smyth forced Julian twice to tip fierce efforts over the bar and on 72 minutes Smyth almost grabbed his second goal but again his on target shot was brilliantly forced behind by Julian for a corner.
Both sides ended up with 10 men in the closing stages when the Blues’ substitute Dejon Noel-Williams was rightly shown a red card by referee Jack Packman for an elbow into the face of Kyran Clements - forcing the Braintree youngster to leave the field with blood pouring from his face.
By then Iron had used up their three subs so the numbers were evened up and despite two more fine efforts on target again denied by Julian play swiftly moved up the other end where the home side grabbed that late winner.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Kirkpatrick, Cooney, Matsuzaka, Clements; Iontton, Guerfi (57 Smyth), Gardner-Smith, Chiedozie; Russell (82 Sheehan), Cerulli (82 Ocran). Subs unused: O’Keefe, Smith.
Iron now face another relegation threatened side in St Albans City at Cressing Road this coming Saturday.

Match Preview - Saturday 7 March 2020
Vanarama National League South - Billericay Town v Braintree Town
Billericay Town are currently 20th in the Vanarama National League South on 34 points. Their home record this season is: P 13 W 5 D 7 L 1 F 23 A 17 Points 22. Last 4 home League games: Lost 0-1 v Havant & Waterlooville, Drew 1-1 v Oxford City, Drew 3-3 v Tonbridge Angels, Drew 2-2 v Slough Town. Top scorers: Jake Robinson - 20, Femi Akinwande - 12 (6 for Braintree Town). Form last 6 games: DLDDDL.
Braintree Town are currently 18th in the Vanarama National League on 35 points. Away record: P 16 W 5 D 1 L 10 F 22 A 37 Points 13. Last 4 away League games: Lost 2-0 v Hungerford Town, Lost 1-0 v Maidstone United, Won 1-4 v Oxford City, Lost 6-0 v Dulwich Hamlet. Top scorers: Alfie Cerulli & Liam Smyth - 3, Jordan Chiedozie - 2. Form last 6 games: LDLDLW.
Last meeting was our opening home game of the season when local rivals Town won an entertaining fixture by three goals to two. Tom Richardson gave the home side a twelfth minute lead nodding home after keeper Julian had parried Akinwande's shot. Billericay equalised three minutes later when Hutchings was adjudged to have fouled in the box and Rhead tucked away the penalty. Billericay regained the lead just past the hour when Moses Emmanuel scored from close range only for Richardson to reply instantly for the Iron with a great header. The deciding goal came from a corner when Wassmer rose unchallenged to power home a header.
The last time Braintree played a League fixture at the New Lodge was on 12 December 2005 in the Isthmian League when George Borg was the Iron boss. The game finished one all with Braintree going ahead just before half time through Ofori. The Iron were awarded a second half penalty which was saved by Millard before Game equalised in the last minute. Braintree went on to win the League that season. Billericay are now playing catch up after their pitch was vandalised in November. Their form has seen them slide down the VNLS table. Having said that their home game earlier this week was their first home defeat of the season, losing to promotion chasing Havant and Waterlooville. They are draw specialist having with most of their games finishing level. Braintree showed true mettle last time out defeating Bath City, more of those battling skills will be required to secure a further step away from the bottom five.

Talking to Jacob Gardiner-Smith
From Cambridge to Zenit
DOB: 3/7/97 (22) Born: Cambridge
Position: Midfield
Career History - Youth - CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg
Dual registration - St Albans City & Hendon Town
On Loan from Wycombe Wanderers
Q. Who do you support?
A. Manchester United
Q. Favourite player?
A. Paul Pogba
Likes - Music - Hip-hop
Film - Paid in Full
Social Media - Twitter & Instagram
Best place visited - Vietnam
Q. How did you end up in Russia at 16?
A. I knew an agent out there who got me a trial. I was at CSKA for a year then moved on to Zenit. I've always been a midfielder and it was a new challenge for me and took me out of my comfort zone. Zenit are a great club and I really embraced the culture out there
Q. What was the set up like out there?
A. It was great; Zenit put me up in an apartment where some of the other players were near the training ground. We'd train every day. They had an indoor dome and all the pitches are 3G. There was a sauna and everything you could ask for.
Q. What was the football like and why did you return to the UK?
A. It was technical; the players there are technically gifted, not as physical as non-league here. A lot of tactical training, working on shape and clever free kicks. I was the only English lad there, but I had a team mate there who helped me out with the language. I left as I was out of contract and I wanted to take what I'd learned there and play in the English Football League.
Q. You then played non-league for a couple of seasons, what was that like after your time in Russia?
A. It was a big shock; a big learning curve for me. At St Albans I wasn't really given a chance to show what I could do, it taught me a lot about non-league managers. I had a great manager at Hendon and found my feet there which helped shape me into the player I am today.
Q. You then had a trial at Wycombe Wanderers and impressed to get a contract; what do you hope to gain from your time here before returning to Wycombe?
A. Experience; I'm learning more about the game at men's level here and it's helped me develop my game. I hope when I return to Wycombe that I can then push on as a player there.
Q. It's not been an easy time for the club since you arrived here; how has it challenged you?
A. It's helped me face adversity; losing every week has challenged me to step up and help to turn it around. The gaffer brought me in to make a difference and it's changed me from a boy to a man.
Q. How does the football compare to what you've done before?
A. It's a world away from Russia, but similar to my time at St Albans, Hendon and Wycombe. It's more direct getting the ball forward quicker, more competitive and fighting to wear the shirt.
Q. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
A. Strength - Athleticism, tackling, winning the ball back, generally ratting around. Weakness - I need to improve my awareness and pay attention to detail.
Q. Who is the best coach/manager you've worked with?
A. Gareth Ainsworth at Wycombe; he's seen the potential in me and given me a chance for which I am grateful. He's developed me as a player and I've learned a lot under him.
Q. Who is the best player you've played with/against?
A. With - Daniel Lesovo who is a left winger in the Russian Premier League. He was a team mate of mine at Zenit. Hardest opponent was Hulk in training, even though he was getting on then.
Q. Why do you think we struggle to beat the lower teams, yet do well against the higher teams in this League?
A. Sometimes it's our mentality, complacency, players need to take responsibility. Against the better teams we're up for the fight.
Q. Who is the worst singer at the club?
A. Lucas Kirkpatrick
Q. Who is the best trainer?
A. Zak Guerfi

Iron respond with composed performance
Borg - 'pleased for all the boys because they put in such a magnificent shift, every one of them'
Lowly Iron pulled off one of the shocks of the day by beating second placed and promotion chasing Bath City in an entertaining game at Cressing Road on Saturday.
And there was certainly no fluke because the Iron lads, clearly livened up by manager George Borg's criticism over the previous week's defeat, responded with one of their best performances of the season. They fully deserved their win and three points which lifted them out of the relegation zone and up to 18th place.
Two well-taken second half goals were enough but it was the way the Iron players kept pressing hard on their visitors from the kick off, chasing every ball while at the back defended in numbers and deservedly kept a clean sheet to complete their first home win since September.
The real difference though was in midfield where Arthur Iontton, making his home debut, Jacob Gardner-Smith and newcomer Zak Guerfi, the 22 year-old Tunisian U21 midfielder, kept a tight stranglehold and never let the visitors settle into any pattern of play from the off.
At the back, with Stevie Sheehan absent due to the birth of his second child, young Kyran Clements who made captain for the day slotted into the centre of defence with Dan Matsuzaka. The pair had outstanding games and were well supported by full-backs Lucas Kirkpatrick and Charkey O'Keefe, all helping to give a more solid performance against what was an experienced Bath side.
The best chance in the first half fell to Jordan Chiedozie but he surprisingly lofted his free-kick on the edge of the area high over the bar but on the hour he made amends by opening the scoring.
It all stemmed from a foraging right wing run by Alfie Cerulli who put in a fine cross to the far edge of the visitors' area where Chiedozie picked his spot to drive the ball low into the far corner of the net.
It was no more than the Iron deserved, particularly for their hard endeavour and creative attacks and, although the visitors tried hard to retaliate which involved a couple of scrambles in the home goalmouth, the Iron defence stood firm and soon hooked the ball upfield and out of danger.
The real icing on the cake came though four minutes into added stoppage time when young substitute Liam Smyth, picking the ball up in his area, ran through the retreating visitors' rearguard side-stepping tackles before drilling the ball from 25 yards out with his left foot high into far top corner of the City net going in from hitting the underside of the crossbar.
It was a sensational goal and understandably the youngster's excitement at scoring such a cracking goal saw him leapt upon by his joyous team mates yet even though he was booked for taking his shirt off in the celebrations failed to dampen his enthusiasm.
The 2-0 scoreline for the Iron was fully justified and the win will give the youngsters even more confidence when they go to their next game at Billericay Town on Saturday.
Manager Borg though was delighted with the result but more importantly the way his side played adding: "We've been working on things in training and it has paid off today and I'm really pleased for all the boys because they put in such a magnificent shift, every one of them.
"Bath are a good side but I think they were surprised at the way we took the game to them from the off, dominated midfield for long periods and never let up," he said. "I believe the squad we have now may be young but they have the right attitude, work hard and gave 100 per cent for the whole game."
On his new signing Guerfi he added: "He clearly shows what he will give us from midfield with his experience but I had to take him before the end because he had run himself into the ground and was suffering from cramp."
Braintree Town: Johnson; Kirkpatrick, O'Keefe, Matsuzaka, Clements; Guerfi (81 Smith), Gardner-Smith, Iontton, Cerulli (88 Smyth); Chiedozie, Russell. Unused subs: Stone, Ocran, Sade. Referee: Isaac Searle. Attendance 410.

Saturday 29 February 2020 - Braintree Town v Bath City
Match Preview - Vanarama National League
Bath City Town are currently 2nd in the Vanarama National League South on 59 points. Their away record this season is: P 16 W 7 D 4 L 5 F 21 A 20 Points 25. Top Scorers - Tom Smith - 15, Ryan Brunt - 9, Ross Stearn - 6. Last 4 away League results: Won 0-2 v Maidstone United, Won 0-1 v Concord Rangers, Drew 0-0 v Dorking Wanderers, Lost 7-0 v Wealdstone. Form last 6 games: LDLWWW.
Braintree Town are currently 23rd in the Vanarama National League South on 32 points. Their home record this season is P 16 W 4 D 4 L 8 F 19 A 27 Points 16. Last 4 home League results: Drew 0-0 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Drew 1-1 v Weymouth, Lost 0-1 v Slough Town, Lost 0-1 v Tonbridge Angels. Form last 6 games: WLDLDL. Top Scorers - Alfie Cerulli - 3, Liam Smyth - 2.
The teams last met on the opening day of the season, 3 August 2019. The opening half had been evenly contested with the Iron having the better of the chances. The closest they came to scoring was when Josh Urquhart took a quick free kick from the halfway line that hit the crossbar. Within ten minutes of the second half, City had taken charge with too well struck long range efforts. The last meeting at Cressing Road on 10 February 2018 also saw City win by two goals to nil, courtesy of first half strikes from Nat Jarvis and Jack Compton. That opening day in the Somerset sunshine seems a distant memory now. Bath as predicted have gone on to be amongst those teams chasing promotion. Meanwhile, last Saturday’s defeat to bottom placed Hungerford Town saw the Iron fall into the relegation places. With no home League win since September, now is the time for the lads to step up to the plate to ensure another season at this level.

Iron drop into bottom two
Borg locks players into dressing room
Iron Manager George Borg locked his players in the dressing room at the end of Saturday's defeat at Hungerford which saw his Braintree side slip to one from bottom.
The home side opened their scoring after only five minutes when a long throw-in from the left was not dealt with by the Iron backline allowing the unmarked Joe Tomlinson to poke the ball into the net.
The nearest Iron came to scoring in the first half was when Jordan Chiedozie's chipped shot hit the top of the home crossbar but otherwise, after some promising midfield build up, Iron simply ran out of ideas in the final quarter of the field.
The home side added their second early in the second half when, on 49 minutes, a sloppy pass cross field by the Iron defence allowed Matt Jones with all the time in the world to ram his shot into the Iron net.
Continuing their more long ball upfield approach the home side prospered while the Iron, trying to play passing football, saw far too many of their passes go astray repeatedly giving the home side again the advantage of possession.
With a dozen minutes to go the Iron manager pushed central defender Stevie Sheehan up front in a bid to try and salvage something from the game but it was all to no avail.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Clements, O'Keefe, Iontton, Sheehan; Smith (Smyth), Orcan (Matsuzaka), Gardiner-Smith (Cerulli), Kirkpatrick; Russell, Chiedozie. Unused subs: tone, Ryan. Attendance: 207. Referee: Ross Martin.
Next up for Iron is this coming Saturday when promotion hopefuls Bath City visit Cressing Road for a league game, kick off 3pm.

Iron battle gales to secure a point
Clean sheet a building block
Iron deservedly ended up with a much needed point in this game where the gale force winds obviously played a major part in the outcome of what was under difficult circumstances an entertaining game at Cressing Road which rightly ended with honours even.
It was effectively a game of two halves with the Iron well on top in the first 45 minutes, playing some of the best football passing game seen from the side this season, and then in the second period having to defend well against the conditions more than anything else.
With the wind behind them in that first half, Iron had the better of goal scoring chances and could well have been at least three goals ahead by the interval but it was the reverse situation in the second with the visitors taking full advantage of the conditions but despite this they failed to make any clearcut goal scoring chances.
In a scintillating first 20 minutes the Iron saw Jordan Chiedozie's shot come back off the crossbar with keeper Daniel Grimshaw beaten and new signing Darelle Russell twice forcing Grimshaw into excellent saves while right on half time Russell laid the ball off to Brendan Ocran who saw his goalbound shot pushed brilliantly away by Grimshaw.
Iron were to rue their misses though as the second half progressed with visitors going close through Sam Ashford and Aaron Jarvis and when they did shoot on target Iron's young Norwich City loanee keeper Billy Johnson did well to save the shots without being too much troubled.
In the dying minutes of the game the Iron's Chiedozie and substitute Alfie Cerulli almost each snatched a late winner while up at the other end the visitors' skipper Connor Essam went extremely close with a header from the edge of the penalty box.
But it deservedly ended all square with Iron manager George Borg the happier of the two managers adding: "I'm really pleased with the young boys who put in a tremendous shift – yes we had chances in the first half and should have scored and we knew they would have the better of the second half and it would be a battle but the boys fought so hard and could have easily even snatched a late winner.
"It's taken me seven weeks since coming in to get things sorted and I feel we now have the right players to help us climb the table," he explained. "I'm still hoping to bring in another experienced defender to help further boost the squad.
"I'm delighted at the way we are trying to play football and particularly the performance against Hemel who are a vastly experienced side and to their credit tried to play good football in what was obviously difficult conditions," he explained. "Our new striker Darelle Russell has immediately given us both the strength and experience in leading the line and I think him and Jordan (Chiedozie) will working even better playing together."
New strike Russell, signed from Waltham Abbey, said he had thoroughly enjoyed his debut adding: "I should have scored in the first half and we should have gone in two or three goals in the lead but I am happy with the way the boss has us playing and I am sure we can start winning games and climb up the table.
"The spirit in the dressing room is great and you don't always get that in a team and it's important," he added.
Braintree: Johnson; Clements, O'Keefe, Matsuzaka, Sheehan; Smith, Ocran (72 Cerulli), Gardner-Smith, Smyth (85 Kirkpatrick); Russell, Chiedozie. Unused subs: Stone, Ryan, Sade. Attendance: 391. Referee: Chris O'Donnell.
Next up for the Iron is an away match at Hungerford Town on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Braintree v Hemel - Weather update
Storm Dennis to arrive Saturday afternoon
Tomorrow sees the arrival of Storm Dennis. As at 8pm Friday, the Cressing Road pitch is very firm and we are confident that the pitch drainage will be able to accommodate the predicted light and moderate rainfall. However, we are also mindful of the strong winds forecast and will review the situation from 11am onwards and thereafter on an hourly basis, with the safety and security of both spectators and participants being our primary concern. Even with the 50-mile an hour gusts forecast we remain confident that the game will start and be completed but all spectators that enter the ground are reminded to retain their match tickets in the event of any unforeseen problems causing the game to be abandoned. For more information call the club on 01376 345617 or 01376 330976.

Match Preview - Vanarama National League South
Saturday 15 February 2020 - Braintree Town v Hemel Hempstead Town
Hemel Hempstead Town are currently 10th in the Vanarama National League South on 37 points. Their away record this season is: P 15 W 4 D 4 L 7 F 16 A 24 Points 16. Top Scorers - Sam Ashford - 10, Liam Nash - 9, Ricardo German & Jack Midson - 4. Last 4 away League results: Drew 1-1 v Eastbourne Borough, Lost 2-0 v Bath City, Drew 1-1 v Maidstone United, Drew 2-2 v Chippenham Town. Form last 6 games: DLLLDL.
Braintree Town are currently 18th in the Vanarama National League South on 31 points. Their home record this season is P 15 W 4 D 3 L 8 F 19 A 27 Points 15. Last 4 home League results: Drew 1-1 v Weymouth, Lost 0-1 v Slough Town, Lost 0-1 v Tonbridge Angels, Lost 1-2 v Chelmsford City. Form last 6 games: LLWLDL. Top Scorers - Alfie Cerulli - 3, Liam Smyth - 2
Last meeting was on 9 November 2019 with the Iron winning 3-0. Jason Banton opened the scoring on 36 minutes, receiving a pass from Akinwande on the right on the edge of the box, he curled in a left foot shot and although former keeper Beasant got his fingertips to it, it ended up in the back of the net. Braintree doubled their lead in the second half on 56 minutes, turning defence into attack. The ball was hit high out of defence towards the halfway line, where Banton was stronger than his marker, brought the ball down, strode forward with Ade Cole keeping pace alongside him, before sending the midfielder clear with a defender in his wake. No one was going to catch him and with Beasant on the edge of his area, Cole calmly poked the ball home. Under ten minutes later, victory was sealed. The ball was worked from right to left with a pass into the path of the onrushing wing back, Jack James, who shot low across Beasant and into the far corner of the net. Highlights can be seen here -
That game was the first following the departure of Glenn Driver and since then with the exception of Alfie Cerulli, the whole squad has undergone change. With only one win in the League this year, Hemel made four loan signings in January. After Chippenham Town with 29 goals, Hemel are the joint second lowest scorers in the League with 33 goals. This looks like being a close encounter between two sides striving to find better form.

Talking to Billy Johnson
Our man from Carrow Road
DOB: 25/9/99 (20) Born: Great Yarmouth
Position: Goalkeeper
Previous Clubs: Beccles, Norwich United, Lowestoft Town (Loan)
On Loan from Norwich City
Q. Who do you support?
A. Norwich City
Q. Who is your favourite player?
A. Gianluigi Buffon
Q. What are your music tastes?
A. Anything old school
Q. Favourite TV programme
A. Power on Netflix
Q. What social media do you use?
A. Instagram and Twitter
Q. At what age did you start playing in goal?
A. I was about 14, playing for St Bennetts Wasps Beccles. Our goalkeeper was quite short and I was a centre back. As we got older we swapped roles.
Q. How did you progress from there?
A. At 17 I signed for Norwich United, then I was with the Community Sports Fund where I did a BTEC, half education, half sport. I was spotted by a guy called Colin Watts who is well known in the area for having a good eye for goalkeepers. He and Adam Drury who worked at the college got me trials at Lincoln and Peterborough, before I signed for Norwich City.
Q. Who has mentored/encouraged you?
A. My parents and family, driving me about all over the place. Adam Drury, he selected me for college he has pushed me on.
Q. You are one of five keepers at U23 level for Norwich City, how does that work, what is your relationship like with the other lads?
A. It's a good environment, lots of competition in training. Two of us are out on loan now and playing competitive men's football, we all get on and drive each other on in training.
Q. What differences have you noticed between playing U23's and playing in the VNLS?
A. The style of football, you play to your strengths at this level, it's more direct and the stature of the players. At U23's it's all about one-two touch football, keeping the ball on the grounf=d and playing out from the back.
Q. How often do you train at Norwich and what do you do with your spare time?
A. I train four days at Norwich, then come down here Thursday evenings. In my spare time I'll nap, play X-Box or see my mates.
Q. How do you think goalkeeping has changed over recent years, what do you need to be a modern goalkeeper?
A. You need the ability to be comfortable with the ball at your feet, like Ederson at Man City. You have more time with the ball at your feet and there is more variation on distribution.
Q. Where do you hope to be in three years' time?
A. I'd love to be in the Premier League or playing first team football. I speak to Tim Kruhl a lot at Norwich, he gives me good advice. He is way ahead of me with his experience and his ability to read the game.
Q. What is the best ground you've played at?
A. Bet365 Stadium, Stoke City playing for Norwich in a F A Cup Youth Final which we won.
Q. Best player you've played against?
A. Fraser Forster when he was at Southampton, he's such a big guy.
Q. How have you found your time at Braintree, has it been easy to settle in?
A. The lads, George and coach have been great. They're a good group we work well together in training. I feel right at home here.
Q. Which player in our squad has the hardest shot?
A. Arisfide Bassele
Q. Who is the worst finisher in training?
A. Steve Sheehan
Q. Which player hates losing the most?
A. Me
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Mid-table

More progress, but Iron have to be patient
Renaissance continues under George Borg
Braintree's renaissance under manager George Borg continues, despite a single-goal defeat at Maidston on Saturday. Justin Amaluzor scoring the only goal of the game to ensure the Kent club collected all three points in what was an entertaining game.
Amaluzor picked up a midfield cross ball out to him on the right wing on 16 minutes before cutting inside and unleashing a fierce low drive into the far corner of the Iron net giving keeper Billy Johnson no chance.
Although the home side had the better of the exchanges in the first half and created three more possible goal scoring opportunities it was the impressive Johnson who pulled off fine saves to keep his own side in the game at the interval.
The second 45 minutes though saw a more dominant Iron side take the game to their hosts and, but for some inconsistent finishing, they could have equalised. Early on with both Jordan Chiezozie and Aristicle Bassele going close while in another threatening Iron attack Brendan Ocran forced a tremendous save from home keeper Chris Lewington.
The arrival of young Iron substitute Alfie Curelli on 57 minutes added a new impetus to the visitors' attack and they frequently forced the home defence into some desperate long ball clearances.
The longer the half progressed the more likely the Iron seemed certain to grab that important equaliser and point they deserved. Eight minutes from the end with the charismatic Curelli's surging run, into the area, round the keeper and shoot, only for retreating defender Zihni Temelici to kick the ball away almost on from his own goal line.
At the other end young Iron keeper Johnson pulled off two fine saves to keep his side in the game and when he was beaten the ball skimmed off the top of the crossbar and behind for a corner.
Two minutes from time and twice again the Iron were denied a possible equaliser as the home side held on for the win and three points.
This much improved Iron second half display failed to gain them a point they deserved over the 90 minutes and they will be looking for a win and three points when they entertain Hemel Hempstead at home on Saturday, kick off 3pm.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Clements (83 Russell), O'Keefe, Matsuzaka, Sheehan; Jack Smith, Gardiner-Smith, Ocran (76 Kirkpatrick), Liam Smyth (57 Curelli); Bassele, Chiedozie. Unused subs: Stone, Ryan. Attendance: 1,875 (53 Iron supporters). Referee: Wayne Cartmel.

Match Preview - Saturday 8 February 2020
Vanarama League - Maidstone United v Braintree Town
Maidstone United are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League South on 39 points. Their home record this season is: P 13 W 5 D 6 L 2 F 24 A 14 Points 21. Last 4 home League games: Won 1-0 v Oxford City, Drew 1-1 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Drew 2-2 v Tonbridge Angels, Won 4-1 v Dulwich Hamlet. Top scorers: Ibby Akanbi - 11, Matt McLure - 10, Dan Wishart - 9. Form last 6 games: WDWDLW.
Braintree Town are currently 18th in the Vanarama National League on 31 points. Away record: P 14 W 5 D 1 L 8 F 22 A 34 Points 13. Last 4 away League games: Won 1-4 v Oxford City, Lost 6-0 v Dulwich Hamlet, Lost 4-1 v Chelmsford City, Lost 1-0 v Slough Town. Top scorers: Alfie Cerulli - 3, Liam Smyth - 2. Form last 6 games: LLLWLD.
The last meeting at the Gallagher Stadium came last season on 19 April 2019, with Braintree continuing their fine form with a comfortable 2-0 win. Mo Sagaf got the Iron off to a great start when he put away a second minute penalty. The points were sealed late on when a quick thinking Ben Killip launched a long goal kick deep into the Stones half, which Korrey Henry was able to control and finish.
When the two sides met at Cressing Road in October, former Iron player Iffy Allen gave the visitors a half time lead with a close range finish. The second half saw Stones midfielder Ross Marshall sent off on 65 minutes. In the last seconds of added time, Josh Urquhart headed home a corner at the far post to gain a point.
Braintree battled hard last time out to earn a creditable point against high-flying Weymouth. Another battling display will be required once again as they line up against some familiar faces for Iron fans.

Iron denied by play-off hopefuls Weymouth
George Borg's side continues to make progress
George Borg's young Iron side continue to improve in every game and, against promotion hopefuls and third placed Weymouth, they almost stole all three points in a hard fought encounter at a blustery Cressing Road on Saturday.
They took a deserved early in the second half lead and only some tired legs and a little inexperience saw them concede an equaliser 13 minutes from time to at least pick up a valuable point as they bid to move up the table.
Manager George Borg was delighted with the way his youngsters played adding: "I'm really proud of them because they listened and did what I wanted them to do in the game, worked their socks off and should have won the game.
"I feel now over the past four games we've improved tremendously and playing better as a unit and again in this game fully deserved at least a point in the end," he continued. "Again they were up against an experienced Conference South side but showed they were more than a match and as a team they are growing in confidence."
Borg, who said he hoped to add at least one more player to his squad this coming week, added: "We've now been able to work on things in training during the week and it's now paying dividends in matches."
Iron almost had the best possible start when young full-back Charley O'Keefe's long left wing shot just dropped on to the top of the visitors' net on three minutes and two minutes later a terrific long range shot from the impressive Jacob Garner-Smith forced keeper Callum Ward into a full length save.
Iron were proving more than a match for the visitors but it nearly went all wrong on 37 minutes when they conceded a penalty after being caught in possession in their half with Dan Matsuzaka bringing down the nippy Jordan Ngalo in the area.
But Iron keeper Billy Johnson chose to dive the right way and force Josh McQuoid's spot kick away with a brilliant save and twice before half time both Jordan Chiedozie and Liam Smyth went close with goal bound efforts scrambled away at the last minute by defenders.
The break through though came on 50 minutes when a series of Iron attacks cause mayhem in the visitors' backline before finally Smyth was able to turn and drive the ball low into the left-hand bottom corner of the net with Ward beaten and so giving the youngster his debut club goal.
Generally, the second half saw the Iron have more of the ball, looking far more solid in midfield than in recent weeks, but they still have a need for an out and out experienced striker.
Young striker Alfie Curelli was introduced just past the hour and his persistent chasing down defenders created more openings and he, Chiedozie, Smyth and Lucas Kirkpatrick all went so close to adding a second goal for the Iron
With young legs tiring the visitors did manage to get themselves back in the game on 77 minutes when a low right wing cross was not dealt with leaving substitute Yemi Odubade unmarked on the edge of the area to drive the ball past the exposed Johnson for the equaliser.
Despite this setback Iron kept pressing hard in the final minutes for a possible winner and again Curelli, Smith, and Stevie Sheehan with a header all went so close to scoring.
Overall this was a much improved display by the Iron with Borg adding: "We have so many positives from the game and the boys really deserved to win all three points because they were the better side."
Braintree Town: Johnson; Howard, O'Keefe, Matsuzaka, Sheehan; Smith, Gardner-Smith, Kirkpatrick, Smyth; Bassele (71 Curelli), Chiedozie (86 Ocran). Unused subs: Stone, Ryan, Pappel. Referee: Ben Atkinson. Attendance: 405
Next up for the Iron is a visit to Maidstone this coming Saturday, 8th February, with kick off 3pm.

Match Preview in association with LV BET
Vanarama League - Saturday 1 February 2020 - Braintree Town v Weymouth
Weymouth are currently 3rd in the Vanarama National League South on 50 points. Their away record this season is: P 13 W 5 D 6 L 2 F 18 A 12 Points 21. Top Scorers- Abdulai Bell-Baggie - 10, Yemi Odubade & Jake McCarthy - 8, Ben Thomson & Brett Williams - 7. Last 4 away League results: Won 0-1 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Won 1-2 v Concord Rangers, Won 1-3 v Welling United, Lost 1-0 v Dorking Wanderers. Form last 6 games: LWDWWW.
Braintree Town are currently 17th in the Vanarama National League South on 30 points. Their home record this season is P 14 W 4 D 2 L 8 F 18 A 26 Points 14. Last 4 home League results: Lost 0-1 v Slough Town, Lost 0-1 v Tonbridge Angels, Lost 1-2 v Chelmsford City, Lost 0-1 v Concord Rangers. Form last 6 games: LLLLWL. Top Scorers - Alfie Cerulli - 3, Tyler Christian-Law - 2
Last meeting was on 26 October 2019 with the Terras winning 3-0. Jake McCarthy put the home side ahead after 25 minutes. McCarthy scored a second goal on 72 minutes, before Ben Thomson wrapped up the scoring with five minutes left to play.
The last time the two teams met in the League at Cressing Road was on 5 December 2009. George Purcell scored after only two minutes to give the Iron an early lead. Twenty minutes later and the Iron were two up courtesy of a Sean Marks strike. A minute before half time, Purcell scored his second to give the home side a three-nil lead. Two second half goals from Llewellyn and Reid reduced the deficit, but the Iron held firm to pick up all three points. As with last week's home fixture against Slough Town, the Iron now face a top three team and the other team in the VNLS with the joint second best defensive record. It was close last time out after Slough had scored late on in the first half. An improved second half display from the home side was good enough to earn a point, but it wasn't to be.

Talking to Dan Matsuzaka
This squad is hungrier
DOB: 13/8/97 (22) Born: Barnet
Previous clubs: Southend U, Harlow T (L), Kataller Toyama, Braintree Town, Sutton United
Position: Centre Back
Q. Do you have a job?
A. I am doing an Open University course in psychology
Q. Who do you support?
A. Manchester U
Q. Is Ole Solskjaer doing a good job?
A. He's not done badly, he's weathered the storm.
Q. What is your favourite food?
A. Caribbean
Q. What is your favourite holiday destination?
A. Mexico
Q. Which social media do you use?
A. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook
Q. You were here last season, what memories do you have of that time?
A. I have very good memories, we finished the season with a good run of games, beating some good teams and almost stayed up.
Q. Are you still in contact with any of the players from last season?
A. Yes, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Cameron James and Mo Sagaf.
Q. You went to Sutton United, why did you choose them?
A. I live in London and they're a London team, they're also full time and it was a good opportunity for me.
Q. You played with a few ex-Iron players there, Jamie Butler, Kenny Davis and Ben Wyatt, tell me about them?
A. Jamie is good on the ball with his distribution, he knocked me out in a game, I didn't know anything about it, I was out for 2 weeks. Kenny is a very good player and a nice guy. Ben and I used to travel in together a good mate and player.
Q. So how did you end up coming back to Braintree?
A. I left Sutton and had one game for Wealdstone when Jerry called me and told me that Braintree needed at centre back as there were lots of players leaving. I'd also spoken to Glen earlier in the season.
Q. When we spoke last season, your aim was to represent Japan at the 2020 Olympics, how's that working out?
A. At the moment it's not looking great. I've just have to try to keep playing well, but you don't get noticed at this level. They scout players all over Europe.
Q. Who do you turn to for advice?
A. A friend of mine who I work with and plays for Ipswich - Kane Vincent-Young, gives me footballing advice.
Q. How does this new squad compare to the one you played in last season?
A. Both teams are positive and enthusiastic. I'd say this squad is hungrier. We now play a different style; we played more football under Danny Searle.
Q. You must have experienced varying coaching methods are there many differences?
A. In Japan you only get one day a week off, whilst in England you get two. Japanese training is all about technique and tactical. All the teams from top to bottom play the same way and play out from the back.
Q. What would you say are the differences between Danny and George's methods?
A. Danny's game was more tactical based. He liked to encourage players. George gives you more direct information.
Q. Having stepped down a League, what is your ambition for the next couple of years, how do you achieve that?
A. I have to be the best player on the pitch. It would be a dream to play in the football League.
Q. Which player in training is the hardest to mark?
A. Jordan Chiedozie
Q. Which player takes the longest over his appearance?
A. Brandan Orcan
Q. Where will Braintree finish in the League?
A. Play-offs

Strong second half goes unrewarded
George still looking to bring in players
Despite a strong second half fightback by the Iron side they were edged out of a possible draw and point in this entertaining tussle at Cressing Road on Saturday allowing the visitors to maintain their own play-off push.
It was a game of two halves with the visitors in control over the first forty-five minutes and only a tremendous one-handed save by their keeper Billy Johnson midway through the first half looked to have kept the scoresheet blank.
But just two minutes before the interval the deadlock was finally broken when the ball was swept in from the right wing by the visitors and the unmarked Warren Harris slid the ball into the Iron net.
Three minutes after the restart though Iron had a great chance to equalise when Jordan Chiedozie broke clear down the right, round visiting keeper Jack Turn only to see defenders scrambling back helping to clear the danger at the last moment.
In what turned out to be a more impressive and workmanlike second half performance for Iron fans it was the crucial double substitution on 65 minutes with youngsters Alfie Curelli and Charley Barker coming on which almost paid dividends as they started to cause serious problems in the visiting rearguard.
Despite repeated good build ups and creating several potentially good goal scoring openings it was that final ball into the danger area that let them down.
It was all Iron attacking as the half progressed with Curelli, ChiedozIe, Liam Smyth and Jack Smith all going close to scoring.
Iron's caused was not helped either by some decisions made against them but to their credit the youngsters didn't drop their heads and kept plugging away and never giving up but determined to try and pull back the one goal deficit.
In the end they ran out of time leaving manager George Borg a frustrated figure on the touchline but he praised the youngsters for their second half performance.
"After such a disappointing first half, to come back in the manner they did was tremendous and I felt we should have taken at least a point from the game," he declared. "Naturally it's really difficult having so many youngsters in the side because you are going to get mistakes from them but that's part of their learning.
"The opposition were stronger and had vastly more experienced players but in that second period we showed so much character and played some good, attacking football but didn't get any reward on the day," he added. "I know where we want to strengthen and hopefully in the coming weeks we can have a couple of more experienced players in the squad which will help us push up the table."
Braintree Town: Billy Johnson; Howard, O'Keefe, Matsuzaka, Sheehan; Jack Smith, Gardner-Smith, Kirkpatrick (65 Barker), Liam Smyth (85 Ocran); Oyinsan (65 Curelli), Chiedozie. Unused subs: Christian-Law, Stone. Attendance: 494
Next up for the Iron is another home game on Saturday with Weymouth the visitors, kick off 3pm.

Match Preview - Vanarama League
Saturday 25 January 2020 - Braintree Town v Slough Town
Slough Town are currently 4th in the Vanarama National League South on 46 points. Their away record this season is: P 11 W 4 D 4 L 3 F 18 A 15 Points 16. Top Scorers - Ben Harris - 10, Matt Lench - 8, Warren Harris - 7, Dan Roberts - 6. Last 4 away League results: Drew 2-2 v Billericay Town, Lost 2-1 v Wealdstone, Drew 1-1 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Won 0-3 v Chippenham Town. Form last 6 games: WDLDDW. Braintree Town are currently 17th in the Vanarama National League South on 30 points. Their home record this season is P 13 W 4 D 2 L 7 F 18 A 25 Points 14. Last 4 home League results: Lost 0-1 v Tonbridge Angels, Lost 1-2 v Chelmsford City, Lost 0-1 v Concord Rangers, Drew 3-3 v Havant & Waterlooville. Form last 6 games: LLLLLW. Top Scorers - Alfie Cerulli - 3, Tyler Christian-Law - 2.
Last meeting was on 7 December 2019 saw Slough Town winning with a late Matt Lench strike in the eighty third minute. This was George Borg's first game in charge following the departure of player manager Jake Hutchings. Much has changed in the seven weeks since that meeting with a virtual overhaul of the Braintree squad. After a sequence of defeats, the new players put in a top performance last time out at Oxford City to show that they are now beginning to come together as a team.
Slough will provide a stern test for the new look Iron with them having the joint second best goals conceded record in the League. In fact, they have only lost once in the League in the last three months and that was to table topping Wealdstone. Let's get behind the boys as they set out to maintain the progress of last week.

Talking to Steve Sheehan
The gaffer has been a big positive, makes us work hard, but good at building morale
DOB: 14/7/90 Born: Orsett. Position: Centre Back
Career history: Waltham Abbey youth - U18, East Thurrock Unite (3 spells), Canvey Island, Billericay Town.
Q. Do you have a job?
A. Yes - Mastic Sealant Man
Q. Who do you support?
A. Chelsea
Q. Favourite player?
A. John Terry
Likes - Music - House, 80's soul.
TV - Only Fools & Horses, Ozark, NFL and football
Holiday - Florida & Ibiza
Social Media - Instagram & Twitter
Q. Tell me about your career
A. I'd just turned 17 when I joined Waltham Abbey Youth as a centre back and was captain for 2 years. Sometimes I'd be in the first team squad on a Saturday and play for the U18's on a Sunday. I then had 2 months at Leyton before I had my first spell at East Thurrock United. Their manager, John Coventry had coached me at U14. I won the Essex Senior Cup with them and also with Canvey Island and also won the League with East Thurrock United.
Q. How did you end up at Braintree, did you know George?
A. Yes I've known George a few years as I'd played against his teams in the past. He wanted me as he said I fitted what was needed here.
Q. You were made captain on your debut, what do you bring to that role?
A. Stability, leadership, organisation, team morale. I've captained every team I've played for.
Q. There have been a lot of comings and goings in your short time here has it been hard to settle?
A. Not for me. George, the Chairman and the supporters have made me welcome. It's more stable now and we shouldn't see so many changes and we have a solid core of players. Along with Lucas, we'll be implementing player fines!
Q. Is it difficult to get results when the team changes so often?
A. Definitely, it's not been anyone's fault. Sacrifices have had to be made to get to where we want to be. It's taken a few weeks to get there, but it's a different changing room now. Previously it had been made up of smaller factions of 2 or 3 players.
Q. It's a young squad, we've looked physically weaker in some games, would you agree?
A. I would agree but we have technically better players. We're playing well drilled teams who have been settled sides for the whole season and are organised. The young lads here are learning quickly and help us to play on the counter.
Q. What are the positives going forward?
A. A settled side, we get to work on things together in training with the same players. The boys are beginning to know each other and building partnerships on the pitch. They're all buying into what we're trying to do. The gaffer has been a big positive, makes us work hard, but good at building morale.
Q. Who has been the best player you've played with or against?
A. He's my best mate, but I've played with him and against him - Sam Higgins. Playing with him, he scores goals, won the golden boot. Against, when I was at Billericay and he was at East Thurrock United, he got me sent off after 10 minutes.
Q. Which coach/manager has had the biggest influence on your career?
A. Del Robinson, he was a coach at West Ham and he ran our U11-U16 teams. He was ahead of his time, one of the first coaches teaching kids about technique, shape, positioning. He got the most out of you and made it a learning activity.
Q. Which Braintree player is the laziest in training?
A. Josh Oyinsan, he's there in body, not in mind!
Q. Who is the biggest moaner?
A. The Gaffer, he moans about everything, then turns it into a positive.
Q. Which player is the most intelligent?
A. Jacob Gardner-Smith
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Mid table.

Four-goal Iron power to victory
Borg pleased for the Iron fans
Braintree Town ended their recent run of poor results with an emphatic 4-1 victory at Oxford City on Saturday. After an even first 45 minutes, which saw both Chiedozie and Smyth fire over the bar, Iron stepped up a gear after the break and took a 53rd minute lead.
A clearance from skipper Stevie Sheehan found Jordan Chiedozie in plenty of space on the right. Breaking forward he then drilled the ball into the roof of the net (see picture above) past the stranded home keeper Matt Harris. Iron continued to push forward.
Despite a horrendous two-footed challenge on Lucas Kirkpatrick, play was allowed to continue by the referee and Charley O'Keefe broke down the left before steering the ball past Harris for 2-0 and then, moments later it was 3-0 when Liam Smyth got himself on the score sheet.
The home side pulled a goal back on 88 minutes, before Josh Oyinson added Braintree's fourth in time added on.
After the game Iron boss George Borg was delighted: "The lads have work hard today. Oxford are a good side and beat leaders Wealdstone here a fortnight ago. I felt we coped well with the early pressure and got ourselves into the game before half time. Second half we played with confidence and were good value for our goals and the win. Pleased also for the fans who have backed us through thick and thin."
Braintree: Johnson, Howard, O'Keefe, Matsuzaka, Sheehan, Smith, Gardner-Smith, Kirkpatrick, Oyinson, Chiedozie, Smyth. Un-used subs: Christian-Law, Ocran, Stone, Barker and Papple. Referee: Scott Tallis.
Next up for Iron is the visit of Slough Town to Cressing Road, this coming Saturday, 25th January, with kick-off at 3pm.

Match Preview - Saturday 18 January 2020
Vanarama League - Oxford City v Braintree Town
Oxford City are currently 13th in the Vanarama National League South on 33 points. Their home record this season is: P 12 W 5 D 3 L 5 F 20 A 26 Points 18. Last 4 home League games: Won 3-2 v Wealdstone, Won 3-2 v Hungerford Town, Drew 3-3 v St Albans City, Lost 1-4 v Maidstone United. Top scorers: Zac McEachran - 9, Nana Owusu - 5, Elliot Benyon, Josh Ashby & Kyran Wiltshire - 4. Form last 6 games: DWLWWL.
Braintree Town are currently 16th in the Vanarama National League on 29 points. Away record: P 13 W 4 D 1 L 8 F 18 A 33 Points 13. Last 4 away League games: Lost 6-0 v Dulwich Hamlet, Lost 4-1 v Chelmsford City, Lost 1-0 v Slough Town, Lost 6-2 v Welling United. Top scorers: Alfie Cerulli - 3, Tyler Christian-Law - 2. Form last 6 games: DLLLLL. Last meeting at Cressing Road was on 28 September 2019 when an Ade Cole penalty in the 34th minute, was enough to secure all three points. There have been changes to both sides since that meeting. City had won only one of their opening thirteen fixtures; this resulted in the resignation of manager Mark Jones to be replaced by former players Justin Merritt and Andy Ballard. They have overseen a steady climb to their current mid-table position. Meanwhile the changes at Braintree have seen them slip down the table as manager George Borg tries to put together a new team. Iron fans will be hoping that at the city of dreaming spires, dreams of three points will become a reality.

Talking to Lucas Kirkpatrick
George has got some new lads in now and we're starting to gel
DOB: 18/3/95 (24) Born: Luton
Position: Midfield
Previous clubs: Youth - Luton Town, Bedford Town, Biggleswade Town, Cambridge City, AFC Kempston Rovers, Langford, Hitchin Town
Q. Do you have a job?
A. Yes, I'm a PE Teacher
Q. Who do you support?
A. Chelsea
Q. Favourite player?
A. Frank Lampard
Q. Likes: Music old school 80's, Luther Vandross
TV/Film - Match of the Day, Law Abiding Citizens
Food - Nandos, spaghetti
Social Media - Instagram and Twitter
Q. Tell me about your career, highs and lows.
A. I started at age six with Luton Town as a right back. As I got older I was moved into midfield as I was more technical and love a tackle. I had a few loans whilst I was there. Then I spent the best times and about four/five years at Hitchin. I won the League Cup with them, two Herts Senior Cups and played in a play-off final for hem, which we lost.
Q. How did you end up at Braintree?
A. I knew Michael Johnson from my time at Hitchin. He's a good friend and he spoke to Glen about me. He gave me a trial and after one training session he signed me.
Q. There's been a lot of comings and goings in your time here, how does that affect you/the squad?
A. It doesn't affect me that much, but more so the squad. We'd built up good team morale, and then there was uncertainty over who's staying or going. George has got some new lads in now and we're starting to gel.
Q. Have you ever known so many changes in one season?
A. No I've never been at a club with so many changes, but players are versatile and want to win games. At this level a lot of players hop from club to club.
Q. How has George changed training/match tactics?
A. He's old school which I like. He gets us up for games. Training is hard, but if we can play on that training pitch, we can play on any pitch. He wants us to get in the opposition's faces. He's given players confidence and put his trust in us.
Q. You've had to slot in at right back a few times, are you comfortable with that?
A. It's not my favourite position, but I'm happy to play anywhere as I feel I'm quite versatile. In one game I started off at right back, and then played in midfield before ending up at left back.
Q. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
A. Strengths - Leadership skills, attitude, giving 100%, my nasty side, technically good. Weaknesses - my height and stature and I'm quite slow.
Q. Who are the best players you've played with?
A. From my time at Luton, Cauley Woodrow who's now at Barnsley, Lewis Bkaer who went to Chelsea and is now at Fortuna Dusseldorf. From Non-League, Kane Smith a midfielder who's at Boreham Wood who I think is good enough to play in the EFL.
Q. Which player has any superstition or quirk?
A. Alfie Cerulli, his boots, if he scores or has a good game he wears them every game. If he has a bad game, he'll chuck them and go out and buy some new ones.
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Comfortably mid-table just below the play-offs.

Early Bird details released
for Promotion Final on Sunday 10 May at Wembley
The Vanarama National League has released details of the opportunity for all football fans to purchase Early Bird tickets for their Promotion Final on Sunday 10th May 2020 at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. Tickets are now on sale and will remain available as outlined below direct from Wembley Stadium Ticketing Portal. This offer is only available on-line. There is also an option for 'Print at Home' (PAH).
EARLY BIRD offer - up to and including 29th February 2020:
Adults: £20
Seniors (Over 60): £10
Under 16: FREE **
(** 1 free U16 ticket can be ordered for each ticket sold at Adult or Senior price).
Additional tickets for Under 16 over the above allowance can be purchased at £5 each. Early Bird sales are made even more attractive as no booking fee is charged. Please be advised no ticket is refundable once purchased through the Early Bird option. Disabled seated allocation is available directly through Wembley Stadium and details are also available on-line.
Notes: General Admission Ticket prices for the Promotion Final will be announced in April. Early Bird tickets will NOT be forwarded to purchasers until the two competing finalist clubs are confirmed. This will allow for ticket allocation to be made in blocks for any group of supporters of a neutral club wishing to be in the same area. Initial purchase therefore will be placed into holding blocks for the time being. In order for this to be offered, each purchaser will be required to nominate which National League member club they align themselves to or they may indicate a 'No Preference' neutral option. Supporters of the two clubs who do reach the Promotion Final and who purchase Early Bird tickets will be allocated their tickets for the correct area of the stadium when allotted to each finalist club.

Match Preview - Vanarama National League
Saturday 11 January 2020 - Braintree Town v Tonbridge Angels
Tonbridge Angels are currently 19th in the Vanarama National League South on 24 points. Their away record this season is: P 12 W 0 D 4 L 8 F 8 A 22 Points 4. Top Scorers - Joe Turner - 8, D'Sean Theobalds - 7, Tom Derry - 6. Last 4 away League results: Drew 2-2 v Maidstone United, Lost 3-0 v Dartford, Drew 1-1 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Lost 1-0 v Hungerford Town. Form last 6 games: DLDLDW.
Braintree Town are currently 17th in the Vanarama National League South on 27 points. Their home record this season is P 12 W 4 D 2 L 6 F 18 A 24 Points 14. Last 4 home League results: Lost 1-2 v Chelmsford City, Lost 0-1 v Concord Rangers, Drew 3-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Lost 0-4 v Hampton & Richmond Borough. Form last 6 games: LDLLLL. Top Scorers - Rhys Murrell-Williamson - 5 (2 for St Albans City), Alfie Cerulli - 3, Tyler Christian-Law - 2.
Connections: After his short spell at Cressing Road, Harry Donovan moved on to the Angels in November 2019. Last meeting was on 12 October 2019 where the hosts came out victors 5-1. After 20 goalless minutes, three goals in eight minutes from Derry, Theobalds and Hession-Harris gave the away side a mountain to climb. Just past the hour Hession-Harris got his second before Adam Mills pulled one back for the Iron. Rian Bray completed the scoring in the eightieth minute.
During our visit to Darenth Avenue, I learned that former Tonbridge players included former Aston Villa and League Champion winner Ron Saunders and former Newcastle United, Arsenal and England striker Malcolm MacDonald who turned out for the Angels - at left back! This week Tonbridge have recruited Dartford striker Ban Greenhalgh to their squad.
Braintree's defeat at Dulwich Hamlet last time out now means they have dropped into the bottom six of the VNLS. With Iron without a league win in eight attempts and Tonbridge without a league win away in twelve, something has to give! C'mon The Iron!

Iron taught lesson in finishing
Early wasted chances set up emphatic Hamlet victory
Braintree were given a hard lesson in clinical finishing in front of goal at Champion Hill on Saturday where the rampant home side ran away with the game so much so that by being four goals to the good at the interval it ended the game as a contest.
This was one of the most lacklustre performances from an Iron team for many a long time and there can't be any excuses with some players clearly not up for it on the day.
It was a little ironic though the Iron could have been a couple of goals up within the first five minutes when the woodwork and home keeper Charlie Grainger twice denied them in their first attacks.
But when the unmarked Quade Taylor headed in the home side's first goal from a corner on six minutes it was all downhill for the Iron from then onwards as the home side opened up the Iron at will and showed what finishing in front of goal is all about.
On 20 and 28 minutes Shamir Mullings punished sloppy Iron defending to score a brace past keeper Michael Johnson and, in first half stoppage time, Iron conceded a fourth goal from the penalty spot by Jeffrey Monakana after a needless foul in the 18-yard area had been committed.
By then it was game over and although the Iron battled in the second half there was clearly no way back and with the home side playing at their own pace two further late goals from substitute Danny Mills (80th minute) and a superb strike by Monakana (86th minute) ensured home fans in the bumper 2,730 crowd went home happy with their side's performance.
For the Iron, if they are to stem their recent bad run and avoid a slipping towards a relegation battle in the weeks ahead, they will need to improve considerably over this performance and start showing the lethal finishing lessons learnt in this match from the free-flowing home side.
Next Saturday's home game against another struggling side, Tonbridge Angels, is a game in which Iron will be looking to respond positively.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Kirkpatrick, Stone (29 Frimpong), Sheehan, Matsuzaka; Orcan (Barker 75), Gardiner-Smith, Christian-Law, Chiedozie; Oyinsan, Murrell-Williamson. Subs unused: Hinds-Cadette, Papple, Skubich. Referee: Ross Martin.

Match Preview - Saturday 4 January 2020
Vanarama National League - Dulwich Hamlet v Braintree Town
Dulwich Hamlet are currently 16th in the Vanarama National League South on 25 points. Their home record this season is: P 10 W 2 D 3 L 5 F 12 A 16 Points 9. Last 4 home League games: Lost 1-2 v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Drew 1-1 v Dartford, Lost 0-1 v Billericay Town, Lost 1-3 v Bath City. Top scorers: Danny Mills - 12 Ade Yussuf - 6 (2 for Tonbridge A), David Ijaha & Dylan Kearney - 4. Form last 6 games: DLWLLW.
Braintree Town are currently 15th in the Vanarama National League on 27 points. Away record: P 12 W 4 D 1 L 7 F 18 A 27 Points 13. Last 4 away League games: Lost 4-1 v Chelmsford City, Lost 1-0 v Slough Town, Lost 6-2 v Welling United, Won 0-3 v Hemel Hempstead Town. Top scorers: Rhys Murrell-Williamson (2 goals for St Albans City) - 5, Alfie Cerulli - 3. Form last 6 games: LLDLLL.
Last meeting at Cressing Road was on 7 September 2019 when the Iron triumphed by two goals to one. Dulwich took the lead on 19 minutes; a free kick 30 yards out was sent into the box where top scorer Mills had time to chest the ball down and shoot past Johnson. Braintree made a quick start to the second half and although Akinwande thought he had levelled, he was ruled offside. The next attack though saw Ade Cole stride forward to blaze in a powerful strike high into the net giving the keeper no chance. The Iron grabbed the winner on 77 minutes; Coker had a shot blocked, but with the blocking player down injured, Akinwande crossed the ball back in to the box where Cerulli was left unmarked to guide home a simple header. Dulwich made a bright start to the season winning their first three games, two of which came at home. They have not won at home in the League since the 2-1 victory over St Albans City on 10 August 2019. With an improved showing against Chelmsford City last time out, Iron will be heading to Champion Hill hoping to compound their hosts to more home misery.

Disputed penalty decision costs Iron
New look Braintree continue to improve
A disputed penalty 11 minutes from time for the visitors saw them return home with all three points in this highly entertaining local derby at the Cressing Road Stadium on New Year's Day.
The controversy centred on a 79th minute tackle from the Iron's Stevie Sheehan on a City forward which referee Ben Atkinson deemed to be a spot kick and Shaun Jeffers duly converted.
It was an unlucky outcome for the Iron who had battled hard throughout the game coming back from conceding a Tom Knowles goal a minute into the second half with their pressure paying off and Rhys Murrell-Williamson netting a tremendous equaliser on 70 minutes.
Both sides had chances throughout the afternoon to score with fit again first Iron keeper Michael Johnson pulling off three excellent first half saves while at the other end new Iron striker Josh Oyinson and Jordan Chiedozie both saw their efforts scrambled clear.
Having scored the opening goal so early in the second half the visitors held the upper hand for a spell but full credit to Iron they came back strongly and forced the visitors into some desperate defending with Oyinson and Murrell-Williamson also narrowly missing the target.
Having gone behind a second time late on, Iron pushed forward and a superb right cross from Murrell-Williamson brushed the far post with three Iron players so close to getting that final touch on the ball to score.
Iron, who were without the injured Brendan Ocran, Cameron Green and Christian Frimpong, had to draft midfielder Lucas Kirkpatrick in a right-back and 18 year-old Academy player Frankie Stone at left-back as emergency replacements and both did exceedingly well against much more experienced players.
"They both did great and particularly young Frankie who was thrown in at the deep end on his first start for the team," said manager George Borg. "In fact all the players were tremendous and I felt we should have actually won the game."
"We had the better of the first half, were caught cold with sloppy marking at the start of the second half to concede a goal, but showed fantastic character to come back and equalise," he continued. "We then looked strong and far more dangerous going forward before conceding what was not a penalty - in my view.
"I thought their player dived when tackled and the referee was wrong to give them the spot kick," he said.
"I don't like criticising officials, especially after all the good work our boys did," he added. "Overall I am pleased with our performance and we can only get better."
Next up for the Iron is an away match at Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday, 4th January, with kick off 3pm.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Kirkpatrick, Stone, Sheehan, Matsuzaka; Law, Gardner-Smith, Chiedozie, Murrell-Williamson; Oyinson, Cerulli (30 Barker) . Unused subs: Skubich, Hinds-Cadette, Brzozowski. Attendance: 971.

Match Preview - Vanarama National League
Wednesday 1 January 2020 - Braintree Town v Chelmsford City
Chelmsford City are currently 12th in the Vanarama National League South on 29 points. Their away record this season is: P 11 W 2 D 3 L 6 F 13 A 19 Points 9. Top Scorers - Shaun Jeffers - 10, Sam Higgins - 8, Robbie Simpson & Chris Whelpdale - 5. Last 4 away League results: Drew 1-1 v Billericay Town, Lost 2-1 v Chippenham Town, Drew 1-1 v St Albans City, Lost 2-1 v Slough Town. Form last 6 games: DWWLWD.
Braintree Town are currently 14th in the Vanarama National League South on 27 points. Their home record this season is P 11 W 4 D 2 L 5 F 17 A 22 Points 14. Last 4 home League results: Lost 0-1 v Concord Rangers, Drew 3-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Lost 0-4 v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Lost 0-3 v Hungerford Town. Form last 6 games: LLLDLL. Top Scorers - Rhys Murrell-Williamson - 4 (2 for St Albans City), Alfie Cerulli - 3, Tyler Christian-Law - 2
Cressing Road will no doubt be hosting its biggest crowd of the season so far as the teams meet again six days on from their Boxing Day encounter at the Melbourne Stadium. That 4-1 victory for the Clarets took them above Braintree in the League. The return fixture gives the Iron side a chance to put the record straight and go back above their county neighbours.

Braintree rue missed chances
Borg set to strengthen up front
Despite a battling display by the Iron in a game they more than held their own for most of the contest it was a goal 14 minutes from time by the Canvey Island based-team that saw them run out victors.
After Boxing Day's defeat at Chelmsford City, the Braintree players restored some pride and faith for supporters in their performance against the play-off hopefuls.
Although the visitors also had scoring chances in the game full credit to the Iron players who played better and had they a proven goal scorer up front they would certainly have taken a point from the game.
The one bright spot of the afternoon for Iron fans in the 489 crowd was the home debut of midfielder Jacob Gardner-Smith, on loan from Wycombe Wanderers, who worked hard and showed great tenacity and good passing trying to set his forwards up towards goal.
The other outstanding performance was again from central defender Dan Matsuzaka and the whole defence played well even if it meant a couple of goal line clearances to keep the visitors at bay.
With chances going begging at both ends it was the visitors who finally found the net on 76 minutes when James Blanchfield skipped through the Iron back line to drive the ball home with a fierce, low shot.
Iron's main chances came from young Alfie Cerulli and Rhys Murrell-Williamson while the hard working Gardner-Smith and Lucas Kirkpatrick in midfield tried to get the ball forward and when they did down the right wing with Williamson they always looked threatening, causing the visitors' rearguard a few anxious moments.
Even going a goal behind late on the Iron continued to push forward for an equaliser and Gardner-Smith and Cerulli both went close.
With the Iron manager George Borg hoping to have on board for the next match at home to Chelmsford City on New Year's Day (kick off 3pm) a new striker there is renewed optimism in the Iron camp.
"I thought we did better in this game and really tried to force the game on the visitors and we did create chances and hopefully with the presence of a striker up front we will be able to take those chances," said the manager. "We worked hard and could well have ended with a point against an in-form side."
Braintree Town: Brzozowski; Orcan, Green (81 Stone), Frimpong (61 Chiedozie), Sheehan; Matsuzaka, Law, Kirkpatrick, Gardner-Smith; Cerulli, Murrell-Williamson. Unused subs: Johnson, Barker, Hinds-Cadette. Attendance: 489. Referee: Aji Ajibola.
Next up is the return against Chemsford City on New Year's Day, with kick-off at 3pm.

Match Preview - Vanarama National League
Saturday 28 December 2019 - Braintree Town v Concord Rangers
Concord Rangers are currently 7th in the Vanarama National League South on 30 points. Their away record this season is: P 10 W 3 D 1 L 6 F 12 A 18 Points 10. Top Scorers - Joel Nouble & Kreshnic Krasniqi- 7, Decarrey Sheriff & Aron Pollock - 6. Last 4 away League results: Won 0-1 v Dartford, Lost 3-0 v Wealdstone, Lost 3-1 v Bath City, Lost 2-1 v Havant & Waterlooville. Form last 6 games: WLWWWW.
Braintree Town are currently 14th in the Vanarama National League South on 27 points. Their home record this season is P 10 W 4 D 2 L 4 F 17 A 21 Points 14. Last 4 home League results: Drew 3-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Lost 0-4 v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Lost 0-3 v Hungerford Town, Drew 1-1 v Maidstone United. Form last 6 games: LLLLDL. Top Scorers - Rhys Murrell-Williamson - 4 (2 for St Albans City), Alfie Cerulli - 3, Christian-Law - 2.
The two sides met at Thames Road on 3 September 2019 and played out a 2-2 draw. Jason Banton gave the Iron the lead with a long range effort on 38 minutes, before Jack Cawley was shown a red card for the hosts with three minutes left in the first half. Despite being down to ten men, the home side made a good game of it and just short of the hour levelled the scores through Decarrey Sheriff. The Iron were front again through Ade Cole with twenty minutes left to play, but the Beachboys were level again with three minutes eft of normal time through Aron Pollock.
The last meeting at Cressing Road came in our surge towards the play-offs on 14 April 2018. Concord went ahead on 75 minutes through Adam Topley, but the Iron fought back with two goals in the final three minutes from Dan Thompson and Luke Allen.
Iron will be looking to put the defeat on Boxing Day behind them as they look to get a result against a resurgent Canvey Island side who enjoyed a Boxing Day victory over Billericay.

City prevail on Boxing Day
Fourth goal the turning point
Iron travelled to Melbourne Park on Boxing Day, encouraged by their dramatic late equaliser against Havant & Waterlooville the Saturday before. There was one change to the starting line-up, with loan signing Jacob Gardiner-Smith replacing Charley Barker.
After a morning of persistent rain, conditions on the Melbourne pitch were difficult underfoot. Chances were spurned at both ends. For City, Jonny Giles acrobatically fired over the crossbar, while Kirkpatrick's effort was turned around the post by Walker. From the resulting corner Stevie Sheehan's header went narrowly over.
For the most part Iron looked fairly untroubled by the home side, but with just four minutes to go until the break Robbie Simpson made the breakthrough for City. Four minutes later Chris Whelpdale burst through a static defence to power a far post header into the net and give the home side a two goal half time lead.
Iron needed to make a positive start to the second half to get back into the game, and after 50 minutes they did just that. The revitalised Rhys Murrell-Willianson cut inside down the left flank before letting in Christian Tyler-Law who slipped the ball past the onrushing keeper from a tight angle.
For a while it looked as though Iron could draw back level but the crucial next goal went to City, with Whelpdale's drive taking a wicked deflection off Sheehan to deceive Brzozowski. Iron survived a couple of scares when the referee ruled out two goals. The final goal of the day came with five minutes to go. Shaun Jeffers converted a penalty, with Lucas Kirkpatrick receiving a yellow card for his part in conceding it.
Brainstree at Chelmsford: Brzozowski, Ocran, Green, Frimpong (Chiedozie), Sheehan, Matsuzaka, Christian-Law, Kirkpatrick, Murrell-Williamson, Cerulli, Gardiner-Smith. Unused subs: Hinds-Cadette, Stone, Baker. Att 919.
Iron now look forward to their next holiday game. Concord Rangers come to Cressing Road on Saturday, kick off
at 3.00 pm.

George strengthens his midfield
22-year old joins from Wycombe
George Borg has continued his improvements to the first team squad with the addition of midfielder Jacob Gardiner-Smith from League One side Wycombe Wanderers on a three month loan. The 22-year old agreed a one-year deal with Wycombe Wanderers after doing well as a trialist in pre-season. Having started his career in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg, Jacob returned to England with Hendon and St Albans City before trailing at Adams Park.

Match Preview - Thursday 26 December 2019
Chelmsford City v Braintree Town
Chelmsford City are currently 12th in the Vanarama National League South on 25 points. Last season they finished 4th on 72 points. In the play-offs, they lost 3-2 in the semi-final to Welling United. Their home record this season is: P 11 W 4 D 5 L 2 F 24 A 19 Points 17. Last 4 home League games: Won 4-1 v Hungerford Town, Lost 2-6 v Oxford City, Drew 2-2 v Dorking Wanderers, Drew 1-1 v Dulwich Hamlet. Top scorers: Shaun Jeffers - 9, Sam Higgins - 8, Robbie Simpson - 4. Form last 6 games: WDWWWL.
Braintree Town are currently 10th in the Vanarama National League on 27 points. Away record: P 11 W 4 D 1 L 6 F 17 A 23 Points 13. Last 4 away League games: Lost 1-0 v Slough Town, Lost 6-2 v Welling United, Won 0-3 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Lost 3-0 v Weymouth. Top scorers: Rhys Murrell-Williamson (2 goals for St Albans City) - 4, Alfie Cerulli - 3. Form last 6 games: WLLLLD.
Connections: The Clarets squad includes former Iron players Chez Isaac and former loanee Ollie Muldoon. Last meeting at the Melbourne Community Stadium was on 1 January 2018. The two sides had met at Cressing Road on Boxing Day 2017 and two evenly contested games both ended 2-2. Phil Roberts gave the Iron the lead in the 35th minute. A Billy Crook free kick, taken just inside his own half, was hit long into the penalty area; Joe Ellul stretched out a leg as the ball dropped diverting it to his left where Roberts was able to side foot home into an unguarded goal. Chelmsford equalised three minutes before half time; a long throw into the area was deemed to have been handled by a Braintree defender and Kudus Oyenuga tucked away the resulting penalty sending McDonald the wrong way. Just past the hour the home side took the lead from another long throw-in. Two attempted clearances from the Iron defence saw the ball end up at the feet of Shaun Batt on the edge of the box, he hit a low first time shot into the bottom right corner of McDonald's net. The Iron came back to earn a point with seven minutes remaining. Muleba sent Barrington away down the right flank, his pace took him beyond a chasing Claret's defender and with former Iron keeper Sam Beasant hurtling off his line to try and intercept, Barrington released the ball to Roman Michael-Percil who had the simple task of running the ball home into an empty net. Highlights can be found here: This promises to be another close encounter although City's recent form would suggest otherwise; the Borg revolution saw the Iron fight back in stoppage time last time out to earn a creditable draw against title favourites Havant and Waterlooville. As we all know, on derby days, the form book goes out of the window.

Rhys brace secures Iron point
Braintree and Havant share six goals
A sensational 30 yard free-kick from Rhys Murrell-Williamson five minutes into added on stoppage time deservedly gave the Iron a share of the points at Cressing Road on Saturday in a highly entertaining game.
With the 90 minutes up it looked as if manager George Borg in his home debut game since being reappointed two weeks ago was going to end in a defeat as the Hawks had snatched what many thought was the winning goal on 89 minutes through Alfie Rutherford.
But with this newly installed 'never say die' attitude amongst the Iron players from the experienced Borg they surged forward and earned themselves a free-kick out on the right outside the visitors' area.
Up stepped Williamson to brilliantly strike the ball into the top far corner of the net giving keeper Ross Warner no chance and leading to wild celebrations amongst the Iron players.
With the Iron starting the game with three new signings on the field - on loan young QPR keeper Marcin Brzozowsk, in for the injured Michael Johnson, defenders Brendan Ocran and Steve Sheehan - and two more on the bench this was certainly a vastly improved home performance after the last one when losing 0-4 to Hampton & Richmond.
With Borg instilling stronger discipline, particularly in defence, there was more organisation in the side against a vastly more experienced visitors who are full-time and have several former Football League players in their ranks.
The Iron took the lead on 23 minutes when Williamson surged down the left wing before crossing a low ball into the Hawks' area where at the far post young Alfie Cerulli slid the ball into the net.
The visitors quickly responded and Iron full-back Cameron Green had to scope the ball off the goal line and twice Brzozowski had to pull of excellent saves to keep his side in the lead.
The visitors though equalised on 36 minutes when Jonah Ayunga fired in a terrific shot but still the young Iron refused to surrender territory and the sides went in level at the break.
It was the visitors though who took the lead on 64 minutes when Josh Taylor beat two home defenders to drive a 25-yard shot that gave the Iron keeper no chance.
With end to end football in the final few minutes there was excitement and goals at both ends.
First on 89 minutes Hawks' substitute Alfie Rutherford powered home what looked to the winning goal but again the Iron players, re-energised under Borg, kept pushing forward for a possible equaliser in added on time.
They were rewarded when Williamson, having been fouled, stepped up and sent in an unstoppable free-kick much to the delight of team mates and Iron fans in the 430 crowd.
Borg said: "I'm absolutely delighted for the players who all put in such a magnificent shift and I felt we fully deserved to get a point.
"We know they have a big budget with loads of quality and more experienced players and are full-time looking to be champions but I told my boys to go out there, enjoy it, work for each other and never give us which has always been my motto," he declared. "They did just that and it was tremendous when you look how young and inexperienced side we are and none of them never stopped working."
Borg, who aims to bring in at least three more players next week to further boost his squad, added: "We've not even had time to work on set pieces yet in training with so many players coming and going but we are on the right track."
Braintree Town: Brzozowski; Ocran, Green, Sheehan, Matsuzaka, Frimpong; Law, Kirkpatrick, Barker (64 Chiedozie); Williamson, Cerulli. Unused subs: Hinds-Cadette, Stone, Skubich. Referee: Jack Packham.
Next up for the Iron is the away local derby match at Chelmsford City on Boxing Day, kick off 3pm.

Borg adds keeper cover
R's keeper joins through to January
George Borg has completed his third signing of the day by adding 21-year old goalkeeper Marcin Brzozowski on a sort term loan from Queen's Park Rangers.
George Borg said: "MJ's been brilliant since I've been at the Club and we all know he's won us games on his own! He remains my number one, but he's been playing with a bit of an injury for a week or two now. Bringing Marcin to the Club will allow MJ a bit of a breather to fully recover. My thanks go to QPR for helping us this close to Christmas."

Match Preview - Vanarama National League South
in association with LV BET
Saturday 21 December 2019 - Braintree Town v Havant & Waterlooville
Havant & Waterlooville are currently 3rd in the Vanarama National League South on 35 points. Their away record this season is: P 7 W 5 D 2 L 0 F 20 A 9 Points 17. Top Scorers- Jonah Ayunga - 12, Alfie Rutherford & Danny Kedwell - 7
Last 4 away League results: Won 1-3 v St Albans City, Won 1-4 v Wealdstone, Drew 2-2 v Maidstone United, Won 0-2 v Oxford City. Form last 6 games: WWWDWL.
Braintree Town are currently 10th in the Vanarama National League South on 26 points. Their home record this season is P 9 W 4 D 1 L 4 F 14 A 18 Points 13. Last 4 home League results: Lost 0-4 v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Lost 0-3 v Hungerford Town, Drew 1-1 v Maidstone United, Won 1-0 v Oxford City. Form last 6 games: LWLLLL. Top Scorers - Femi Akinwande (now Billericay Town) - 6, Tom Richardson (left the club), Jason Banton (Now Romford) & Ade Cole - 5.
The teams met just over three months ago on 14 September 2019 which saw the Hawks previously unbeaten home record fall to Iron. Tom Richardson gave the Iron an early lead in the fourth minute before Brad Tarbuck equalised for the hosts on seventeen minutes. Iron forged ahead again with a second goal for Richardson six minutes short of half time. The points were wrapped up in the final stages of the game with a goal from Femi Akinwande.
The last meeting at Cressing Road was on 18 August 2018 when the two promoted clubs played out a high scoring encounter. Rory Williams put the visitors ahead with just two minutes on the clock. Reece Grant notched his first of the afternoon just past the half hour mark before Mo Bettamer added a second shortly after. The Hawks equalised on the stroke of half time through Jordan Rose.
With just under twenty minutes remaining, Grant scored his second of the day to put the home side back in front. With six minutes of added time the Hawks managed to score in the 94th and 96th minutes through Kabamba and Rutherford and take three points back to Hampshire.
Ironically, the two sides meet again with Havant unbeaten in the League on their travels, although they did succumb last time out in the F A Trophy down the road at Chelmsford City.
There have been several changes in playing staff and a dip in form for the Iron since that game in September. No doubt George will be parading some new faces and instilling a new team spirit to upset the odds once again.

More changes to Borg's Iron squad
Striker returns plus changes to Iron defence
Iron boss George Borg continues to work on his squad. Joining the Club are 25-year old striker Jordan Chiedozie and 26 year old defender Gavin Hinds-Cadette.
Jordan Chiedozie has already played for the Club having made five appearances for Braintree on loan from Cambridge United during the 2015-2016 season, scoring twice. He started his career at AFC Bournemouth before moving on to Concord Rangers and then Cambridge United in 2014. Returned to Concord in 2016 and then spent a season at Margate before spending last season at Chelmsford.
Gavin Hinds-Cadette is an attacking right wing back. He started his career at Hoddesdon before moving on to Aylesbury United and then Berkhamsted.
Both are eligible for tomorrow's match with Havant & Waterlooville. Released by the Club are defenders Michael Clark and Jack James who we thank for their efforts and wish well in the future.

Borg brings in Sheehan
central defender added to Iron squad
Braintree Town manager George Borg has added another new face to his squad with the addition of 29-year old centre half Stevie Sheehan from East Thurrock United. Stevie has had two bouts with the Rookery Hill club, either side of two years at Canvey Island. The second spell with the Corringham based club was in the National League South last season.
Iron boss George Borg was delighted with his latest addition: "Stevie's the sort of player we need to improve our defence. He'll be a big presence in the side and also in our dressing room."

George Borg makes changes
striker in and out - more to follow
George is using the current two week break from action to review the squad. Dipo Akinyemi has been released to sign for, we understand, Welling United. George has already signed a replacement and we are currently awaiting confirmation before making a further announcement. Further signings are expected over the next seven-ten days. Watch this space!

Vanarama's Fanarama! - Looking at 2019 through the eyes of an Iron supporter
Braintree fan Vaughan Creer offers league sponsors Vanarama a unique take on the year, and his hopes for 2020
We're at the half-way stage - sum up the season so far for us in your own words.
We began the season worryingly, losing our first three games, however a fantastic turn of form from the squad lead to us reaching as high as 5th in the table. A few poor results later, and Glen Driver departed. Player-management didn't seem to work, and we are now under former Iron manager George Borg - we're hoping to bring success back to the club.
There's been changes at the helm of course which is never easy - how important is it that there's stability in the dug out now?
Stability in the dugout is vital, it means that the team can maintain a relationship with the managerial team, it will build the squads morale and boost their confidence.
What will 2020 bring for Braintree?
Hopefully a positive turn, and show our recent form to be a minor blip in our season so far, pushing for a play-off position is the ambition of the fans.
Who is your club's player of the season so far?
Michael Johnson. Constantly putting in top-class performances, keeping the opposition's score low, saving penalties, and winning us multiple games.
What your high point so far?
Best moment of the season has to be our last-second winner against Dorking Wanderers, a very tough opposition, and we came back from behind to win the match with a Femi Akinwande strike in the 94th minutes pushing us up towards the play-off positions.
From what you have seen, who is winning the National League South?
Wealdstone surely have it in the bag by now. Top of the league by seven points and showing no sign of stopping any time soon.
Away days: what one sticks out this season as your favourite and why?
Unfortunately I haven't been able to make it to any away games this year, but will 100 per cent be dragging my father out for Chelmsford away, and that will be a fantastic experience - if we win of course!
Why did you first start following the club and how did you first get involved?
I was, and still am, very involved with football. It's fantastic escapism from life, and I wanted a regular fix of football, with a team I can affiliate with and share a passion with. So my local side seemed the perfect answer. I entered the Vanarama Season Ticket giveaway for the 2018/19 season, and to my surprise, won a pair of season tickets for my father and I. We attended every home game that year, and enjoyed awaydays at Leyton Orient, Chelmsford, and Barnet.
What makes Braintree Town so unique and so special to you?
Braintree carries a local connection with it, along with the 121 years of history the club has progressed through, rising all the way to the top of Non-League, and until 2017, hasn't been relegated once. Unfortunately, two came in three years, however this doesn't stop fans turning up week in, week out. The fans, players, managerial team and backroom staff always seem to form a special bond with the supporters. I just don't think that I'd feel the same supporting any other team, and that will never change.
The National League's leasing partner Vanarama have this season launched the Club Reward scheme to help fans back their club's budget. Every time a fan takes out a brand new van lease with Vanarama or a brand new car lease with Motorama their club will earn £100 and you will receive £30 cashback!
For the latest van leasing deals head to Vanarama.
For the latest car leasing deals head to Motorama.

Borg & the boys restore a bit of Iron pride
Defensive resistance broken with seven minutes remaining
With thanks to Jon Weaver.
At the end of another difficult week, Iron made their first visit to Slough Town's impressive Arbour Park facility, provided for them by their local council. It was the first meeting between the two clubs since the 2005-06 season, and the first time that Iron had actually played a game in Slough itself since 1935.
George Borg was in charge of the team, which had three changes from the previous week. Jason Banton had left for Romford, Ade Cole was injured and Rhys Murrell-Williamson dropped to the bench. In came Charley Barker, Oxford United loanee Yoav Sade and Dan Matsuzaka was making a welcome return to the club. Academy graduate Frankie Stone was on the bench for the first time.
The home side are enjoying a very good season, and sat third in the table, despite being winless in their last three games. They started brightly and created three good opportunities within the first eight minutes. Michael Johnson got down low to push a Matt Lench drive away from a corner, and Warren Harris twice failed to find the target. The early onslaught continued throughout much of the game, but for everything that Slough threw at them, Iron were up to the task and repelled and broke up waves of attacks.
Matsuzaka was imperious at the back, with Michael Clark and Christian Frimpong also putting in battling performances that inspired everyone else to dig in and work hard for the cause.
In the second half Matsuzaka headed wide from Iron's only corner, and that was the closest that Jack Turner in the Slough goal came to having anything to do. In contrast Johnson continued to handle with confidence and as the minutes ticked by on the electronic scoreboard in the corner of the ground it looked more than possible that Iron might be able to escape with a point. Those thoughts came unstuck with just seven minutes remaining. The Iron keeper reacted to parry a dangerous shot from Francis Amerty, and Lench was on hand to tuck the loose ball away.
Up front both Alfie Cerulli and Dipo Akinyemi battled hard with the scraps that came their way, but there was to be no dramatic finale and as the referee's final whistle blew Iron's travelling supporters were appreciative of a performance that was full of battling and competitiveness, qualities that had been entirely absent seven days earlier.
After the game George was realistic: "After the week we've had I felt the lads responded magnificently. Slough are a good side, but we worked hard defensively and it was a shame to concede so late. But we've now got a fortnight to have a sort out. I've got some work to do and that starts right away. As ever, I'm looking forward to it."
Next up for Braintree is the visit of Havant & Waterlooville a week on Saturday, 21st December, with kick-off at 3pm.

George adds two
Big Dan is back and Frankie earns promotion
George Borg has added another couple of players to his first team squad.
Returning to the Club is Dan Matsuzaka who rejoins Iron following his departure from Sutton United. The 22-year old centre-half played twelve matches at the end of last season and was instrumental in securing four wins and a draw from our last six matches.
Stepping up from the Club's Academy is Frankie Stone, who will be nineteen years of age in March. Frankie is a previous Colchester United scholar and is at home on the left in either attack or in a midfield role.
Both players will be available for tomorrow's trip to Slough Town.

Match Preview - Saturday 7 December 2019
Vanarama South: Slough Town v Braintree Town
Slough Town are currently 3rd in the Vanarama National League South on 34 points. Last season they finished 11th on 63 points. Their 2018/19 Home record was P 21 W 9 D 7 L 5 F 26 A 19 Points 34. Their home record this season is: P 9 W 6 D 2 L 1 F 16 A 18 Points 20. Last 4 home League games: Won 2-1 v Chelmsford City, Won 1-0 v Welling United, Won 3-1 v Billericay Town, Won 3-1 v Hampton & Richmond Borough. Top scorers: Ben Harris - 9, Warren Harris - 7, Matt Lench - 6. Form last 6 games: WWWDLD.
Braintree Town are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League on 26 points. Away record: P 10 W 4 D 1 L 5 F 17 A 22 Points 13. Last 4 away League games: Lost 6-2 v Welling United, Won 0-3 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Lost 3-0 v Weymouth, Lost 5-1 v Tonbridge Angels. Top scorers: Femi Akinwande - 6 Tom Richardson, Jason Banton & Ade Cole - 5. Form last 6 games: DLWLLL.
This is the second season at this level for the Rebels. They had a slow start to the season, failing to win any of their five opening fixtures. Since then, they have only been beaten once in the League and share the best defensive record of 18 goals conceded, along with Weymouth, Havant & Waterlooville and Bath City.
It's backs to the wall time for our Iron side with George Borg stepping in to replace the departing Jake Hutchings. Once again Iron will be looking to overturn the form table as they travel to Berkshire.

Hutchings steps down
George Borg to take game at Slough
Jake Hutchings has stepped down from his role as player-manager at the Club with immediate effect. Jake advised the Club late last night (Thursday) of his decision, having organised training and arrangements for Saturday's match. First team coach George Borg has agreed to take Saturday's match at Slough.
Chairman Lee Harding said: "I understand and appreciate the reasons behind Jake's decision. With a young child just a few weeks old, taking on the extra responsibility of managing our Club does take significant time and Jake said that he had decided to take a break from football to concentrate on his family. We will always be grateful to him for stepping in to steady the ship and wish him well for the future. We ask that all supporters get behind George and the team at Slough tomorrow (Saturday) before we then have a two-week break to get ourselves prepared for the busy holiday schedule."
Jason Banton has left the Club to join Romford. We thank him for his efforts and wish him well for the future there. We hope to have news on signings later this afternoon.

Early goals set up Hampton win
Iron lack cohesion as squad reorganisation continues
Iron suffered their third consecutive defeat on Saturday and there were few complaints as they were beaten by a resurgent Hampton side who won comfortably.
Both player-manager Jake and coach George are currently reorganising their squad with new signings gradually being introduced for recent departees, but their cause was not helped by the failure of a late fitness test on Jake himself. This dictated that fit again Christian Frimpong played his first game for the Club in almost two years, deputising in the heart of defence and his performance was one of bright spots for home fans in the afternoon.
Iron went behind after two minutes when keeper Michael Johnson could not connect with a high ball which allowed Ruaridh Donaldson the opportunity to get in first to head the ball into the net.
With the visitors creating several clear-cut chances they doubled their lead on 17 minutes when early substitute Louie Soares found space at the far post to drill a low shot into the corner of the net past Johnson.
Two goals down at the interval Iron did try to rally themselves in the second half - the young substitutes Charley Barker and new signing Joav Sade both made telling contributions with far more energy and commitment than some other team mates.
But any hope of a comeback disappeared in the 59 minutes when Johnson was accused of pulling down visiting striker Danilo Orse-Dadomo in the 18-yard box = allowing Ryan Hill to convert the resultant penalty.
At the other end both Dipo Akinyemi and Alfie Cerulli went close with efforts but often the approach play was too laboured and lacked cohesion from the midfield.
The visitors did add a fourth goal in the last minute when defender Charlie Wassmer was allowed to run into the Iron area unmarked to head the ball into the net to give them victory and the three points they fully deserved.
Braintree Town: Johnson; James, Green, Frimpong, Clark; Banton (65 Sade), Kirkpatrick (82 Skubich), Cole (57 Barker), Murrell-Williams; Cerulli, Akinyemi. Unused sub: West. Attendance 390. Referee Jason Richardson.
Next up for the Iron is an away trip to Slough on Saturday, with kick off at 3pm.

Match Preview - Vanarama National League South
Saturday 30 November 2019 - Braintree Town v Hampton & Richmond Borough
Hampton & Richmond Borough are currently 11th in the Vanarama National League South on 22 points. Last season they finished 15th in the Vanarama National League South on 49 points. Their away record this season is: P 9 W 3 D 0 L 6 F 10 A 19 Points 9. Top Scorers - Danilo Orsi-Dadamo - 8, Tyrone Lewthwaite - 6, Sam Deadfield - 4. Last 4 away League results: Lost 2-1 v Weymouth, Won 0-2 v Hungerford Town, Won 0-1 v Welling United, Lost 3-1 v Slough Town. Form last 6 games: WLLDWW.
Braintree Town are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League South on 26 points. Their home record this season is P 8 W 4 D 1 L 3 F 14 A 14 Points 13. Last 4 home results: Lost 0-3 v Hungerford Town, Drew 1-1 v Maidstone United, Won 1-0 v Oxford City, Won 2-1 v Dulwich Hamlet. Form last 6 games: LDLWLL. Top Scorers - Femi Akinwande - 6, Tom Richardson, Jason Banton & Ade Cole - 5.
Borough appointed former Hendon and Dulwich Hamlet boss Gary McCann in May this year. The squad has had something of an overhaul pre-season with last season's top scorer Chris Dickson (17 goals) now at AFC Hornchurch. Connections: Sergio Manesio who was part of this seasons squad who played for Borough last season.
The last League meeting between the two clubs was on 24 March 2018 which ended in a 1-1 draw. It also saw two red cards for the Iron. Braintree started the game well until the dismissal of Billy Crook for a raised foot. The Iron continued to thwart the home side and took the lead on the counter in the 78th minute. Luke Allen striding forward from his own half, playing in Marcel Barrington to his left who drove home a low shot across the home keeper.
The lead lasted just 3 minutes, a low cross from Borough's left was fumbled by McDonald and Wynter drilled home from close range. In the final minute of normal time, Luke Allen received his second yellow of the game. (Highlights can be found here
The Iron retuned to the Beveree Stadium on 13 May 2018 for the play-off final. The home side took an early lead through Kretzschmar before Reece Grant nodded home following some great individual skill from Dan Thompson down the left. There were no further goals and extra time could not separate the two teams. Braintree held their nerve the better in the penalty shoot-out with Diaz Wright scoring the winning penalty to return the Iron the the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Charlie Wassmer and Christian Frimpong are the only two players from that day that are currently at their respective clubs, although Wassmer was at Billericay Town earlier in the season.With another cup exit last Saturday, Jake will be looking to get the League form back on course.

Talking to Alfie Cerulli
I only wanted to sign for Braintree
DOB: 2/2/2001 (18) Born: Harold Wood
Previous Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur (Yth), Colchester United (Yth), Witham Town
Position: Striker
Q. Do you have a job?
A. Yes, I'm a football coach
Q. Who do you support?
A. Manchester United
Q. What music are you listening to at the moment?
A. Chart music
Q. Favourite food?
A. Pasta
Q. Where did you go on holiday?
A. Cyprus
Q. Which social media do you use?
A. Twitter & Instagram
Q. What was it like to be offered a contract here?
A. Really, good, it shows my commitment to the club. Other clubs were interested but I only wanted to sign for Braintree
Q. Do you have any thoughts on what career you would follow if football didn't work out?
A. I'd go down the coaching route, I'm currently doing my level 2 which finishes next month.
Q. What differences have you noticed between playing in this League compared to last season?
A. It's just as competitive. In this League anyone can beat anyone, but in the Premier there is a bigger gap between the teams.
Q. Is there a different feel to this squad compared to last season?
A. Both groups are a great set of boys, made me welcome and encouraged me. Perhaps the calibre of some of the loan players we had last season was higher, they helped me to compete with this group.
Q. How do training sessions compare to those you has last season?
A. They are just as good and intense. Most of it is about keeping the ball and out of possession stuff like tracking runners or things from the weekend game.
Q. You said last season that Danny Searle was the best coach you'd worked with, you must've been sad to see him leave?
A. People move on, but he'd helped me massively. Glen came in and did well for me and helped me to improve.
Q. Tom and Femi have had regular starting places, how do you compliment them, what do you offer that is different?
A. Tom is and out and out target man, hold the ball up, when I play with him I play a bit deeper. Femi is powerful, a good runner with the ball and can be unpredictable. I'm more of a technical player.
Q. How was pre-season, how did you keep fit during the summer break?
A. I love it down the gym; I'm down there five times a week. Pre-season was hard, it was my first as a senior player. There was lots of running and it was very intense.
Q. What was it like for you pre-season with so many players trying out for the club?
A. There were lots of players from Bostick League level who are good enough for this League. It was a challenge for me, but I like a challenge.
Q. Are there any players you've struck up a bond with?
A. Isaac Skubich, I played Academy and Youth football with him.
Q. How do you pass your time on away trips?
A. I listen to music or watch Netflix.
Q. Which player in training gives you a hard time?
A. Josh Urquhart, he's a demanding player which is good for me as a young gives me a taste of what it's like playing senior football and improves me.
Q. Who is the biggest moaner?
A. Josh Urquhat
Q. Who is always last out of the changing room?
A. Ade Cole
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. If we keep the same team spirit - play-offs.

Yate battle back to win Trophy tie
Early goal undone by later strikes for visitors
New signing Dipo Akinyemi came in to the starting line up, partnering Tom Richardson, up front. The Iron No. 9 was starting his first game for six weeks after recovering from injury. Out went Femi Akinwande, who has left the club to join Billericay, and Rhys Murrell-Williamson. Charley Barker came in for his first start in a home game.
Braintree made the best possible start to this F.A. Trophy tie, when Banton pounced on a defence splitting ball and rounded a hesitant Forster to roll the ball into an unguarded net.
The visitors set about getting back into the game and Louis Britton should have scored when through on goal, but his shot struck the post. Their attacking intent kept Johnson busy in the home goal, although he was able to handle everything that was thrown at him. At the other end Forster saved from debutant Akinyemi's low drive, and Banton played in Richardson, who shot across the face of goal with no one on hand to tap the ball in.
Yate continued to play the more cohesive football in the second half and got the opportunity they needed thanks to a penalty in the 73rd minute. Michael Clark's tackle was judged by the referee to have taken out his man and Britton sent the spot kick out of Johnson's reach for the equaliser.
Iron became more desperate in their attempts to avoid a midweek replay in the West Country. Cerulli came on as substitute and fired high when well placed. Other attacks broke down through rushed final balls or misplaced passes and it was left to Britton to secure a fully deserved winning goal for the visitors with ten minutes left.
Sadly, for the second season running, Iron have exited both national F.A. competitions without winning a game, and now move on to league action when they entertain Hampton & Richmond next Saturday.
TEAM: Johnson, James, Green, Kirkpatrick, Clark, Hutchings, Barker, Cole (Murrell-Williamson), Richardson (Cerulli), Akinyemi, Banton. UNUSED SUB: Skubich.

Jake freshens up squad for Trophy game
Iron make striker switch and sign two more
Iron manager Jake Hutchings has signed Dipo Akinyemi from fellow National League South side Dulwich Hamlet. The 22-year old striker trained with the first team squad last night (Thursday) and Secretary Tom Woodley has confirmed that he will be available for selection in tomorrow's FA Trophy tie.
Dipo began his career at Potters Bar Town before moving on to Stevenage in 2014, making his first-team debut at the start of the 2015-16 season. After a period on loan, he signed for Dulwich on a permanent basis in March 2018 and helped the club to promotion to the National League South during the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Akinyemi scored 17 goals in 53 starts for the Champion Hill Club.
Jake has also added youth team goalkeeper Hayden West and now fit again defender Christian Frimpong to his squad.
Leaving the Club is Femi Akinwande, who has been transferred to Billericay Town, we wish him well for the future.

Match Preview - Buildbase F A Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Saturday 23 November 2019 - Braintree Town v Yate Town
Yate Town are currently 19th in the Southern League Premier Division on 14 points. Their away record this season is: P 8 W 2 D 1 L 5 F 10 A 13 Points 7. Top Scorers- Louis Britton (on loan from Bristol City) - 8, Nick Peare - 5, Olly Mehew & Luke Spokes - 3. Last 4 away League results: Drew 1-1 v Beaconsfield Town, Lost 2-0 v Wimborne Town, Lost 2-0 v Dorchester Town, Won 0-2 v Tiverton Town. F A Trophy Results: Drew (home) 3-3 v Tiverton Town, Drew (away) 3-3 v Tiverton Town (won 4-1 on penalties), Won (home) 6-3 v AFC Totton. Form last 6 games: DWDWLD
Braintree Town are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League South on 26 points. Their home record this season is P 8 W 4 D 1 L 3 F 14 A 14 Points 13. Last 4 home results: Lost 0-3 v Hungerford Town, Drew 1-1 v Maidstone United, Won 1-0 v Oxford City, Won 2-1 v Dulwich Hamlet. Form last 6 games: LLDLWL. Top Scorers - Femi Akinwande - 6, Tom Richardson & Ade Cole - 5.
Yate Town were promoted to the Southern League Premier last season after overcoming Cinderford Town 3-1 in the play-off final. Their best performance in this competition was in 2004/05 when they reached the third round. You have to go back to 2001/02 to find Braintree's best run in the Trophy, reaching the fifth round where they were beaten at home by Margate by two goals to one.
Yate Town have the better form of late whilst the Iron have become somewhat inconsistent. Jake and George will be hoping to take advantage of the Bluebells poor away form as they look for a quick response to Saturdays result.

Talking to Tyler Christian-Law
When we have our strongest team out, we're capable of beating most.
DOB: 29/12/92 (26) Born: Enfield
Previous clubs: Enfield (Yth), Margate, Wealdstone, Burnham, Ware, Hanwell Town, Erith & Belvedere (Loan), Romford, Wingate & Finchley (Loan)
Position: Midfield
Q. Do you have another job?
A. No
Q. Who do you support?
A. Arsenal
Q. Favourite player?
A. Dennis Bergkamp
Q. Likes - Music - R&B, Hip-hop
Film - Batman, the Dark Knight
Food - Thai
Holiday destination - Bali
Social Media - Instagram & Twitter
Q. Where did you have your best season?
A. As a young player I did well at Margate until they changed their manager. Signing permanent for Hanwell Town was probably my best season; I stayed fit and made most appearances.
Q. How did you come to be at Braintree?
A. Pre-season I was at Aldershot, but because of their budget they couldn't take me on. Danny Searle recommended the club to me and I played against Brentford. I then left and came back after the poor start to the season.
Q. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
A. Strengths, passing, tenacity, determined, winning mentality. Weakness - picking up knocks, keeping fit.
Q. What have you made of the football in this League?
A. A lot of teams are hyped up, I'd expected the bigger teams to be better than they are. When we have our strongest team out, we're capable of beating most of them.
Q. Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
A. Jamie Lawrence (ex Bradford City midfielder). I used to train with him. He gives you that winning mentality, don't expect it to be handed to you on a plate, you have to work hard for it.
Q. Best manager you've worked for?
A. Ray Duffy at Hanwell Town, his philosophy was like it is here, playing out from the back. We had players there who had played Connnie South and were capable of playing that way.
Q. Best/worst grounds you've played at?
A. Best - Priestfield, Gillingham. Worst - Barking
Q. Who is the most skilful player in our squad?
A. Jason Banton
Q. Who is the best tackler?
A. Michael Clark
Q. Who is the best finisher?
A. Femi Akinwande
Q. Who is the worst dressed?
A. Adam Mills
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Play-offs

Welling inflict heavy defeat
Mad half hour gives Braintree a mountain to climb
Iron travelled to Welling United's Park View Road with high hopes of building on their excellent win at Hemel Hempstead, in what was player-manager Jake Hutchings' first game in sole charge.
Welling were the first to show, and came close on two occasions before taking an 8th minute lead. Swaine headed a deep free kick back across goal where it was bravely headed in by Widdrington. Iron's Jack James was injured when he collided with the post. A stretcher was called for, but he was able to make his own way off the pitch, being replaced by Charley Barker.
The home side continued well on top and extended their lead after 20 minutes. Former Iron striker Korrey Henry fired home a knock back from Green.
Seven minutes later Welling were awarded a free kick in front of goal. The wall left a lot of the goal visible and Cook's tame shot looked to have been comfortably saved by Johnson, only for the ball to slip under his body and into the net. At this point it was all one way traffic and minutes later Henry added a fourth, with a glancing Widdrington header inches away from a fifth.
To their credit, Braintree then established a foothold in the game. Femi Akinwande struck the inside of the post from distance, and a free kick from Jason Banton glanced against the crossbar and over. Ade Cole pulled a goal back before the break and there was enough encouragement as the half ended to give belief that Iron could get back into the game.
Shortly after the restart the home side were awarded a disputed penalty. Henry stepped up to send Johnson the wrong way and effectively settle the contest.
Braintree went on to enjoy the majority of position from this point on, working hard to break down a home defence who were content to sit back and protect what they had. Banton, Cole and Akinwande all worked hard but the final ball was often missing or overlooked and shots from distance were blocked. Akinwande was slipped through neatly and scored from close range. At 5-2, another goal or two for Iron might have put a truer reflection on the scoreline but with two minutes of normal time remaining Cosgrave broke free for Welling, carrying the ball 70 yards with only a retreating Hutchings in attendance. The ball was fed through to Henry who finished in style to get his fourth of the game. Last season he scored 5 in 14 starts for Braintree.
In injury time a curling effort from the edge of the box from Charley Barker was tipped away by Wilks when it had looked destined for the top corner. With the final whistle blown, Iron were left to reflect on a hefty defeat strewn with costly errors, but one in which to their credit they kept plugging away and could have scored several more.
Both teams ended the game with 10 men. Welling's Mings was sent off for his actions during a prolonged bout of pushing and shoving. In the dying minutes Iron's Tyler Christian-Law received a straight red card for a robust challenge.
Braintree: Johnson, James (Barker), Green, Christian-Law, Clark, Hutchings, Kirkpatrick, Cole, Akinwande, Banton, Murrell-Williamson (Cerulli). UNUSED SUBS: Richardson, Skubich. Attendance: 538.

Hutchings & Borg to take Iron forward
Iron merge generations to plan for the future
Braintree Town have completed their review of managerial arrangements following the departures last week.
Taking on the role of First team player-manager is popular Club captain and centre half Jake Hutchings - who joined the Club in the summer and has impressed as a nineteen match ever-present this season.
Chairman Lee Harding was delighted to reach an agreement with Jake: "I've been very impressed with the way he's conducted himself since joining our Club in the summer. As both a commanding centre-half and our Club captain, his quiet and assured approach has played a key part of our success so far and I know he has both the support and respect of the lads in the dressing room. You only have to see how the lads responded on Saturday. I think we've definitely fallen on our feet!"
Jake will be assisted by George Borg who returns to the Club as First team coach.
Harding added: "George will be remembered by many Iron fans as the man who took the Club to the Isthmian League play-offs, the Isthmian championship and then Conference South play-offs in three successive seasons from 2005. An excellent and experienced coach, I think the pair of them will compliment each other really well."

Yate Town at home in FA Trophy
Southern Leaguers to visit a week on Saturday
Braintree Town have been drawn at home to Yate Town in the FA Trophy. Yate Town play in the BetVictor Southern Premier South and reached the Third Qualifying Round with an impressive 6-3 Second Qualifying round victory over AFC Totton on Saturday. This match will take place at the Cressing Road Stadium a week on Saturday, 23rd November, with kick-off at 3pm. If a replay is required, it is likely to be at Yate Town's Lodge Road on the following Tuesday evening, 26th November, subject to confirmation.

Best of the season from Iron
Braintree back into the play-off places - playing with panache and smiles on their faces
Under new management, Iron secured an excellent win with an outstanding performance at Hemel Hempstead Town's rain swept Vauxhall Road on Saturday from a performance which must rank as the best display of the season comfortably beating the promotion chasing home side.
They attacked from the first whistle playing some fine passing football that the hosts simply couldn't cope with and when the Iron defence was put under pressure at the start of the second half, stout defending from a well organised rearguard saw players putting their bodies on the line to deal with any danger.
Playing with flare, commitment and cohesion sadly lacking in some of their recent games, Iron kept up the pressure right to the final whistle with the players expressing themselves whilst working as a proper team and supporting one another.
After a turbulent week behind the scenes at the club, two of the senior players - Jake Hutchings and Josh Urquhart - volunteered to sort out the team and prepare them for what was expected to be a severe test.
But they did an excellent job with the players responding in the right fashion and going about their tasks with renewed vigour with Hutchings adding afterwards: "Everyone was up for it and we told them how we wanted to play and they did exactly that with a performance and win we thoroughly deserved."
Ironically the only team change saw the one player the previous management chose not to play - Jason Banton - making the starting line-up and his work-rate and commitment paved the way for the Iron win as he was involved in almost everything the Iron did in midfield and creating goal scoring chances up front.
With Femi Akinwande leading the attack and back to his best he, Banton and the ever-busy Ade Cole threatened the home goal early on and all went close to opening the scoring.
Iron pressure paid off in the 26th minute when a sweeping right wing move saw the ball swung over to the far where Banton forced the ball home off keeper Sam Beasant and the post to give them the lead.
They could have added two or three more goals before the break but with such a slender lead the home side came out stronger and for a few minutes pressurised the Iron defence but on 56 minutes it was Banton who help settle the nerves when getting first to a 50/50 ball in the centre circle and then slipping the ball through to the on-rushing Cole who ran on with glee to slide the ball into the net under the body of Beasant.
That second goal was needed to give Iron breathing space but they still kept up their constant attacking pressure on the home defence. Ten minutes later it paid dividends again when again another sweeping move upfield saw the ball through to Jack James down the right and he calmly kept his composure before firing in a low shot into the far bottom corner of the net for his first goal for the club.
Keeping a clean sheet and scoring three excellent goals away from home was no more than the Iron deserved on the day and just rewards for all the players' efforts after such an upheaval in the couple of days leading up to the game.
Chairman Lee Harding was equally pleased: "Credit to both Jake and Josh for helping the Club and their efforts paid off with our best performance of the season. Playing without pressure and with a little panache, it was great to see the lads enjoying their football again with smiles on their faces."
Braintree Town: Johnson; James, Green, Clark, Hutchings; Urquhart, Cole, Kirkpatrick (86 Barker), Christian-Law; Akinwande (90 Murrell-Williamson), Banton (68 Cerulli). Unused sub: Richardson. Referee: Scott Tallis. Attendance: 481.
Next up for Iron is a trip to Welling United's Park View Road ground for another League match next Saturday. This is followed seven days later with our FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round tie - with the draw for this expected at lunchtime tomorrow (Monday). News on that as soon as we have it.

Match Preview - Saturday 9 November 2019
Hemel Hempstead Town v Braintree Town
Hemel Hempstead Town are currently 4th in the MANarama National League South on 29 points. Last season they finished 16th on 48 points. Their overall record last season was P 42 W 12 D 12 L 18 F 52 A 67 Points 48. Their 2018/19 Home record was P 21 W 6 D 7 L 8 F 27 A 36 Points 25. Their home record this season is: P 7 W 5 D 1 L 1 F 13 A 6 Points 16. Last 4 home League games: Drew 1-1 v Eastbourne Borough, Won 2-1 v Bath City, Won 2-0 v Chelmsford City, Won 3-0 v Billericay Town. Top scorers: Liam Nash - 8, Sam Ashford & Ricardo German (on loan from Crawley Town) - 4. Form last 6 games: WWWWDL.
Braintree Town are currently 9th in the MANarama National League on 23 points. Away record: P8 W 3 D 1 L 4 F 12 A 16 Points 10. Last 4 away League games: Lost 3-0 v Weymouth, Lost 5-1 v Tonbridge Angels, Won 1-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Drew 2-2 v Concord Rangers. Top scorers: Femi Akinwande & Tom Richardson - 5, Adam Mills - 4. Form last 6 games: WWLLDL
The two teams last met in the League on 9 September 2017 in an entertaining high scoring encounter. The Iron had made a bright start testing the home keeper in a couple of occasions, but it was the home side that hit the front first. McDonald had already repelled one goal bound effort from the left with his feet, but Town reworked the ball out wide on the right, where a cross was met by an onrushing, unmarked Charlie Sheringham to head home. The lead only lasted 5 minutes, Scott Shulton sending in a low cross from the left where former Iron player Taylor Miles stuck out a foot and directed the ball into the net. A few minutes before half time, Braintree took a lead into the break, a cross from the right was chested down by Roberts and Shulton swept home a low shot into the far corner of the goal.
Having played well in the first 45 minutes, the second half, just short of the hour mark saw a mad 7 minutes where the home team established a two goal lead. A long goal kick was allowed to bounce over the Braintree backline and with McDonald way off his line; Liburd nipped in, rounded the keeper and stroked the ball into an unguarded net. Kaloczi then headed home a free kick before Parkes fired home from the edge of the box. With 15 minutes left, Roberts reduced the deficit, played in down the left of the penalty area and shooting home across goal. Iron of course would gain some revenge when Hemel hosted the first play-off game on 2 May 2018. The game finished nil-nil and neither team could break the deadlock in extra time, before the Iron ran out 3-2 winners on penalties.
Braintree go into this latest encounter on a poor run of form which has seen them slip out of the play-off places. Meanwhile former Concord Rangers boss, Sammy Moore who took over in May this year, has already improved the Tudors aspirations. This looks like a game that could see another high scoring encounter with the Iron needing to tighten up at the back.

Iron players positive for Saturday
Stability key to our future
Chairman Lee Harding spent time with the first team squad to discuss the departure of Glen Driver on Thursday evening and received a positive response, with both captain Jake Hutchings and Josh Urquhart offering to organise both training and arrangements for Saturday's game at Hemel.
Harding was quite philosophical about Driver's departure: "I'm confident that we have been consistent in our dealings from day one with Glen. The budget was clearly explained and we have only made additions to it since the start of the season. The only financial restrictions that the Club put in place are an expectation to operate within it!
I always expected that, with a new squad, there would be ups and down, but I'm not sure finances were anything to do with Glen's decision to step down. It does seem that some comments at games and on social media have had an impact, but sometimes you have to develop a thick skin to what is said by a very small minority.
There was never any expectation that the budget would only be maintained by progress in the FA Cup. Glen knew that any prize money from the cup wins would be added to his budget as a windfall - alas it wasn't meant to be.
The team have done well to date and we sit in a comfortable position in the table. I also believe that Tony Kinsella has done really well for us and deserves a lot of the credit for the quality of football we have played.
Yes, recent results have been disappointing but, for the Club, this is a long-term project to build on solid, affordable foundations. We have seen from other clubs the consequences of spending more than you can afford.
So we wish both Glen and Tony the very best and now look forward to supporting the first team in the future."

The MANarama Big Interview:
- A new home is where Braintree's heart is

League sponsors MANarama ask how important a new stadium could be to the club

Sam Elliott at the Manarama League caught up with Braintree Chairman Lee Harding earier this week to see if a landmark really could be on the horizon and if he's still dreaming of things falling into place.
"In 2023 we celebrate 100 years at Cressing Road," he explained to Sam.
"I know things rarely play out that way in life but wouldn't it be fantastic if that's the final year at the old place before we finally get the key to the new stadium?
"The ground is 97 years old. The old girl has served us superbly well. We love the place, it's home, but it has its limitations and that's why we've been looking at the future for quite a while now."

Quite a while is a bit of an understatement. Braintree's long-serving figurehead has been trying for the best part of two decades to push the club forward. A few false starts hasn't put Harding off, mind you. The Iron are continuing to liaise with the local council over potential sites in the town. So will patience eventually pay off?
"Oh I hope so!" he says. "I have been trying since 2003 - around 17 years now. We're continuing to work with the local authorities and we'll keep pushing for it because we know how important a new stadium is to the club and could be to the town.
"Overnight, the Club's income would have the potential to double maybe even treble - that is exactly how important a new home is to us and why we keep on trying.
"I want to finish the project, and I am keen to deliver this before I die. I would like to think I have 15-20 years left in me yet! I want to see the club walking out there and so do so many others.
"If we can get this right, then it would give the club a massive lift in so many areas. We would love to celebrate the centenary at Cressing Road with the news that something very big is around the corner."

But what could the thumbs up from the local council actually spark?
"The club for some time has been operating on a beg, borrow and steal policy - not so much of the steal, but you take the point," he adds.
"It's make or break for the Club - it would allow us to have a real future. We've been relegated twice from the National League top flight in two of the last three seasons - with a promotion in between! - because we just can't match some of the former League clubs pound-for-pound. But when we do get it right we can even start thinking about the Football League as we did just three years ago. Wouldn't that be fabulous for Braintree?
"By doubling or potentially even trebling our income, we'd give ourselves a chance to push on and with new facilities we can attract more people to come out and support the club on a regular basis.
"We won't stop trying. It's too important and we have worked too hard to give up on the dream."

Getting involved with the MANarama campaign as we try to combat Prostate Cancer could not be more straight forward.
Give... donate to Prostate Cancer via text
Go... then bring others into play by sharing on social media with #GiveAndGo.
Donate by texting "MAN £10", "MAN £5" or "MAN £3" (depending on the amount you want to donate) to 70004 & help stop prostate cancer from being a killer. Texts costs £10, £5 or £3 plus network charge. Prostate Cancer UK receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Customer care 0800 082 1616. Charity No 100554

To say thank you to the incredible fans and clubs of The National League for supporting our MANarama campaign in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, we're giving a FREE minibus away to one club.
When your club hits £500 they go into the hat! Find your club's page here:

Massive thank you to the clubs that have raised the most so far.

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Iron disappoint against basement side
Driver and Harding agree - time for some changes
Iron put in a disappointing performance against the league's basement side on Saturday at Cressing Road but there can be no complaints from the home side because they were out fought and lacked any consistency to make any impact on the game.
The visitors playing a high pressing game were quicker to the ball and looked hungrier than the home players all afternoon while the Iron were lacklustre with poor passing and little cohesion and industriousness against a far more all round workmanlike side.
Ironically it was Iron who had the best chance to score first when Femi Akinwande broke through on 12 minutes only to see his shot brilliantly parried by keeper Adam Siviter with Adam Mills having his follow up shot cleared off the line by defender Taf Olomowewe.
But in all honesty that's about as good it was for the Iron because once the visitors took control of the game dominating possession and creating so many clear cut chances, it was obvious there was only going to be one winning side.
The visitors took the lead with a little luck though on 19 minutes when a Cameron McGlip shot was wickedly deflected by an Iron defender into the net leaving Johnson stranded.
Once in front the visitors took charge and the killer goal came six minutes into the second period when the Iron defence was caught napping and a low, left wing cross was whipped in and the unmarked Liam Ferdinand drilled the ball into the net.
Despite using all three substitutes, Iron failed to rally with any effect and it was the visitors who wasted three chances to increase their goal tally.
Eleven minutes from time they eventually did add a third and it was impressive McGlip who slipped around two defenders on the edge of the area to drive the ball past the stranded Johnson.
It was no more than the visitors deserved and their win lifts them off the bottom of the league while the Iron, without a win in four league games, remain ninth.
After the game Manager Glen Driver spoke with Chairman Lee Harding and both agreed that it was time to make one or two changes to the squad to freshen things up a little.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Urquhart, Green, Clark, Hutchings; Kirkpatrick, Christian-Law, Cole (57 Skubich), James (61 Barker); Akinwande, Mills (61 Cerulli). Unused subs: Clements, Murrell-Williamson. Attendance: 412. Referee: Jacob Miles.
Next up for Iron is a trip to Hemel Hempstead this coming Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Match Preview - MANarama National League South
Saturday 2 November 2019 - Braintree Town v Hungerford Town
Last season, Hungerford Town finished 19th in the Vanarama National League South. They currently sit in 22nd place on 11 points. Their overall record last season was: P 42 W 11 D 9 L 22 F 45 A 72 Points 42. Their away record last season was P 21 W 5 D 3 L 13 F 21 A 41 Points 18. Their away record this season is: P 8 W 2 D 0 L 6 F 9 A 18 Points 6. Top Scorers- James Rusby & James Constable 3, Conor Lynch & Joe Tomlinson - 2. Last 4 away League results: Won 0-2 v Concord Rangers, Lost 1-0 v Dorking Wanderers, Won 2-1 v Dulwich Hamlet, Lost 3 -1 v Havant & Waterlooville. Form last 6 games: WLLLWL
Braintree Town are currently 9th on 23 points. Last 4 home results: Drew 1-1 v Maidstone United, Won 1-0 v Oxford City, Won 2-1 v Dulwich Hamlet, Won 3-2 v Dorking Wanderers. Form last 6 games: WLWLLD. Top Scorers - Femi Akinwande & Tom Richardson - 5, Adam Mills - 4. Last meeting: 23 September 2017 - Braintree Town 5 Hungerford Town 0.
The Iron's best home win of the season saw an outstanding performance. The first goal came in the 31st minute with Roman Michael-Percil finding space on the edge of the box, jinked to his right and powered a rising shot into the top corner of the net. Four minutes later and the diminutive winger was at it again, taking the ball off Phil Roberts he ran past three defenders as he advanced across the penalty area and fired in a low shot back across goal which Town stopper Lewis Ward should've done better with, but the ball squirmed through his grasp. Three minutes before the break, Phil Roberts was played in just inside the box and lifted the ball over the advancing Ward. With just over 20 minutes to play, Roberts scored his second; cutting in from the right, body swerved his marker and hit a low shot inside the post. With four minutes left Ben Wyatt wrapped up the scoring following up a cross/shot at the far post. (You can find the goals on Youtube, courtesy of Maurice Pilgrim).
Braintree's midweek draw with Maidstone United was their first home draw of the season and came about through a last gasp equaliser in the final seconds of time added on; Josh Urquhart heading home Jack James corner at the far post. It's not the first time Glen's boys have found something extra to earn something from a tough game. Although Hungerford currently sit bottom of the table, Glen will want to ensure that the boys apply themselves thoroughly to the task in hand.

Talking to Adam Mills
Confident we can get back to where we were
DOB: 8/5/97 (22) Born: Ipswich
Career History: Needham Market, Maldon & Tiptree, AFC Sudbury, Needham Market
Position: Midfield/Winger
Q. Do you have a job?
A. Yes, I work in construction
Q. Who do you support?
A. Chelsea
Q. Favourite Player?
A. Didier Drogba
Likes: - music - R&B
- Film - Happy Gilmore
- Food - Chinese
Social Media - Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
Q. Have you always been a midfielder/winger?
A. No, when I was young I played left back. I started playing my current role in U18's football.
Q. What are your playing strengths?
A. Heading, speed, shooting
Q. You had a trial pre-season at Dagenham, how did that go, did you have any other trials, were you ready to play at that level?
A. I got about 60 minutes against Concord. I think I'm definitely ready to play at that level. No other trials.
Q. How did you end up at Braintree?
A. Glen got in touch with me. I'd played against his teams and know him well.
Q. How have you settled in, what differences have you noticed playing at this level?
A. I've settled in really well. There are more experienced players at this level and more time on the ball. I think the fitness levels are the same.
Q. Who has had the biggest influence on your career to date?
A. Kevin Horlock and Steve Foley. They told me to go out and express myself, just to be myself and made me the player I am today.
Q. You had to wait awhile for your debut, how's it been for you since then?
A. It's gone well, scoring on my debut and then two more in the following match. I shouldn't have got sent off at Dartford. I was fouled and as I tried to get up the guy bit my elbow, it was wrong to react.
Q. There's been a fair movement of players in and out of the club, does this affect the players?
A. It's a case of more competition being healthy. Players moving out give more confidence to those playing in their position.
Q. Form has been indifferent lately; can you put your finger on why?
A. I don't know what it is. Teams go through bad patches. We're still confident we can get back to where we were by hard work and playing as a team.
Q. Which player at the club makes you laugh and why?
A. Ade Cole, he talks ****, he's a funny guy.
Q. Who is in charge of music in the dressing room?
A. Bants - he chooses good stuff
Q. Which player in training likes to showboat?
A. Femi
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Play-offs

Iron grab a point at the death
as Braintree move back level on points with the play-off places
Iron returned to the Cressing Road Stadium for their first home league game in a month. Maidstone United provided the opposition, coached by former Iron boss Hakan Hayrettin, with former players George Elokobi, Iffy Allen and Justin Amaluzor all in the starting line up.
The Stones started promisingly and Michael Johnson had to be alert to get down low and save from Dan Wishart. The Iron custodian also had to be alert after Cameron Green gave the ball away in the Maidstone half and the visitors broke forward with purpose.
Iron had looked dangerous at times and threatened Maidstone keeper Jake Cole, who was at his best to tip a low shot from Femi Akinwande onto the crossbar, five minutes before the break. Play then switched to the other end and Allen struck the first blow for the visitors to give them the half time lead.
Iron played some scintillating football in the second half, although the final pass was often missing and efforts from Christian-Law and Kirkpatrick failed to trouble Cole's hands.
After 71 minutes Maidstone's Ross Marshall received his second caution of the game for a clumsy foul on Green and was dismissed. As a result, the visitors dropped deeper and tried to hang on to their single goal victory. On 84 minutes a speculative 20 yard drive from Ade Cole struck the crossbar. Further chances went begging and as the match entered the last of three minutes of added time it was looking like it wasn't going to be Iron's night.
But Braintree were awarded a corner in the final moments, which Jack James rushed to take. Michael Johnson's presence in the visitor's box caused panic. In the mayhem he was felled at the near post. The ball swept past the crowded goalmouth to the unmarked Josh Urquhart who joyfully headed a well deserved equaliser with the last touch of the game!
The point took Iron level on points with the play-off places, with the next match this coming Saturday, 2nd November, at home to Hungerford Town.
Team: Johnson, Urquhart, Green, Kirkpatrick, Clark, Hutchings, Christian-Law (Cerulli), Cole, James, Akinwande, Mills, (Murrell-Williamson). Unsued subs: Barker, Skubich, Clements. Attendance 458.

Goals win games at Weymouth
Iron rue missed opportunities in Dorset
Iron came away from a wet and windy Wessex stadium without a point and a final 3-0 scoreline which somewhat flattered to the home side.
They had plenty of chances to take the initiative notably in the first half when desperate Weymouth defending denied Iron with Adam Mills striking a post and both Bryon Lawrence and Femi Akinwande saw efforts scrambled away by the home defence.
The home side took the lead on 26 minutes when Iron keeper Michael Johnson could not stop a 25-yard Jake McCarthy free kick that has taken a slight deflection, before creeping over the goal line.
Iron were certainly well worth being on equal terms at the interval but again plucky defending denied them a goal and saw the home side go in with a one goal lead.
The second half saw Iron not as strong as in the first and apart from a fine effort by Lawrence which was kicked clear at the last moment.
The home side wrapped up the game just past the hour when McCarthy added a second and the five minutes from time Ben Thomson again deceived Johnson with a low shot because of the wet condition.
Despite late substitutions, Iron struggled the more the game went on but again to their credit they kept trying to play their football but they lack penetration in the final third.
Braintree Town: Johnson; James, Green, Clark, Hutchings; Urquahart, Christian-Law (Richardson), Lawrence, Morrell-Williamson (Cerulli), Akkinwande; Mills (Kirkpatrick). unused subs Barker, Skubich.
Attendance 782.
Next up for the Iron is the visit of Maidstone United this coming Tuesday evening, with kick off at 7.45pm. The clubhouse bar open will be open from 5.45pm with happy hour prices in place until 6.45pm!

Match Preview - Saturday 26 October 2019
Weymouth v Braintree Town
Weymouth are currently 6th in the MANarama National League South on 23 points. Last season they finished as Champions of the Evo-Stick South Premier Division South. They played Kettering in a play-off, drawing one all and winning on penalties. Their overall record last season was P 42 W 25 D 11 L 6 F 96 A 51 Points 86. Their 2018/19 Home record was P 21 W 13 D 6 L 2 F 49 A 22 Points 45. Their home record this season is: P 6 W 4 D 1 L 1 F 15 A 7 Points 13. Last 4 home League games: Won 3-0 v Concord Rangers, Won 1-0 v Welling United, Lost 3-4 v Wealdstone, Won 3-1 v Darford. Top scorers: Brett Williams - 6, Ben Thomson & Yemi Odubade - 5. Form last 6 games: WWWWDL
Braintree Town are currently 7th in the MANarama National League on 22 points. Away record: P7 W 3 D 1 L 3 F 12 A 13 Points 10. Last 4 away League games: Lost 5-1 v Tonbridge Angels, Won 1-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Drew 2-2 v Concord Rangers, Won 1-2 v Chippenham Town. Top scorers: Femi Akinwande & Tom Richardson - 5, Adam Mills - 4. Form last 6 games: DWWLWL.
Connections: Weymouth's top scorer last season was Brandon Goodship with 37 goals. Brandon had a loan spell with the Iron from AFC Bournemouth in 2016, where he made five appearances without scoring. His form last season earned him a move to Southend United.
The two teams last met in the League on 23 February 2010 with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. There have been two subsequent F A Cup ties since then. On 26 October 2013 the Iron won 2-1. They met again the season after at the same stage; where they played out a scoreless draw. In the replay, the Iron needed extra time to finally overcome their opponents by 5 goals to 3. The Iron scorers that evening were Jordan Cox, Simeon Akinola (2) and Dan Walker (2).
The Terras have made a good start to their campaign at this level and have only lost twice. Their only home defeat was at the hands of League leaders Wealdstone in a 4-3 thriller. They have also netted at least three times in four of their six home League fixtures to date.
Although the Iron can match their overall goals for tally, it's at the other end where the team were found wanting the last time out. Glen will be hoping that the performance that saw Havant's first defeat of the season will be repeated this time out.

Talking to Josh MacLeod-Urquhart
moaning about anything and everything!
DOB: 17/8/92 (27) Born: Edgeware
Position: Defender
Career History: West Ham United (Youth), Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Northampton Town, St Johnstone, Harlow Town, Olympic Kingsway (Australia), Potters Bar Town, Wealdstone, Billericay Town, Biggleswade Town, Hampton & Richmond Borough, East Thurrock United, St Albans City, Billericay Town
Q. What is your job?
A. Quantity Surveyor
Q. Who do you support?
A. Tottenham Hotspur
Q. Who is your current favourite player?
A. Steven Gerrard
Q. Likes - Music
- TV - Power
- Food - Thai, curry
- Holiday - Ibiza (getting married there next year)
Social Media - Twitter
Q. Starting at West Ham tell me about your career.
A. I was 9 when I joined playing centre midfield. I was there for 3 year before having trials at Spurs and Chelsea. I then played U12-U18 at Northampton Town where I was converted to a centre back before moving to St Johnstone where they offered me a pro contract at U23.
Q. How did you end up in Australia?
A. After Harlow, I went travelling. I was in Australia for 3 months, didn't like it, spent all my money and came home.
Q. How would you describe your time at Billericay?
A. Fantastic, good players, never a dull moment.
Q. How did you end up at Braintree?
A. Through Sean Bonnet-Johnson, Glen rang me.
Q. So far you've played in a few different positions, where do your strengths lie, what is your preferred position?
A. Centre half. Don't head it, play it out from the back
Q. After a difficult start, the team has put quite a good run of results together followed by more mixed displays, what do you attribute that to?
A. It was always going to take time to gel, 4 or 5 games. After we beat Havant we got complacent, thought we could turn up at Enfield and beat them, the same at Tonbridge.
Q. How do you think we can improve, as one of the experienced players, do you have any input to bringing players on?
A. Those defeats have been an eye opener, first and foremost we have to battle, work hard. I try and encourage the younger players and I moan about anything and everything.
Q. Who has had the biggest influence on your career to date?
A. My old man, he played for Brentford. He drove me here, there and everywhere.
Q, Where are the best/worst grounds you've played at?
A. Best, Carrow Road, Norwich and the Madejski Stadium, Reading in my time at Northampton. Worst - Concord Rangers
Q. Which player is the hardest to mark in training?
A. Michael Clark - he's got everything
Q. Which player is the best/worst dressed?
A. The worst is MJ, he wears slippers on a night out and his primary school shirt
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Play-offs.

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Iron fans can give the MANarama campaign a kick - in less than half a minute!
We are nearing the half-time whistle in this year's MANarama campaign - so if you have yet to contribute, here's some reasons why we desperately hope you will.
We're three weeks in so we think it's the perfect time to outline just how crucial your donation could be - and how easy it is for you to throw some money the way of this very special cause.
It won't have escaped your attention that Vanarama, Motorama and The National League have once again teamed up together with the aim of raising another mountain of money for Prostate Cancer UK.
The response has so far has been brilliant - but still we're being asked just how people can get involved.
Let us be clear on this one ... it could not be any easier!
Forget online form-filling and time-consuming debit card details, it's actually as simple as firing off a quick text message.
Prostate cancer kills over 11,000 men every year - that's nearly one every 45 minutes. Your moment will be used to fund the research that will bring radical advances in diagnosis, prevention and support.
That, folks, is why #GiveAndGo is so important.
BT Sport pundit and former Barrow, Norwich City and Wigan striker Grant Holt told us: "It's always important to get involved and give Prostate Cancer UK the exposure they deserve. We try and do everything we can and the MANarama campaign is huge in helping to create awareness.
"The more people get involved, the more people support it is great but we've got to keep doing it and keep pushing it."


Getting involved with the MANarama campaign as we try to combat Prostate Cancer could not be more straight forward.
Give... donate to Prostate Cancer via text
Go... then bring others into play by sharing on social media with #GiveAndGo.
Donate by texting "MAN £10", "MAN £5" or "MAN £3" (depending on the amount you want to donate) to 70004 & help stop prostate cancer from being a killer. Texts costs £10, £5 or £3 plus network charge. Prostate Cancer UK receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Customer care 0800 082 1616. Charity No 100554


To say thank you to the incredible fans and clubs of The National League for supporting our MANarama campaign in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, we're giving a FREE minibus away to one club.
When your club hits £500 they go into the hat! Find your club's page here:
Massive thank you to the clubs that have raised the most so far.
For the latest van leasing deals head to Vanarama.
For the latest car leasing deals head to Motorama.

Iron second best in Kent
Architects of their own downfall
Three goals conceded within the space of seven minutes midway through the first half effectively settled the outcome of this rain-soaked encounter at Tonbridge Angels's Longmead Stadium on Saturday.
But for some fine second half saves by Iron keeper Michael Johnson, the home side's winning margin could have been greater.
Iron gave debuts to former Luton right-back Jack James and midfielder Bryon Lawrence from Leiston plus a first League start for Rhys Morrell-Williamson in midfield but, from the kick off, Iron were on the back foot against a home side currently struggling in the relegation zone.
The Angels were obviously up for the game, while Iron showed little cohesion, and the Kent side opened the scoring on 21 minutes when Tom Derry, unmarked on the edge of the Iron penalty box, was allowed to drive the ball home from close range.
On 26 minutes Ade Coke was caught out covering at right back and conceded a cheap penalty which Sean Theobald converted and two minutes later skipper Jake Hutchings allowed the through ball to slip under his foot as he attempted to clear and Tom Hession Harris skipped around him before sliding the ball past Johnson.
It was a fatal few minutes from which Iron never recovered as the home carried on dominating the game with few of the Iron players showing the character to try and get themselves back in the game.
The second half was similar to the first with the home looking threatening every time they attacked the Iron goal where Johnson was on hand to pull off a handful of saves.
The home side scored a fourth goal on 61 minutes from Hession Harris who was allowed too much time and space to ram the ball into the Iron net.
On 74 minutes substitute Adam Mills did pull a goal back for the Iron, leaving the home side to wrap up their win on 80 minutes when poor marking allowed Rian Bray to finally force one of his efforts past Johnson.
After their recent impressive run of form, particularly winning away at places like promotion-chasing Havant and Waterlooville, this was an out of character display by Iron with manager Glen Driver obviously still having work to do with his squad.
Braintree Town: Johnson; James, Hutchings, Urquhart, Green; Morrell-Williamson (58 Mills), Cole, Lawrence, Akinwande; Richardson (68 Barker), Cerulli (58 Christian-Law). Unused subs: Kirkpatrick, Skubich. Attendance 612.

Match Preview - Saturday 12 October 2019
Tonbridge Angels v Braintree Town
Tonbridge Angels are currently 21st in the MANarama National League South on 8 points. Last season; they finished 4th in the Isthmian League Premier Division. They gained promotion after beating Haringey Borough 2-1 in the semi-final and beating Merstham 2-0 in the final. Their overall record last season was P 42 W 21 D 7 L 14 F 59 A 46 Points 70. Their 2018/18 Home record was P 21 W 10 D 3 L 8 F 27 A 25 Points 33. Their home record this season is: P 6 W 2 D 1 L 3 F 7 A 10 Points 7. Last 4 home League games: Lost 0-2 v Hemel Hempstead Town, Won 3-2 v Dartford, Drew 1-1 v Weymouth, Lost 1-3 v Havant & Waterlooville. Top scorers: Joe Turner - 3, Tommie Hession-Harris, D'Sean Theobalds, Tom Derry & Ade Yussuf (on loan from and gone back to Dulwich Hamlet) - 2. Form last 6 games: DWLLLL.
Braintree Town are currently 5th in the Vanarama National League on 22 points. Away record: P 6 W 3 D 1 L 2 F 11 A 8 Points 10. Last 4 away League games: Won 1-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Drew 2-2 v Concord Rangers, Won 1-2 v Chippenham Town, Lost 2-1 v Dartford. Top scorers: Femi Akinwande & Tom Richardson - 5, Jason Banton, Ade Cole & Adam Mills - 3. Form last 6 games: WDWWLW
The clubs last met at Darenth Avenue on 31 December 2004 with the home side recording a 2-1 victory. This is the Iron's first League game of October having a blank Saturday last weekend, whilst our hosts played a friendly against Romford which they won 2-1. The only competitive game for the Iron was an Essex County Cup game on Tuesday evening which saw a mix of first teamers and new faces overcome Tilbury by the same scoreline.
Michael Clark may be available and whilst Glen has added to the squad, so expect changes to be made ahead of our trip to Kent. Be sure to get there before 2 o'clock and take advantage of reduced price ground admissions for non-League Day!

Taking to - Jason Banton
Plotting to get back into the League
DOB: 15/12/92 (26) Born: Tottenham
Position: Forward
Career History: Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, Leicester City (loan), Burton Albion (Loan), Crystal Palace, Plymouth Argyle (Loan) Milton Keynes Dons (Loan), Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers, Hartlepool United (Loan) Notts County, Crawley Town, Partick Thistle (Loan), Woking, Torquay United, St Albans City (Loan) Dulwich Hamlet (Loan), Truro City (Loan)
Q. Do you have another job?
A. No
Q. Who do you support?
A. Arsenal
Q. Who is your current favourite player?
A. Kylian Mbappe
Likes: Music - Bashment
- TV/Film - Eastenders, The Apprentice, The Power
- Food - Jerk Chicken
- Social Media - Twitter, Instagram
Q. You started out at Arsenal; tell me about those early years and subsequent moves to other Premier League clubs.
A. I was about 9 when I joined Arsenal playing up front. Paul Ince took me to Blackburn Rovers where I continued to play youth and reserve football. I continued at that level at Liverpool before Jamie Fullerton took me to Palace. I made my first team debut for them in the F A Cup at home, we drew and lost the replay in extra time.
Q. At 21 you left Crystal Palace for Plymouth Argyle, who released you?
A. Palace had been promoted to the Premier League under Ian Holloway. A bad start saw him replaced by Tony Pulis and he released all the youngsters.
Q. Two years ago you moved into non-league football, how do you get back to playing in the Football League?
A. I'll have to wait for Glen and Tony to get jobs in the League!
Q. You must have played with some good players earlier in your career, who did you play alongside?
A. At Arsenal I played with Chuks Aneke, at Liverpool with Suso, and alongside Glen Murray at Palace.
Q. It's fair to say you've travelled the length and breadth of the country including a spell in Scotland. How difficult was it to settle, where did you enjoy being the most and why?
A. My best times were at Plymouth. We were in League Two and had a very good team and made the play-offs. Moving around was not too bad as I knew players at those clubs who helped me to settle in.
Q. What is the best goal you've scored?
A. For M K Dons against Preston
(Couldn't find that one but found this strike for Argyle -
Q. Which has been the best away ground you've played at?
A. Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Q. Which manager/coach has had the biggest influence on you?
A. John Sheridan at Plymouth, he was always positive.
Rodolfo Borell at Liverpool (now at Man City), he was a great technical coach having come from Barcelona.
Q. How did you come to sign for Braintree?
A. Me and Glen spoke off season. I came and watched the West Ham game and liked the way they play.
Q. Have you played with or against many of the lads before?
A. No
Q. Which player in training gives you the hardest time?
A. Ade Cole
Q. Which player would be best on karaoke?
A. Josh Urquhart
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Win the League!

New date for Maidstone game
Kent club to visit at end of the month
Braintree Town's Manarama National League match at home to Maidstone United, scheduled for a week on Saturday, 19th October has been postponed as the Kent side are involved in the FA Cup on that day. A new date has now been agreed between the two clubs and the match will take place ten days later on Tuesday, 29th October, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Iron into County Cup last 16
Hard fought victory over Tilbury at Cressing Road
Braintree Town made it through to the last sixteen of this season's BBC Essex Senior Cup after Tuesday evening's odd goal in three victory over visitors Tilbury. Iron took a seventeenth minute lead through striker Alfie Cerulli - who saw his low shot evade the grasp of Tilbury keeper Harry Aldridge. But Tilbury matched their Manarama South opponents for lengthy periods and were good value for their equaliser. Just before the interval, Marlon Agyakwa dispatched a cracking free-kick in off the far post to leave Michael Johnson well beaten.
Tilbury continued to pose a threat during the second half with both sides looking for the winning goal. It finally came with just eight minutes remaining when a quick Iron break on the left saw a cross into the Tilbury box deflected into his own net by a Tilbury defender. The draw for the fourth round will take place on Wednesday, 6th November.

Maidstone match postponed
Tilbury in CountyCup tonight
Our home Manarama National League match against Maidstone United, scheduled for Saturday, 19th October, has been postponed. The Kent club will be involved in FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round action that day, having defeated Hitchin Town 2-1 in the Third Qualifying Round. A new date for the game with Maidstone United will be announced as soon as it is agreed.
Next up for Iron is the visit of Tilbury in the BBC Essex Senior Cup, this evening Tuesday, 8th October, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Manager Glen Driver has confirmed that he will be fielding the strongest possible side for this match. Admission for this match has been reduced to Adults - £8 and OAPs/U18s - £5.

County Cup date agreed
Tilbury to visit the North of the County in October
Braintree Town and Tilbury have agreed a date for their BBC Essex Senior Cup Third Round tie. The match will take place at Cressing Road on Tuesday, 8th October with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Braintree into top five
Fourth home win in succession for Iron
Iron moved into the top five with a single-goal victory over visitors Oxford City at Cressing Road on Saturday. Although this was not a vintage performance by Iron, the crucial factor was that they won the match, kept a clean sheet and collected another three league points from their fourth home win in succession.
Iron may play better in games and lose but, in this match, they rode their luck to win despite a better second half performance from the visitors. With another fine goalkeeping performance by Michael Johnson and a couple of goal line clearances they secured the three points.
Assistant manager Tony Kinsella admitted they were disappointed with that second half showing adding: "We just sat off too much and allowed them too much time and space on the ball.
"When you're at home you have to ask questions of your visitors and you can't just sit off and let them dictate play and force the issue," he continued. "We took our foot off the pedal in that second half and didn't dominate as we should have done."
In the first half Iron created several openings but the final balls into the danger area weren't clinical enough and at the other end twice Johnson was alert to pull off saves to deny the visitors.
The breakthrough came nine minutes before the interval when Tom Richardson, who worked hard throughout the 90 minutes, was clearly pushed over in the penalty area from a right wing corner and up stepped Ade Cole to calmly dispatch the resultant spot kick - giving keeper Harry Isted no chance.
A second goal would have settled the Iron players' nerves and the majority of the 481 home fans watching but they wasted chances with some weak finishing and organised Oxford defending.
The second half was different and although Iron again created chances to score that second goal they failed and allowed the visitors a little hope as they caused problems in the home rearguard.
With three subs on, including debutant midfielder Rhys Murrell-Williamson - signed from St Albans City on Friday afternoon - Iron failed to show improvement.
In stoppage time the visitors could have snatched an equaliser but Jake Hutchings managed to kick the ball off the goal line with Johnson beaten to help preserve that clean sheet and secure those three points.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Osbourne, Green, Urquhart, Hutchings; Christian-Law, Cole (Barker 75), Banton (71 Cerulli), Akinwande (61 Williamson)); Richardson, Mills. Unused subs: Coker, Donovan. Referee: Callum Walchester.

Iron have no game next Saturday and their next fixture a week on Saturday, 12th October, when they visit Tonbridge Angels.

Match Preview - MANarama South
Saturday 28 September 2019 - Braintree Town v Oxford City
Last season, Oxford City finished 12th in the National League South. They currently sit in 19th place on 10 points. Their overall record last season was: P 42 W 17 D 5 L 20 F 64 A 63 Points 56. Their away record last season was P 21 W 7 D 3 L 11 F 27 A 35 Points 24. Top scorers last season: Kabongo Tshmanga (now Boreham Wood) - 31, Zac McEachran - 9, Matt Paterson (now Gosport B) & Kyran Wiltshire - 7. Top Scorers 2019/20 - Tarik Moore-Azille & Kyran Wiltshire - 3, Zac McEachran& Jack Self - 2. Last 4 away League results: Lost 1-0 v Wealdstone, Won 1-2 v Bath City, Lost 3-1 v Welling United, Drew 1-1 v Eastbourne Borough. Form last 6 games: WLDLDW
Braintree Town are currently 6th on 19 points. Braintree Town home results this season: Won 2-1 v Dulwich Hamlet, Won 3-2 v Dorking Wanderers, Won 5-0 v Eastbourne Borough, Lost 0-4 v Wealdstone. Form last 6 games: WWDWWL. Top Scorers 2019/20 - Femi Akinwande & Tom Richardson - 5, Adam Mills & Jason Banton - 3. Last meeting at Cressing Road: The original fixture played on 30 March 2018 was abandoned in the first half due to a waterlogged pitch with the score at nil-nil. The game was replayed on 24 April 2018 with neither side able to find the net.
Last Saturday, both sides were in F A Cup action with City cruising through to the next round by seven goals to nil against North Leigh, whilst the Iron were beaten at Enfield Town. A return to League action and three points to stay in the play-off spots should be enough encouragement to get the boys back on track.

Talking to Michael Clark
Back for a second go!
DOB: 5/9/97 (22) Born: Welwyn Garden City
Position: Defender
Career history: Leyton Orient, East Thurrock United (Loan), Braintree Town, Concord Rangers, St Albans City
Q. What is your job?
A. Underwriter for an insurance firm
Q. Who do you support?
A. Tottenham Hotspur
Q. Who is your current favourite player?
A. Virgil Van Dijk
Likes: Music - R&B, Hip-hop
- TV/Film - Saving Private Ryan
- Food - Curry
- Holiday - Greece
Social Media - Twitter, Instagram
Q. At what age were you spotted by Leyton Orient, were you a defender back then?
A. I was eight when I joined them and a midfielder. When I was in the U11's I was a bit bigger than the other lads so the manager played me at centre back. I didn't mind where I played, I was just happy to be in the Academy.
I got a lot of support from my mum and dad, driving me around and encouraging me.
Q. You made your Orient debut in 2017 and played in a few matches to the end of that season before being released a year later. Who was the manager who released you and how difficult was it for you going forward?
A. A new manager came in (Justin Edinburgh) and I didn't suit his kind of football. It was really difficult the whole season, I was struggling mentally and that affected my performances and was probably a factor in me being let go.
Q. You came to Cressing Road in 2018, how did that move come about?
A. I got a phone call from Brad Quinton while I was on holiday. He sold it to me to come here.
Q. What are your memories of your time here, good or bad and do you think you have anything to prove this time around?
A. We had some bad results, but I liked the style of football we were trying to play. The stand out game for me was the home game against Hartlepool with the late equaliser. In the end I was left out a few times and I just wanted to play football, so it was my decision to go.
Q. You've formed a good bond with Jake Hutchings, how do you complement each other?
A. His positioning is really good. Jake is tougher when it comes to heading and kicking. He's also a good mate off the pitch.
Q. Which players during your career have you enjoyed playing alongside and why?
A. Lee Burns at East Thurrock United, I learned a lot from him, his physicality, never ducked a challenge.
Josh Hill, for his aerial ability.
Ben Wyatt at St Albans City, he played well in any position.
Q. Which player has been your most difficult opponent and why?
A. Femi Akinwande in training, he's always putting the ball between my legs. I don't like strikers who have good movement.
Q. Which coach/manager has had the most influence on your career to date and why?
A. Richard Thomas (now Watford) and Danny Webb at Leyton Orient. Richard was my youth team manager and was the best technical coach I've worked with and had good knowledge. Danny played a lot in this League and had a lot of experience in all areas.
Q. What are your personal footballing ambitions?
A. To keep enjoying my football and hopefully get back into the Football League sometime soon.
Q. Which of our squad has the best skills?
A. Jason Banton
Q. Which player would you want on a quiz team?
A. Josh Urquhart, he thinks he knows everything about everything.
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Play-offs

MANarama National League
Vinnie Jones signs up
For a second successive season, The National League has once again changed its competition name on a temporary basis in support of official charity partners Prostate Cancer UK.
The League's sponsors and long-time supporters of Prostate Cancer UK, Vanarama, have again agreed to use their sponsorship in support of the leading men's health charity until November 9th.
Last year, the MANarama campaign raised over £150,000 to help stop prostate cancer being a killer and earned a host of industry awards.
The rebranding to MANarama features a change of competition logo for each division and will help draw attention to the fact that every forty-five minutes a man dies from prostate cancer.
Vinnie Jones, renowned football hardman and former Wealdstone midfielder, has also been signed up by Vanarama to support the campaign as an ambassador this year.
Jones met Prostate Cancer UK ambassadors Kevin Webber and Errol McKellar on Tuesday afternoon, two men affected by the disease, who will play a key role in the campaign.
Saturday's clash between Dover Athletic and FC Halifax Town on BT Sport will be the featured match of the MANarama opening weekend.
Starting today, Webber will be walking from Bromley FC to Saturday's match at Crabble. Webber will be a familiar face to BT Sport viewers after delivering the match ball on the final day of the MANarama campaign in October 2018, at Halifax.
Commenting on the rebrand, The National League's Chief Executive Officer, Michael Tattersall, said: "We were extremely pleased with the reaction to our temporary - and historic - rebranding to the MANarama National League during the 2018/19 campaign. It was fantastic to see so much money and awareness raised to aid the fight against prostate cancer.
"We are proud this will be taking place over a 45-day period for a second season.
"Prostate Cancer UK are our official charity partners and we couldn't think of a charity that better reflects our football values.
"This deadly disease has no boundaries, so it's been incredibly inspiring to see Kevin Webber raise so much awareness. He's a remarkable man doing remarkable things and we will continue to stand alongside him, and everyone affected by prostate cancer."
MANarama ambassador Vinnie Jones said: "I am beyond proud to back this MANarama campaign. It combines two things which are so important to me; grassroots football and fighting cancer.
"I started playing football in Non-League so I know that these clubs are at the heart of local communities. I don't need to explain why the fight against cancer is so important for me.
"Non-League football is proper football and I'd urge all Non-League clubs and all the proper supporters out there to raise some proper money for this brilliant cause."
Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive, Angela Culhane, added: "Last year's brilliant MANarama campaign really caught the imagination and we're delighted to strengthen our long-standing relationship with Vanarama ahead of another exciting few months.
"Money raised will help us fund more ground-breaking research and find the tools needed for a screening programme, in order to catch more prostate cancers early and save more lives."

Iron giant-killed in FA Cup
A poor performance
Iron were dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle at Enfield Town's Donkey Lane Stadium on Saturday and they can have no complaints about the outcome against a home side playing one level below them.
Iron simply didn't turn up on the day, their worse performance for a very long time, as they failed to show any urgency, commitment and endeavour allowing the home side to control large periods of the game.
It was totally opposite to their dynamic, hard-working, cohesive winning display the previous week because this was 90 minutes of lack lustre performance with poor passing, individual lack of marking opponents and too many mistakes across the park allowing the home side to always have the initiative which they enjoyed.
Iron boss Glen Driver was bitterly disappointed with his side's performance adding: "I kept warning the players all week in training not to be complacent against a side below us but that's exactly what happened.
"It's difficult to explain this performance because we knew they would be up for it on the day as it was a chance to beat a higher team but we showed nothing of our Havant performance at all throughout the afternoon," he said. "We only have ourselves to blame."
The home side, who included former Iron keeper Nathan McDonald and defender Jon Muleba in their starting line-up, were always on the front foot from the first whistle whilst the Iron players were always on the back foot and attempting to stroll their way through the game.
But for two Tom Richardson headers over the bar in the first half the Iron never had a shot on goal and they really failed to improve in the second half despite three substitutions being made because they were made to look second best all afternoon.
The home side took the lead on 26 minutes when midfielder Ryan Blackman was allowed to run free from inside his own half before sliding the ball through into the Iron area for Muhammadu Faal to run on and drive the ball low past the exposed Iron keeper Michael Johnson.
The second half saw little improvement in Iron's play or approach to the game that in such a manner watching Iron fans in the 523 crowd would clearly think their players were not bothered about this match as a cup tie.
Four minutes from time and not for the first time in the game Iron were caught out of position at the back allowing Faal a free run down the middle through on his own to replicate the style of his first by again sliding the ball past Johnson to wrap up the game.
Any hopes of a lucrative money-spinning cup run for Iron this season were over and in such a disappointing manner too with an unprofessional display from the players.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Donovan (81 Christian-Law), Green, Hutchings, Osborne; Urquahart, Cole, Banton (64 Cerulli), Akinwande; Richardson, Mills (69 Coker). Unused subs: Barker, Harvey, Clark.
Next up for Iron is a home League game against Oxford City this coming Saturday, 28th September, kick off 3pm.

Match Preview - Saturday 21 September 2019
Enfield Town v Braintree Town, Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying
Enfield Town are currently 5th in the Bet Victor Isthmian League Premier Division on 14 points. Their home record this season is: P 4 W 2 D 1 L 1 F 11 A 7 Points 7. Last 4 home League games: Won 3-1 v Corinthian Casuals, Drew 2-2 v Potters Bar Town, Lost 1-4 v Horsham, Won 5-0 v Bishops Stortford. Top scorers: Ken Charles - 5, Muhammadu Faal - 3. Form last 6 games: LWDLWW.
Braintree Town are currently 6th in the Vanarama National League on 19 points. Away record: P 6 W 3 D 1 L 2 F 11 A 8 Points 10. Last 4 away games: Won 1-3 v Havant & Waterlooville, Drew 2-2 v Concord Rangers, Won 1-2 v Chippenham Town, Lost 2-1 v Dartford. Top scorers: Femi Akinwande & Tom Richardson - 5, Jason Banton & Adam Mills - 3. Form last 6 games: LWWDWW
Connections: Enfield Town's number one is our former goalkeeper and championship-winning Nathan McDonald. Also from the successful 2017/18 campaign is right back Jon Muleba. Towners have also been managed by former Iron favourite Brad Quinton and George Borg.
Enfield Town were formed in June 2001 after the previous club went into liquidation; starting out in the Essex Senior League. The club had several successes in League and Cup at this level before moving up to the Southern League (East) in 2005. The club moved to its current ground in 2008 and gained promotion to Step 3 in 2014. After two close attempts, they made the next step up in 2017 under Brad Quinton. Following Brad's departure, current manager Andy Leese has been in charge.
Enfield Town have already played in this season's FA Cup progressing with a home one-nil victory over AFC Rushden & Diamonds, courtesy of a Faal goal.
This will be an interesting test for Glen's in form Iron as the North London hosts have only been beaten once this season, but having won handsomely last time out against previously unbeaten Havant, spirits should be high as we take our first step on the road to Wembley.

If Saturday's match finishes as a draw, the replay will be at the Cressing Road Stadium this coming Tuesday evening, 24th September, with kick-off: 7.45pm. For the winners, the Third Qualifying Round draw will take place at Wembley Stadium at lunchtime on this coming Monday, 23rd September.

Talking to Obafemi Akinwande
I'd like to get 20 in all competitions. It's a healthy competition with Tom and me
DOB: 19/9/95 (24) Born: London
Position: Striker
Playing career: Millwall (Youth), Dartford, Leatherhead (Loan), Fisher Athletic, Maldon & Tiptree, Colchester United, Bishops Stortford (Loan), Maldon & Tiptree (Loan), East Thurrock United (Loan & then permanent), Concord Rangers
Q. Do you have another job?
A. No
Q. Who do you support?
A. Arsenal
Q. Who is your current favourite player?
A. Alexandre Lacazette
Likes: Music - hip hop, R&B, old school music
- Food - anything, not fussy
- TV/film - Action films, not horror
- Social Media: Twitter, Instagram
Q. Tell me about your time at Millwall where you spent 9 years, who did you play with there, highs and lows?
A. Joined them when I was about 6 years old. I played with Sid Nelson who is now at Tranmere Rovers. At 15/16 I left, I stopped liking football, just played college football for 2 years before signing for Dartford. My best times were at Maldon & Tiptree, Colchester United had a scheme with them and I scored 14 goals in 17 games. I made my debut for Colchester in a League One game against Wigan Athletic which finished 3-3, I didn't get on the score sheet. I had three years there.
Q. Having returned to Non-League, where do you think your future lies?
A. I'm performing well and feel confident and am enjoying my football. Non-League makes you work hard, so we'll see what happens.
Q. What is the best goal you've scored?
A. It was for Concord Rangers against Oxford City last season and I made the team of the week.
(I couldn't find the goal but found this on Youtube:
Q. What brought you to Braintree, how have you settled in?
A.The Gaffer didn't know about me, it was Danny Mills who gave him my name. He liked what he saw of me. I've settled in well, they're nice lads.
Q. You've made quite an impact already with your performances and goals, have you set yourself a target, will you score more than Tom Richardson?
A. I'd like to get 20 in all competitions. It's a healthy competition with Tom and me.
Q. Which coach or manager has had the most effect on your career to date?
A. Dave Wright at Maldon & Tiptree. He now coaches the U18's at Norwich City. He gave me the confidence to play with no pressure and got me playing football with a smile on my face.
Q. Who has been the best player(s) you've played with or against?
A. The best player I've played against is Jeremie Boga a midfielder at Chelsea. (Now at Sassuolo in Italy). The best I've played with is Mo Eisa when I was at Dartford. He now plays for Peterborough United.
Q. Which grounds have been the best and worst you've played at?
A. The best is Valley Parade, Bradford City's ground. The worst is Potters Bar Town, the worst pitch ever.
Q. Which player in training gives you the hardest time?
A. Sean Bonnett-Johnson, always pushing and fouling me.
Q. Which player is the noisiest in the changing room?
A. Ade Cole
Q. Which player makes you laugh?
A. Ade Cole
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Play-offs

Vanarama Stat Attack: why the Iron's great recovery could well continue!
League sponsors Vanarama offer some answers about the actual importance of the start to the season
Then four wins from five games later, all was right with the world!
Who knew that things can change pretty quickly in football. Braintree fans could have been forgiven for thinking the worst when the first few matches of the new season came to a close.
We've already reached the quarter point in the National League South season.
As the Iron have shown before, trying to judge what is going to happen in a division where it seems anybody can beat anybody is getting harder and harder.
We've been left with little option but to look back in time to see the future - so what does history tell us?
With the team sitting in sixth all of a sudden, the question is if the Glen Driver's team can maintain a promotion position.
Looking back to this stage in years gone by is often a good gauge of what could be in front of us.
There's mixed news when it comes to maintaining a top seven place. Only Woking, Welling United and Wealdstone were there once it mattered in 2018-19.
Billericay, who were top of the lot, didn't even make the play-offs - while eventual champions Torquay United were nowhere to be seen seven weeks in, languishing in 13th place before Gary Johnson came to their rescue.
A year earlier, five of the top seven towards the end of September held firm.
Havant, champions come April, joined then Bradley Quinton-managed Braintree, Dartford, Chelmsford City and Truro in the play-offs.
Back in 2016-17, there were of course only five clubs who could earn promotion places. Three of which were there after 11 matches - winners Maidenhead, Chelmsford City and Ebbsfleet United all stayed the pace.
Will the trend continue? Iron fans certainly hope so!
Sponsors Vanarama have recently launched the Club Reward scheme to help fans back their club's budget. Every time a fan takes out a brand new van lease with Vanarama or a brand new car lease with Motorama their club will earn £100 and you will receive £30 cashback!
For the latest van leasing deals head to Vanarama.
For the latest car leasing deals head to Motorama.

South's last unbeaten record goes
Iron hold their nerve to inflict first defeat on Havant & Waterlooville
Braintree Town ended the National League South's last unbeaten record with a 3-1 victory at Havant & Waterlooville.
A crucial 68th minute penalty save by Iron keeper Michael Johnson proved to be the turning point of this exciting and enthralling encounter at Westleigh Park on Saturday.
The home side were looking for an equaliser when they were given a dubious penalty by referee Lee Brennan but Anthony Straker's spot kick was brilliantly saved by Johnson down low to his right and the loose ball was kicked clear.
Had the Hawks equalised they may probably have gone on to win but, despite pressing the Iron defence hard after the penalty miss, they struggled to make much inroad against a stubborn and well organised Iron defence who were relieved two minutes from time when Femi Akinwande raced clear from the halfway line to slot the ball home for that all important third goal.
It was a hard earned victory for Iron who, at times - particularly in the first half, had their backs to the wall but they showed growing confidence with some resolute defending which has now earned them 13 points from their last five games.
Iron manager Glen Driver was naturally pleased at the way his players responded adding: "Yes, we were under the cosh in that first half having taken an early lead and they could have scored two or three goals, but we battled hard as a defensive unit and showed what progress we have made in such a short time.
"Havant one of the top sides in the division but we stuck to our task, weathered that early storm and came back stronger in the second half when I felt we were the better side and fully deserved our three points," he continued. "The penalty save was the turning point and again Michael has demonstrated what a good keeper he is and he was also made several outstanding saves and caught difficult crosses throughout the game."
Iron had the best possible start taking the lead in just the fifth minute when the hard working Ade Cole turned his maker on the right of the home area before crossing into the middle where Tom Richardson headed the ball into the net.
But that lead only lasted until the 17th minute when home substitute Brad Tarbuck cut inside from the left wing firing in a shot low into the far corner of the Iron net.
Iron then lived dangerously with the home side's Sam Magri heading the ball against the Iron bar and then Roarie Deacon, standing on the edge of the penalty box, had the easiest of chances to help his side take the lead but somehow defender Harry Osborne managed to scoop the ball away off the goal line.
The home side were made to pay for squandering their chances when up at the other end on 40 minutes when a cracking move saw the ball released to Richardson who rounded keeper Ross Worner to drill the ball into the net to give Iron a half time advantage.
Four minutes after the restart Akinwande strode clear on one his usual sprints but his thunderous right-foot shot came back into play having crashed off the underside of the home crossbar.
A goal then would have given the Iron some breathing space but with some excellent defending, great saves by Johnson and a never-say-die performance from all Iron players, they held on with the icing on the cake being Akinwande's fine goal on 88 minutes.
The win pushes Iron up to sixth in the league but focus now switches to the FA Cup and a difficult tie away at Enfield Town this coming Saturday, kick off 3pm.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Osborne, Green, Clark (45 Donovan), Hutchins; Urquhart, Cole (73 Barker), Coker (59 Mills); Akinwande; Cerulli, Richardson. Unused subs: Banton, Christian-Law. Referee: Lee Brennan. Attendance: 1,351.

Match Preview - Saturday 14 September 2019
National League South - Havant & Waterlooville v Braintree Town
In 2018/19, Havant & Waterlooville finished 22nd in the National League Premier. Overall record 2018/19: P 46 W 9 D 13 L 24 F 62 A 84 Points 40. Home 2018/19: P 23 W 7 D 6 L 10 F 37 A 32 Points 27. They are currently 2nd on 20 points. Home 2019/20: P 5 W 2 D 3 L 0 F 10 A 2 Points 9. Last 4 home games: Won 3-1 v Hungerford Town, Drew 0-0 v Eastbourne Borough, Drew 0-0 v Chelmsford City, Won 6-0 v Dorking Wanderers. Top scorers (2018/19): Alfie Rutherford - 15, Nicke Kabamba - 5. Top scorers 2019/20: Jonah Ayunga - 8, Roarie Deacon - 4, Wes Fogden, Josh Taylor & Andy Drury - 2. Form last 6 games: DWDWWD.
Braintree Town are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League on 16 points. Away 2019/20: P 5 W 2 D 1 L 2 F 8 A 7 Points 7. Last 4 away games: Drew 2-2 v Concord Rangers, Won 1-2 v Chippenham Town, Lost 2-1 v Dartford, Won 0- 3 v St Albans City. Top scorers: Femi Akinwande - 4, Tom Richardson, Jason Banton & Adam Mills - 3, Alfie Cerulli - 2.
Form last 6 games: WLWWDW.
The last meeting at Martin Road was on 8 December 2018. The home side took all 3 points thanks to an Alfie Rutherford brace, with a Ryan Woodford consolation own goal sandwiched between for the Iron. All the goals came in the second half, with the winner scored in added time at the end of the game.
Following their relegation alongside us last season, manager Lee Bradbury was dismissed and has been replaced by former Sutton United boss Paul Dowsell. Dowsell has raided his former club for six players including the League's current leading marksman - Ayunga. Six players over the age of 30 joined including former Gillingham and Ebbsfleet front man Danny Kedwell. So far this season the Hawks remain unbeaten, but five draws has seen them seven points adrift of table toppers Wealdstone. Braintree meanwhile continue to evolve and have shown in recent matches their willingness to battle back after going behind in matches. A trait that should stand them in good stead as they attempt to be the first side to beat the high flying Hawks.

Talking to Ade Cole
Our box to box midfielder
DOB: 3/10/94 (25) Born: Newham, London
Position: Midfield
Career History: Blackpool, Dulwich Hamlet, Aveley, Heybridge Swifts, Enfield Town, Waltham Abbey, Romford, Grays Athletic, Leiston, Canvey Island
Q. What is your job?
A. Teaching Assistant/Support Worker
Q. Who do you support?
A. Arsenal/Liverpool
Q. Who is your favourite current player?
A. Tiago
Likes: Music - R&B, Hip-Hop, UK Music
- TV/Film - Snowfall
- Food - Jollof rice & spag-bol
- Social Media - Instagram & Twitter
Q. What are your interests outside of football?
A. Being around music
Q. Tell me about your career to date, how did you end up at Blackpool?
A. I want there at 16 after being spotted by a scout at Southend; I was there 2 years under the management of Ian Holloway and then Paul Ince. I had a good time at Grays where I was voted into the team of the season, When Glen took over here he came in for me after I'd played for him at Leiston.
Q. Did you start out as a midfielder, what role beat suits your game/where do you prefer playing?
A. No, I was a striker. I would say that I'm a box to box midfielder.
Q. What have been the highlights of your career so far?
A. Playing with Jason Banton. I've not played in finals or play-offs, boring career.
Q. Have you played with or against any of your current team mates before/does that help you when starting out at a new club?
A. I played with Jake Hutchings during my time at Leiston. I know a lot of the boys from playing football. I knew Bants when he was at Liverpool/Palace - that's my claim to fame!
Q. Have you set yourself any challenges for the season?
A. I want to make the play-offs with the boys.
Q. To what level do you think you can progress?
A. As high as possible, would like to get back into full time.
Q. Who has been the best coach/manager you've worked with?
A. Luke Hobbs at Southend, he was like a father figure to me.
Q. How have you settled in at Braintree, how do you think you/we've done?
A. We made a slow start against some difficult team, but we're in good form at the moment. We can go as far as we want to go as a team. It's been good for me to have played in every game and to be voted player of the month by the fans.
Q. Who is the wind up merchant in the squad?
A. Me, but also Josh Urquhart
Q. Who is the most skilful?
A. I'd say me, but I play with Jason Banton!
Q. Who wears the best/worst gear?
A. Best - Femi, take a look at his Instagram. Worst - Adam Mills
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Play-offs

Friendly at home on Tuesday
Iron XI to play Cambridge City
Braintree Town Manager Glen Driver has organised a friendly match this coming Tuesday evening, 10th September, against Cambridge City, to give a number of the first team squad additional minutes. Kick-off is 7.45pm and admission is free to all.

Enfield Town away in the FA Cup
Iron travel to Isthmian Leaguers in Second Qualifying Round
Braintree Town have been drawn away to Bet Victor Isthmian League side Enfield Town in the Second Qualifying Round of this season's Emirates FA Cup. The match will take place a week on Saturday, 21st September with kick-off at 3pm.
If the game at Enfield finishes as a draw, the replay will be at the Cressing Road Stadium the following Tuesday, 24th September, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Second half Iron turn it around
Glen: "I have to keep reminding them they have to do it over 90 minutes and not 45"
For the second Saturday running young Braintree striker Alfie Cerulli came off the substitutes' bench to score a match winning goal in this Iron's third home win in succession at Cressing Road on Saturday.
The 18 year-old, who had signed a contract at the Club during the week, again showed his tremendous potential by heading his goal on 77 minutes courtesy of a superb inch-perfect left wing chip into the area from Femi Akinwande.
In an entertaining game with free flowing football from end to end so many chances were created the final scoreline could have been 4-4 or even 5-5, all this after a poor first half showing by Iron.
It left manager Glen Driver fuming at half time and he gave the players a real rollicking in the dressing room adding: "I don't normally lose my rag but after that first half showing I couldn't let it go - we were outplayed by them, showed no effort to close them down and any decent work right through the team and we were lucky to only be a goal down after they scored in the 19th minute from a free-kick we failed to pick up their player."
His straight forward team talk clearly did the trick because Iron came out a totally different side on the restart and went on to dominate the second half playing some excellent football and constantly causing panic in the visitors' defence.
The half time substitution of Jason Banton for young Cerulli immediately paid off because he chased every ball and was involved in all the Iron attacks, forcing the visiting defence and their midfield to sit much deeper than in the first half.
Iron equalised on 47 minutes thanks to an amazing, jinking run from just over the half way line by Ade Cole who twisted and turned defenders before firing in a tremendous 20 yard shot in the top corner of the Hamlet net.
Two minutes later Tom Richardson thought he had scored when firing the ball into the net, but he was given offside. Despite this, Iron kept pushing forward with neat, attractive football.
They were rewarded on 77 minutes when Cerulli popped in the area to head home to give the Iron lead and moments later Cole could have scored his second when racing clear of defenders with only keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer to beat the visiting custodian pulled off a fantastic save to deny him.
With the clock ticking down to the final whistle the visitors threw everything at the Iron defence and came close to scoring two or three times but some great last minute ditch tackles and clearances from the home area saw Iron duly hang on for victory.
Driver, thoroughly pleased with his side's second half performance, said: "It shows the character and commitment we have in the side and how we can play well and beat top sides.
"But excited though the players were, I have to keep reminding them they have to do it over 90 minutes and not 45 minutes - we cannot afford sloppy defending and poor passing to allow sides to score and take the lead," he continued. "Both sides could have scored more goals but again great defending by us ensured we collected all three points."
Goal winning hero Cerulli said: "Just pleased to get in the game at half time and scoring the winner - it tops off a good week for me having signed my first contract with the club."
Braintree Town: Johnson; Osborne; Clark, Hutchings, Green; Urquhart, Banton (45 Cerulli), Cole, Coker (82 Harvey); Akinwande, Richardson (84 Bonnett-Johnson. Subs not used: Barker, Donovan. Attendance: 539.

Next up for the Iron is an away match at Havant & Waterlooville next Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Cerulli earns a contract
Glen: "He's got his head down and worked hard"
Iron Manager Glen Driver has awarded striker Alfie Cerulli a contract following his excellent start to the season. 18-year old Alfie has come through the ranks at Cressing Road and impressed with his performances, including the winner at Chippenham Town last Saturday.
Glen was pleased to reward Alfie's progress: "He's got his head down and worked hard. I was pleased to see him sign a contract - he's deserved it."
Alfie was also happy: "I'm really enjoying my football and am pleased to commit my future to the Club."

Youth progress in FA Youth Cup
3-1 victory at Barking
Congratulations to our Under 18 side who won their FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round tie 3-1 at Barking on Thursday evening. The goals came from Liam Davey, Dec Cameron and Jordi Papple.
Their prize is a home tie against Welwyn Garden City on the Cressing Road Stadium pitch in the First Qualifying Round with this match provisionally scheduled for Wednesday 18 September, kick-off 7.45pm

Driver strengthens his squad
Former Millwall midfielder joins
Iron boss Glen Driver has further strengthened his squad ahead of Saturday's Vanarama National South match at home to Dulwich Hamlet. Joining the Club is 21-year old midfielder Harry Donovan. Harry started his career at Arsenal before moving on to Millwall in the summer of 2016. In his three years at the New Den, Harry spent time out on loan at both Dagenham & Redbridge in 2018 and, last season, Havant & Waterlooville in the National League Premier - making 17 appearances.

Vanarama Team-Mates
Femi Akinwande dishes Braintree's dressing room dirt!
League sponsors Vanarama have been busy opening the changing room doors... so what lies behind?
You can choose three team-mates to go on a road trip with - who do you pick to jump in the car and why?
Ade Cole will 110 per cent be in my car school, the guy is full of energy and won't sleep. Josh Urquhart has to jump in, he's another one full of energy and he's got good karaoke in him! Sean Bonnet Johnson has to be in the car he's got the best music taste.
But who is the one you wouldn't let near in the car?
Micheal Johnson wouldn't get a sniff near the motor! Not too sure about his music taste so I can't take that chance. And of course he's a goalie - I don't like goalies!
Which Braintree player would you not let touch your car stereo?
Micheal Johnson. He's not too keen on what music is played before games well I haven't seen him sing along to any so far.
Who is most likely to become a manager when their playing days are over?
I would say Sean Bonnet Johnson, he's got that management mind and I can see him taking up a managerial role.
But which one is the least likely to do the job?
Ade Cole! The guy doesn't watch football outside of playing it. He don't even know when the meet time is!
Who's the dressing room joker?
Ade Cole is definitely the dressing room joker - no matter what the day or the week it is, he comes in with good vibes and loud as ever
But who is grump what it comes to team banter?
Sergio Manesio don't really like banter! He's quiet, and just wants to play ball and go home.
Who spends the longest in front of the mirror after games?
Josh Erquhart is always combing his hair -then he bringing his own blow dryer!
Who would you say is your best mate at the club?
Me and Ade Cole get on really well. I knew him before I signed for the club but since we come to football together and go home together it plays a big part.
Best trainer in the squad?
I've got to give this one to myself! A couple of the lads know about the nutmegs - £2 fine please!

Sponsors Vanarama have recently launched the Club Reward scheme to help fans back their club's budget. Every time a fan takes out a brand new van lease with Vanarama or a brand new car lease with Mototama their club will earn £100 and you will receive £30 cashback!
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Iron held on Canvey Island
Late leveller denies three points
Ten-man Concord Rangers scored a second equaliser three minutes from time to deny Iron a third consecutive win in what was an entertaining game with end to end football on Canvey Island on Tuesday evening.
Overall a draw was perhaps a fair result although the home side will feel well satisfied having had to play the second half with only 10 men after the experienced defender Jack Cawley had been dismissed for a challenge on Iron striker Tom Richardson three minutes before the break.
Iron, who gave a left-back debut to 20 year-old defender Cameron Green, signed on loan from Premier League side Watford earlier in the day, had almost taken a lead early in the game when first Femi Akinwanda and then Ade Cole were denied by home keeper Chris Haigh.
Iron did take the lead on 37 minutes when Jason Banton weaved his way past defenders from the half way line before firing a great 25-yard shot in the top right-hand corned of the home goal.
Despite being a player short the Canvey side started the second half with determination and three times threatened the Iron goal but were denied by fine saves from Michael Johnson before they equalised on 57 minutes when a left wing cross was met first time by Decarrey Sheriff with a header that gave keeper Johnson little chance.
Back came Iron again and they regained the lead on 70 minutes when Cole followed up a Richardson shot parried by Haigh and he swept the ball low into the net.
Iron kept pressing hard for that vital third goal to give them a cushion but it never came and poor marking on the edge of the Iron area with three minutes minutes allowed home defender Aron Peacock to stride forward and drive the ball low into the right corner of the net.
With five minutes of added time both sides searched for a last-gasp winner, but it never came and both sides had to settle for a point each.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Urquhart, Clark, Hutchings; Green, Christian-Tyler (94 Bonnett-Johnson), Banton (81 Cerulli), Cole, Coker (78 Osborne); Richardson, Akinwanda. Unused subs were Manesio, Barker. Attendance: approximately 200.

Next up for Iron is a home game this coming Saturday, 7th September, against Dulwich Hamlet, with kick off at 3pm.

Match Preview - Tuesday 3 September 2019
Vanarama South - Concord Rangers v Braintree Town
In 2018/19, Concord Rangers finished 6th in the National League South. Although finishing in a play-off place, they were not allowed to compete as their ground did not make ground grading requirements. Overall record 2018/19: P 42 W 20 D13 L 9 F 69 A 48 Points 70* (3 points deducted). Home 2018/19: P 21 W 11 D 7 L 3 F 39 A 19 Points 40. They are currently 6th on 13 points. Home 2019/20: P 4 W 3 D 0 L 1 F 7 A 3 Points 9. Home record this season: Won 2-1 v Chelmsford City, Won 2-1 v Slough Town, Lost 0-1 v Maidstone United, Won 3-0 v Welling United. Top scorers (2018/19): Alex Wall - 24, Jack Midson (now Assistant Manager at Hemel Hempstead Town) - 15, Liam Nash, Sam Blackman, Juan Prados - 5. Top scorers 2019/20: Decarrey Sheriff - 4, Joel Nouble - 3, Kreshnic Krasniqi - 2. Form last 6 games: WLLDLW
Braintree Town are currently 8th in the Vanarama National League on 12 points. Away 2019/20: P 4 W 2 D 0 L 2 F 6 A 5 Points 6. Away record this season: Won 1-2 v Chippenham Town, Lost 2-1 v Dartford, Won - 0- 3 v St Albans City, Lost 2-0 v Bath City. Top scorers: 2019/20: Femi Akinwande - 4, Tom Richardson & Adam Mills - 3, Jason Banton - 2. Form last 6 games: WWLWWL.
Connections: Midfielder Joe Gardner was brought to Cressing Road by former Concord boss Danny Cowley in 2016.
Concord appointed former player Dan Scopes as manager in May 2019. He led the Beach Boys to the Isthmian Premier League in 2012 alongside joint manager Danny Cowley. Like us, he has seen an overhaul of the playing staff during the summer. Leading the way in their goal scoring charts is former Colchester United striker Decarrey Sheriff. Our last meeting at Thames Road was on 12 September 2017. On a wet evening, an early goal in the eleventh minute from Phil Roberts was enough for the Iron to claim all three points.
This promises to be an enthralling encounter between two Essex sides making an early season play for the top seven. Glen's boys edge the current form table between the two sides having picked up twelve points in their last six games compared to Concord's seven points. It could all come down to the two former Colchester United strikers to make the difference.

Late drama secures 3 points
Iron level with the play-off places
It took a fantastic point blank reaction save from Iron keeper Michael Johnson three minutes into added stoppage time to ensure his side returned from Hardenhuish Park with all three points on Saturday.
Having come from behind and taken a one goal lead in the second half the home side, pushing hard for an equaliser late on and forcing three quick corners, were denied when a fierce header looked goalbound until Johnson managed to push the ball over the bar.
It would have been an injustice though had Iron not won this game because they dominated it for long periods with some outstanding play in midfield from in particular Jason Banton and Ade Cole who ran the home side ragged every time they attacked - but it was all too often wasted by poor finishing from the forwards.
Iron went behind after only 11 minutes when in their first attack the home side scored through Curtis McDonald thanks to lax marking in defence.
Iron pressed for an equaliser hitting the bar and Tom Richardson three times shoot tamely at goal when he should have done better but it all meant the home side went in at the break leading by that early goal.
Five minutes after the restart Iron could have scored from the penalty spot after new signing from Maldon & Tiptree, Olu Coker, was upended in the area but Richardson's spot kick was saved by keeper Will Puddy, formerly an Iron loan signing when at Bristol Rovers, low down to his right.
Two minutes past the hour and it was the hard working Coker who grabbed the equaliser when he turned his marker inside the area to fire the ball low into the net past Puddy.
As the Iron continued to dominate the game again chances were wasted but on 82 minutes, Alfie Cerulli, on for Richardson, kept chasing the ball into the home penalty box forcing defenders to panic and his persistence paid off as he forced the ball home from close range, much to the gratitude of the Iron contingent of supporters in the 468 crowd.
The Iron kept up the pressure in normal time with both Cole and Femi Akinwanda twice each going close but it took that last-gasp save from Johnson to see the Iron home and dry with all three points that pushes them up level with the play-off places in the table.
Iron manager Glen Driver admitted he had read the riot act to his players at half time adding: "We weren't quick enough at time, needed to shift the ball quicker, with better passing and putting them under constant pressure.
"The second half was so much better and we completely dominated the game and had we scored that penalty I think we would have gone on quite easily and scored more goals," he explained. "It was a good and well deserved win but as always I am more concerned as to the way we play throughout the whole match."
Iron, who lost defender Harry Osbourne on the morning of the game because his wife had a baby and he was replaced by Ollie Saunders, know they have to show more consistency in attack to score more goals adding: "Defensively we looked strong and likewise in midfield we were able to control the game but we must put chances away to win such games more comfortably."
Braintree Town: Johnson, Urquhart, Clark, Hutchings, Saunders; Banton (85 Bonnett-Johnson), Cole, Christian-Law, Coker (78 Harvey); Richardson (78 Cerulli), Akinwanda. Unused subs: Barker, Manesio. Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis. Attendance 468.

Next up for the Iron is an away match at Concord Rangers on Tuesday, kick off 7 45pm.

Match Preview - Saturday 31 August 2019
National League South - Chippenham Town v Braintree Town
In 2018/19, Chippenham Town finished 13th in the National League South. They are currently 13th on nine points. Overall record 2018/19: P 42 W 16 D7 L 19 F 57 A 64 Points 55. Home 2018/19: P 21 W 10 D 4 L 7 F 34 A 28 Points 34, Home record this season: Won 1-0 v Weymouth, Won 2-0 v Billericay Town, Drew 1-1 v Oxford C. Top scorers (2018/19): Nat Jarvis - 21, Karnell Chambers - 11, Nick McCootie - 9. Scorers 2019/20: Rhys Tyler, Luke Hopper, Nat Jarvis, David Pratt & Chris Zebroski - 1. Form this season: DDWLDWL
Braintree Town are currently 12th in the Vanarama National League on 9 points. Away record this season: Lost 2-1 v Dartford, Won - 0-3 v St Albans City, Lost 2-0 v Bath City, Scorers: 2019/20: Femi Akinwande - 4, Tom Richardson & Adam Mills - 3, Jason Banton - 2, Michael Clark - 1. Form this season: LLLWWLW. Connections: Goalkeeper Will Puddy was on loan at Cressing Road from Bristol Rovers in 2016. Former player Tyrone Mings now at Aston Villa was this week called up into the England squad.
Our last meeting at Hardenhuish Park was on 13 January 2018, the game ending in a one-one draw. In the first minute a Chippenham throw in on the halfway line was volleyed infield by Muleba straight to a blue shirt. The ball was headed forward and then passed first time onto Jackson who shot high into the top corner of the goal from the edge of the area. The equaliser came in the tenth minute, a long ball from halfway inside the Iron half was allowed to bounce and with two Chippenham defenders leaving it to each other; Reece Grant nipped in and rounded the keeper and scored into an unguarded net. It's been a hectic start to the season with this being the eighth game of the month. Braintree have yet to draw, whilst our opponents fixtures have yielded no more than two goals a game. There are a few familiar names in Town's front line to test the Iron rear- guard. With the Iron's last four games yielding sixteen goals, will it be attack or defence coming out on top in Wiltshire?

Talking to Tom Richardson
about Glen and the style he plays
DOB: 6/10/93 (25) Born: Rush Green, Romford
Position: Striker
Career History: Romford, Brentwood, Brightlingsea, East Thurrock United, Aveley
Q. Do you have another job?
A. Yes, I'm a construction manager
Q. Who do you support?
A. Manchester City
Q. Favourite current player?
Likes: Music - R&B, House
Food - Chinese
TV/Film - Queen of the South on Netflix
Social Media: Twitter
Q. What are your interests outside of football?
A. Golf
Q. Tell me about your career to date, the highlights
A. I was 16 when I first played for Romford, started out in centre midfield, then a winger. At Brentwood I started playing up front. I was promoted with them via the play- offs. Then I won the League with Brightlingsea. I scored a hat trick for East Thurrock United in a FA Trophy game against Colchester United.
Q. Best goal scored?
A. Last year playing against Tooting & Mitcham, I lobbed the keeper from 35/40 yards.
Q. How did you come to be at Braintree?
A. I knew Glen from my time at Brightlingsea, I almost joined him at Leiston, but the travelling was too much.
Q. How have you settled in, who are you bonding with?
A. It's one of those squads where everyone bonds with everyone. I drive up with Harry Osborne so spend more time with him.
Q. You are striking up a pairing with Femi Akinwande, what are your strengths, how do you complement each other, will you outscore him?
A. We both like scoring, both had assists for each other and we're very similar players. If one of us drops the other goes long, it's becoming a natural part of our game. I'll be happy if we both get 15/20 goals.
Q. Do you have/set yourself a goal target, what would you be happy with?
A. I'd like to get 20, my best season was at Brightlingsea where I scored 27-8.
Q. Who has been the best coach/manager you've worked with?
A. Glen for the style he plays. Paul Martin at Romford for making me a striker and I've never looked back.
Q. Who has been your most difficult opponent?
A. Joe Ellul - we always have a good battle and he's a good mate.
Q. How does training here compare to what you've done before?
A. It's another level, a step higher, the quality is better.
Q. Who is the best marker in training?
A. Hutch - Jake Hutchings
Q. Who is the joker in the pack?
A. There's a few who think they are, Sean Bonnett-Johnson, Michael Clark, Josh Urquhart.
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. Definitely top half, pushing for play-offs.

Femi breaks Dorking hearts
Iron sizzle late on in the holiday heat
It took a last gasp strike from the workaholic striker Femi Akinwande four minutes into added stoppage time to ensure Iron won the first ever encounter between the two sides in searing August Bank Holiday Monday temperatures.
Just when it looked as if the outcome would be a draw in what had been a understandingly scrappy second half in the heat, Iron's never-say-die striker latched on to a through ball into the visitors' area and, holding off two strong challengers from defenders, twisted and turned both of them before firing in a low shot in the far bottom corner beating Dorking Wanderers keeper Ryan Sandford.
It was no more than the 23 year-old deserved for his sterling work throughout the afternoon having come close on 27 minutes from the opening goal forcing Sandford to tip his fierce shot over the bar.
On 36 minutes he was involved in creating the opening goal for Jason Banton who fired home from close range but the lead lasted only five minutes when a right wing cross into the Iron area was slotted home by the unmarked by Elliott Buchanan.
Both sides had further first half chances but it was home keeper Michael Johnson who kept the scores level when, on 44 minutes, he pulled off a great save from Matt Briggs.
The second half started disastrously for Iron when two minutes after the restart defender Michael Clark gave the ball away just inside the Iron half allowing the ball to be swept straight out to Tom Richards who drove the ball into the home net.
Undeterred Iron fought back and both Banton and Akinwande went close before, on the hour, Iron equalised when a ball up front was well held up by Tom Richardson who played into the path of Tyler Christian-Law to brilliantly slide the ball past the stranded Sandford.
With all substitutes on for both sides, play became a little frantic but, in the latter stages of the game, it was Iron who always looked as if they could snatch a late winner as they pressurised the visiting defence.
Deep into stoppage time up popped Akinwande again showing his pace and strength to bypass those two defenders before sending in a low low past Sandford for the winner sending home fans in the holiday crowd in raptures.
"I just knew that if we could keep pressing hard on their defence, who clearly looked tired at this stage of the game, we might be able to grab a winner," said Akinwande afterwards. "Thankfully I was able to hold off defenders and get that ball into the net - it was glorious!
"I had hoped we could have a few more minutes then I could have perhaps scored again and made it a hat-trick day for me but the win was great for all the team," he added.
Manager Glen Driver praised his side for never giving up adding: "It showed what tremendous character we have in the side and in particularly when we went behind. Well done I say to the players but, again, we must stop giving silly goals away which could have again cost us dearly."
Braintree Town: Johnson, Osbourne, Urquhart, Christian-Law (Bonnett-Johnson 88), Hutchings, Clark, Cole, Banton (Barker 79), Richardson (Cerulli 79), Akinwande, Mills. Subs not used: Gipson, Harvey. Referee: Callum Walchester. Attendance: 444.

Next up for Braintree is a trip to Chippenham Town this coming Saturday, 31st August, with kick-off at 3pm.

Match Preview - Vanarama South
Monday 26 August 2019 - Braintree Town v Dorking Wanderers
Last season, Dorking Wanderers finished 1st in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Their overall record last season was: P 42 W 28 D 9 L5 F 87 A 32 Points 93. Their away record last season was P 21 W 12 D 7 L 2 F 29 A 13 Points 43. Top scorers last season: Jason Prior - 21, Elliott Buchanan - 17. Scorers 2019/20 - Jason Prior - 4, James McShane - 2, Eliot Buchanan & Matt Briggs - 1. They currently sit 9th in the National League South on 10 points. Away results this season: Drew 1-1 v St Albans City, Lost 0-6 v Havant & Waterlooville, Won 0-1 v Slough Town, This season form: WWWLDL
Braintree Town are currently 14th on 6 points. Braintree Town home results this season: Won 5-0 v Eastbourne Borough,Lost 0-4 v Wealdstone, Lost 2-3 v Billericay Town. This season form: LLLWWL. Scorers 2019/20 - Tom Richardson, Femi Akinwande & Adam Mills - 3, Michael Clark & Jason Banton - 1.
Dorking Wanderers were only formed in 1999 by founder, Chairman and manager Marc White; he has overseen 13 promotions in 19 seasons. Last season's top scorer Jason Prior is the man to watch having also been the top scorer at Havant & Waterlooville with 26 goals in their 2017/18 promotion campaign from this League. The Wanderers made a bright start to the season with three straight wins, but were then brought crashing down to earth at Havant & Waterlooville with a 6-0 defeat. Both teams lost their Saturday games so an intriguing encounter waits this first ever meeting between the two clubs.

10 men let lead slip at Dartford
Ahead early on, Iron second best after the break
Iron went down to a late winning goal at Dartford's Prince's Park on Saturday which left manager Glen Driver disappointed by the way his players let their standards slip for the second half, having dominated the first forty-five minutes with attractive football that saw them outplay their hosts.
"We scored early after three minutes and controlled the game from then onwards but we needed that second goal before the interval," he said. "We had chances too but instead we gave away a poor equaliser three minutes before the break while in the second half we lost our way.
"In truth we were poor in the second half and didn't deserve anything and the players only have themselves to blame - it was bad and I have told them so," he continued. "It was unacceptable - we stopped passing the ball, stopped chasing and closing them down and simply allowed them to run at us - there can be no excuse for that to happen."
But for Iron keeper Michael Johnson saving a 30th minute penalty from Luke Wanadio after Jake Hutchings had handled in the area and the custodian pulling off a remarkable one-handed save, tipping the ball over the bar with his fingers on 75 minutes, the home side would have won by a bigger margin.
The Iron had a great start with good movement upfield leaving Femi Akinwande to cut in from the right firing a great low shot into the home net off the foot of the far post.
They should have added to their tally and on 35 minutes were denied a penalty when Tom Richardson was clearly hauled down in the home area but referee Steven Hughes ran away from the incident.
The Iron conceded the equaliser when a long throw in from the right wing on 42 minutes rebounded straight to ex-Iron midfielder Luke Allen who headed the ball past Johnson from close range.
Having dominated the first half the Iron went to pieces after the interval with the midfield struggling as the home put great pressure on the back four.
Their cause was not helped on 70 minutes when Adam Mills was shown a straight red card for retaliation even though the referee had given the Iron a free-kick for a foul.
With their backs to the wall it was only a matter of time when the home side would score and that came in the 87th minute when a high right wing cross to the Iron's far post was headed in by the unmarked substitute Norman Wabo.
It was a poor goal to concede but what the home side deserved for their second half fight back with Iron players left to contemplate where it went wrong after such a promising first 45 minutes.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Osborne, Saunders, Clark, Hutchings; Manesio (66 Bonnett-Johnson), Cole, Banton (75 Harvey), Mills; Richardson (86 Cerulli), Akinwande. Unused subs: Gipson, Barker. Attendance: 874.

Next up for the Iron is home game against Dorking Wanderers on Bank Holiday Monday, kick off 3pm.

Match Preview - Saturday 24 August 2019
Vanarama National League South - Dartford v Braintree Town
In 2018/19, Dartford finished 10th in the Vanarama National League South. They are currently 21st on 2 points. Overall record 2018/19: P 42 W 18 D 10 L 14 F 52 A 58 Points 64. Home 2018/19: P 21 W 12 D 6 L 3 F 32 A 21 Points 42. Last 4 home: 2019/20 Drew 1-1 v Havant & Waterlooville, Drew 1-1 v St Albans City, 2018/19 Won 2-1 v Billericay Town, Lost 0-1 v Chippenham Town. Top scorers (2018/19): Charlie Sheringham - 12, Elliot Bradbrook - 9, Phil Roberts - 8. Scorers 2019/20: Adam Cunnington - 2, Luke Wanadio & Norman Wabo - 1
Form this season: LDDLL.
Braintree Town are currently 12th in the Vanarama National League on 6 points. 2018/19 Away: P 23 W 5 D 5 L 13 F 23 A 34 Pts 20. Last 4 away: 2019/20 Won 0-3 v St Albans City, Lost 2-0 v Bath City, (2018/19): Drew 0-0 v Leyton Orient, Won 0-2 v Maidstone United. Scorers: 2019/20: Tom Richardson & Adam Mills - 3, Femi Akinwande - 2, Michael Clark & Jason Banton - 1. Form this season: LLLWW.
Connections: Josh Hill, Luke Allen who were part of our successful 2017/18 squad and last season loanee from Southend United, Norman Wabo now ply their trade at Princes Park.
Our last visit to Dartford in the League was on 23 December 2017 with both sides claiming a point each in a 1-1 draw. Braintree had the better of the early chances coming close on a couple of occasions, but it was the hosts who went ahead in the seventeenth minute. Their left winger raced past three defenders before crossing low to Pugh who swept the ball home from 7 yards. The equaliser came just before half time, Ricky Gabriel overlapping down he left, crossed low from the by-line and Marcel Barrington was on hand to drive the ball home from close range at the far post.
The two sides met again in May 2018 in the play-off semi-final, Billy Crook scoring the only goal of the game.
What a difference a week makes for Glen's new look squad. Pointless after three games, followed by eight goals and two clean sheets in the next two games. Dartford meanwhile have had three heavy defeats away from home and two one all draws at Princes Park.
It will a buoyant team and hopeful fans crossing the Thames this Saturday.

Talking to Michael Johnson
I feel I'm ready now to play at this level
DOB: 28/10/93 (25) Born: Stevenage
Position: Goalkeeper
Football career: Stotfold, Hitchin Town, Biggleswade Town (Loan),
Q. Do you have another job?
A. Yes, I work in finance in London
Q. Who do you support?
A. Liverpool
Q. Who is your favourite current player?
A. Mo Salah
Likes: Music - R&B, hip-hop anything with a good beat
Food - Pizza
TV/Film - action movies like Taken
Social Media - Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Interests outside football - American football, rugby
Q. Growing up were you always a goalkeeper?
A. No I used to play centre midfield. I was 14 when I first oll game and we had no keeper. The referee was impressed with me and got me training at Luton for 6 months.
Q. Tell me about your career, how you got started, highs and lows
A. Started at 17 with Stotfold U18s, went to Hitchin where I was on the bench a lot behind an experienced keeper. Then I played reserve team football for a couple of years, before progressing to the first team. I didn't do well and ended up going out on loan. When I came back, I took my chance and had 4 good years there. Lowlight was a very wt night against Weymouth, lost 3-0 I let a high hanging cross through my hands and it went in. Highlight was a play-off semi-final against Merstham where I was awarded man of the match.
Q. Which manager/coach has had the most influence on you?
A. A goalkeeping coach - Richard Wilmott who used to play for Stevenage. He was like a father figure to me, especially when things weren't going well for me.
Q. How did you come to be at Braintree?
A. My agent gave me a call asked if I fancied coming here. Glen called me and I had a good feeling about it.
Q. What challenges do you think you will face at this level?
A. It's the highest level I've ever played at. I'm constantly challenging myself working hard week in week out at the lower steps down, but I feel I'm ready now to play at this level.
Q. What differences have you noticed at this level so far?
A. There is more structure to the teams we've played. They stick to their game plan. At Bath they changed their tactics in the second half. It's a quicker game and we're now beginning to adapt.
Q. Who are the best players you've played with against?
A. Former Luton player Matt Spring at Hitchin, he was good on the ball and great for the young boys there. Against - Barry Hales, despite his age, he was big and strong. Isaac Vassell now at Cardiff, he was fast and strong too and Giovanni Brown who's recently signed for Colchester.
Q. At what level do you think you can play?
A. I watch football on TV and see keepers making mistakes I don't think I would make. League Two I think I could play in, anything higher would be a bonus.
Q. If you are sent off or injured during a match, who will go in goal?
A. Don't know, we've not really discussed it. Maybe Jake Hutchings, his knee needs a rst so he can stand still for a bit.
Q. Which Braintree player is the best finisher?
A. Tom Richardson, the rest need to work on it.
Q. Which Braintree player has the hardest shot?
A. Femi Akinwande, when he catches it right and not out of the ground!
Q. Where will Braintree finish?
A. A top ten finish would be unbelievable.

Five goal Iron up to mid-table
Second successive win for Iron
Continuing where they left off in midweek winning comprehensively at St Albans, Iron completed a successful week by hammering their Sussex coast visitors at Cressing Road on Saturday to prove any doubters of their true potential this season.
Such were Iron dominant, particularly in the second half, the only surprise for home fans was that in the end the winning margin wasn't even bigger because they scorned several decent chances in that second period.
It meant though that for the Iron it made two successive wins and cleansheets within the space of five days moving them further up the table as manager Glen Driver continues to develop his side having started just eight weeks ago.
Making one change from that midweek victory - Jason Banton coming for Charley Barker who dropped to the bench - Iron were denied two clearcut penalties with Tom Richardson being bundled over in the first half and late on in the second half Richardson squared the ball to Femi Akinwande who was sent flying on his face in the visitors' area by Manny Adevowale but referee Dale Wootton ignored.
Despite missing several chances during the game overall it was an easy win for the home side who took the lead with a powerful Adam Mills shot on 27 minutes and five minutes later Richardson converted after tremendous work down the left by Akinwande and they could have had two more goals before the break.
Hard though the visitors tried to get back into the game on the rare occasion they threatened home keeper Michael Johnson pulled off two fine saves before in the 65th minute Iron made the game safe when Banton moved forward from the centre circle running through unchecked before unleashing a 30-yard shot into the far corner of the net giving keeper Tom Hadler no chance.
On 81 minutes man of the match Mills added his second and his side's fourth with a slide rule shot on goal after Akinwande again had done all the hard work down the right wing and in the final minute Richardson put pressure on keeper Hadler and the ball fell to Akinwande who scores the goal he deserved on the day and so sealed a comfortable win for Iron.
Manager Glen Driver said he was delighted the way his side continue to adapt themselves to one another and their work rate and commitment was excellent adding: "I felt we wasted chances in the first half but in the second half we were outstanding.
"Incredible to think that eight weeks ago I didn't have a team but now we have a nucleus and can build on from here," he declared. "You get lows and highs in football and today it's certainly a high and the boys deserve it."
Braintree Town: (3-5-2):Johnson; Urquhart, Saunders, Clark, Hutchings; Manesio, Cole (84 Gipson,) Banton (66 Tyler Christian-Law), Mills (82 Trey Charles), Richardson, Akinwande. Subs unused: Barker, Bonnett-Johnson. Attendance: 356. Referee Dale Wooton.
Next up for Iron is the short to play at Dartford next Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Match Preview - Vanarama South
Saturday 17 August 2019 - Braintree Town v Eastbourne Borough
Last season, Eastbourne Borough finished 18th in the Vanarama National League South; they currently sit 12th on 5 points. Their overall record last season was: P 42 W 10 D 12 L 20 F52 A 65 Points 42. Their away record last season was P 21 W 4 D 6 L 11 F 19 A 31 Points 18. Top scorers last season: Charlie Walker - 11, Dean Cox 8, Ryan Hall - 7. Scorers 2019/20 - Nick Wheeler, Greg Luer & Kristian Campbell - 1. Last 4 away results 2019/20 Drew 0-0 v Maidstone United, Lost 1-0 v Billericay Town, (2018/19): Drew 1-1 v Slough Town, Lost 2-0 v Torquay United. This season form: LWDD
Braintree Town are currently 16th on 3 points. Braintree Town home record last season: P 23 W 6 D 3 L 14 F 25 A 44 Points 21. Braintree Town last 4 home results 2019/20: Lost 0-4 v Wealdstone, Lost 2-3 v Billericay Town, (2018/19): Won 2-0 v Dagenham & Redbridge, Won 2-1 v AFC Fylde. This season form: LLLW. Scorers 2019/20 - Tom Richardson - 2, Adam Mills, Femi Akinwande & Michael Clark - 1. Connections: Ian Gayle signed for Borough in the summer after spells at Welling, Wealdstone and Woking. Last meeting at Cressing Road: 9th December 2017 Braintree Town 3 Eastbourne Borough 2
In an entertaining game it was the visitors who took the lead in the 13th minute. A long punt downfield by the keeper was won in the air on the edge of the box by Dawes, he then chested the ball down before escaping his markers and fired across goal where Shaun Okojie slid the ball home from six yards. The equaliser came from top scorer Phil Roberts on 36 minutes. A deep Billy Crook corner was only partially cleared, straight to Roberts on the edge of the penalty area and his low drive went through a crowd of bodies and the keeper's grasp. Just past the hour, Roberts put the Iron ahead. A free kick taken by Crook half way inside the visitor's half was played high to the back post, Okoye rose highest to head the ball back across goal and leave Roberts a simple headed finish from close range. Borough were level on 75 minutes, a deep cross from Mills was won in the air on the edge of the box by Okojie and his knock down was swept across goal by Kiran Khinda-John. It took only two minutes for Braintree to re-take the lead. Roberts sent Roman Michael-Percil scampering away down the right, the diminutive winger outpacing his marker only to be pushed in the back for a penalty to be awarded. Billy Crook stepped up and converted to the right with the keeper going the wrong way.
Eastbourne Borough are another club under new management with Lee Bradbury taking charge in May this year a few weeks after his Havant and Waterlooville side were relegated alongside Braintree. With Braintree having recorded their first win of the season at St Albans on Tuesday evening, the boys will be hoping to make it a third consecutive blank on the road for the visitors, whilst seeing a blossoming partnership between Richardson and Akinwande put the Sports to the sword.

Talking to Jake Hutchings
all about having Raheem Sterling in his back pocket!
DOB: 20/12/95 (23) Born: London. Position: Centre Back
Career history: Leyton Orient U18, Torquay United U18 & 1st team, Grays Athletic (Loan), Weymouth FC (Loan), Frome Town (Loan), Hearts FC U20, Enfield Town, Frome Town, Grays Athletic, Wingate FC, Grays Athletic, Leiston, Merstham, Wingate FC, Merstham
Q. Do you have another job?
A. Yes. I'm a Site Manager in building works.
Q. Who do you support?
A. Tottenham Hotspur
Q Who is your favourite current player?
A. Lionel Messi
Likes: Music - I like all sorts, go with the flow
Food - Italian, a good steak
Film/TV - Love Island
Social Media - Twitter and Instagram
Q. It's fair to say you've done quite a lot of travelling since leaving Orient in 2013, talk me through some of those moves
A. Martin Ling was my manager at Orient, when he took the Torquay job, he took me with him, I had a good 3 years there. Then Torquay had a change of manager and I had 6 months left on my contract, my agent spoke to Craig Levein at Hearts. The first time I played nom-league was at Enfield. Brad Quinton was the manager there. I ended up back at Frome (but was training at Grays) as I'd done well for them on loan, but I was travelling from North London and it was getting too much. I then played around London and then met Glen at Leiston, 3 of us, including Ade Cole used to travel together. I had a 2 year contract but did my anterior cruciate ligament playing for Merstham, but in my second spell, we made the play-off final.
Q. At which club did you have your happiest times/career highlights?
A. The play-off final at Merstham and I made the squad a few times at Hearts when they won the Championship.
Q. Which coach or managers have had the biggest impact on your career?
A. As a player, Robbie Nielson at Hearts. He was a legend up there. He had very good man management skills, helped me to settle in and looked after me. In training if you wanted to stay behind and do more, he would take the time to do one to one with you.
Q. Which have been the best/worst grounds you've played at?
A. Best - Ibrox, there was a big rivalry at my time at Hearts with Rangers, Hibs and Celtic all battling it out. Worst is probably Alfreton in my Torquay days.
Q. Who have been the best players you've played with or against?
A. I once played against Raheem Sterling in a reserve game for Torquay against QPR, not long after that he got his move to Liverpool. The best I played with is probably Callum Paterson at Hearts, a Scottish international who is now at Cardiff City.
Q. What is the highest level you've played at, what is your aim longer term?
A. Scottish Premier League. I'd like to get back in to full time football again having now had 4 years of non-league football. I just want to play as high as I can.
Q. What attracted you to come and play for Braintree?
A. My relationship with Glen. I knew a bit about the club because of Brad and having played with the likes of Ricky Gabriel, Nathan McDonald, Mark Okoye and Billy Crook and following them on Twitter.
Q. You've been made captain, what do you bring to that role?
A. I've only been vice captain before, but playing under Glen, I can relay messages he wants. He knows what he'll get from me and I'm one of the most experienced.
Q. How difficult is it playing with virtually a new squad, have you experienced anything like it before?
A. No, not a complete squad. It was difficult pre-season as I never played with the same centre back and therefore couldn't form any sort of partnership. Now with Josh(Urquhart) and Michael (Clark) we can get settled and become more solid.
Q. There's also been a change of formation since pre-season with 3 centre backs and a change in style where we haven't constantly played out from the back; how has that come about?
A. We've played a formation that we thought would do well against Bath, playing 4-3-3 would have been to open. In pre-season it didn't matter about the results, so we tried to play out from the back. What we do now is play that way when it's appropriate.
Q. Do you know any of the lads from previous clubs, who have you bonded with?
A. Yes, Ade Cole from our time together at Leiston and Sean Bonnett-Johnson, Harry Osborne at Merstham.
Q. Two games in and no points on the board, how do you assess those first two games?
A. We've been close. Bath we conceded two unbelievable strikes. Billericay' it's been about fine margins, we were unlucky with the penalty awarded against us and with my miss-kick, I popped my toe as I landed just before I tried to clear it. They are also two big hitters in this League.
Q. Which player is the hardest to mark in training?
A. Jason Banton, he's very skilful.
Q. Where do you think Braintree will finish?
A. In and around the play-offs.

The Vanarama First Four - the Iron are off and underway and there's more to come!
Glen Driver: "Thank you to the Braintree supporters"
League sponsors Vanarama have been busy assessing the season so far - and what's to come!

So, the story so far . . .

How one result can change the outlook. It appeared a long season ahead after three defeats from three but a stunning 3-0 win at St Albans has people thinking again!

From the dugout . . .

Glen Driver dedicated his first win in charge to the fans, saying: "Thank you to the Braintree supporters, that win was for you. It's been a tough start for us but I'm proud of the players and to get my first win as manager of this great club."

Biggest result so far . . .

No question about it. Tuesday's convincing victory at Clarence Park could just prove to be the turning point.

Stat attack . . .
League position: 16th
Home goals for: 2
Away goals for: 3
Home goals against: 7
Away goals against: 2

What the supporters say . . .
Twitter was a happy place to be for the Iron faithful after that win in midweek.
"Quality performance and showed what this club is all about with entertaining football," wrote @Gaz1993
"Great away performance and something to build on" posted @Gavla69, while @barker69james added: "Onwards and upwards!"

Next up . . .
It's Eastbourne Borough at home on Saturday. The Sports have a five-point start and appear to be tough to beat.

Their one to watch . . .
Sergio Torres is always the man who makes things happen in the middle of the park.

We've met before . . .
The teams certainly have - and it's Braintree fans with the happy memories. In 2017, the Irons grabbed a 3-2 win both home and away against Eastbourne. Back in 2016, the Essex club put seven goals past them without reply!

League sponsors Vanarama have recently launched the National League Club Reward scheme to help fans back their club's budget. Every time a fan takes out a brand new van lease with Vanarama or a brand new car lease with Mototama their club will earn £100 and you will receive £30 cashback!

For the latest van leasing deals head to Vanarama.

For the latest car leasing deals head to Motorama.

The National League, Registered Office - 4th Floor, Waterloo House, 20 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5TB. Registered No: 3364308. Tel: 0121 643 3143.

Iron score three without reply
Driver: "Great to get that monkey off our backs"
Iron travelled to Clarence Park on Tuesday night in search of their first points of the season after three successive defeats. Manager Glen Driver made two changes to the starting line-up, with Adam Mills and Charley Barker coming in to replace Rob Harvey and Sean Bonnett-Johnson.
On a pleasant summer evening Iron started brightly. Ade Cole fired across the face of the goal early on. Five minutes later Mills raced through and looked certain to score, but Snedker reacted well in the home goal to save.
Mills was a constant thorn in the home team's side, and it was inevitably him that struck the opening blow. He twisted on the edge of the penalty area and fired high into the top corner of the net. Iron fans were still celebrating when just 90 seconds later their team struck again. This time it was the industrious Femi Akinwande who scored after bustling into the area down the right and firing in at the near post.
The visitors were good value for their half time lead but anticipated renewed effort from the hosts in the second half. Sure enough, St. Albans were very quickly out of the blocks and Iaciofano tested Johnson from 25 yards. Further chances came and went, with Iron digging deep. A deflected shot from Cole on 57 minutes was a rare moment of relief.
The closest scare came with 15 minutes to go. Hearts were in mouths as an almighty goalmouth scramble ensued. Josh Urquhart was on hand to desperately clear off the line.
With one minute left on the clock Michael Clark made the game safe for Iron. Substitute Alfie Cerulli broke forward with pace and shot from the edge of the box. His effort could not be held by Snedker and Clark was on hand to steer the rebound home.
It was the best possible way for the team to respond after the disappointing performance at the weekend against Wealdstone, and the team are up 6 places to 16th.
After the game Manager Glen Driver was pleased: "Great to get that monkey off our backs with our first points of the season. I changed it a little for tonight and I felt we looked compact and solid. Proud of the lads and I'm delighted with all three goals and for the fans who have seen a positive response to last Saturday. Looking ahead he added: "As a group we still have a lot of work to do, but our performance was encouraging. We'll build on this and we're already looking forward to Eastbourne on Saturday for what will be another tough test for us all." Team: Johnson, Urquhart, Saunders, Manesio, Clark, Hutchings, Cole, Barker (73m Bonnett-Johnson), Richardson (82m Cerulli), Akinwande (79m Harvey), A. Mills. Unused subs: Gipson, Charles. Attendance: 396.

Next up for the Iron is the visit of Eastbourne Borough this coming Saturday, 17th August, with kick off at 3pm.

Match Preview - Tuesday 13 August 2019
Vanarama National League South - St Albans City v Braintree Town
Last season St Albans City finished 9th in the Vanarama National League South. They are currently 16th on 2 points. Overall record: P 42 W 18 D 10 L 14 F 67 A 64 Points 64. Home: P 21 W 12 D 4 L 5 F 34 A 26 Points 40. Last 4 home: 2019/20 Drew 1-1 v Chippenham Town, (2018/19) Lost 0-4 v Torquay United, Won 2-1 v East Thurrock United, Won 3-1 v Chelmsford City. Top scorers (2018/19): David Moyo - 15, Ralston Gabriel - 12, Sam Merson - 9. Scorers 2019/20: Joe Iaciofano - 2. Form this season: DDL.
Braintree Town are currently 24th in the Vanarama National League with no points. 2018/19 Away: P 23 W 5 D 5 L 13 F 23 A 34 Pts 20. Last 4 away: 2019/20 Lost 2-0 v Bath City, (2018/19): Drew 0-0 v Leyton Orient, Won 0-2 v Maidstone United, Lost 3-1 v Wrexham. Scorers: 2019/20: Tom Richardson - 2. Form this season: LLL. Connections: Former Iron players Scott Shulton and Taylor Miles are now at City. Michael Clark played for City last season.
Our last visit to St Albans was on 2 April 2018 with the home side claiming a 2-1 victory. Josh Hill opened the scoring in the second minute. A free kick taken by Muleba in the centre circle found its way to Hill on the left corner of the penalty area and he placed a curling right footed shot off the far post and in. St Albans hit back in the second half with two Sam Merson strikes, the first slotting home a low cross from a corner at the near post. The second came with five minutes to play. A deep cross was neatly laid off by his strike partner and he placed his shot low into the bottom left corner of the net from 16 yards.
City's top scorer last season, David Moyo departed for Hamilton Academicals in the summer. He has been replaced by current top scorer Joe Iaciofano from Northampton Town. He is joined up front by much travelled striker Rhys Murrell-Williamson for whom this is his second spell at Clarence Park.
Neither side have been able to record a win in their opening three fixtures and will want to put that right. It's an early opportunity for the new Iron side to put things right following Saturday's disappointing result.

Too many basic mistakes for Iron
Driver: "It was a really disappointing performance"
Iron boss Glen Driver, like his team, were given a rude awakening by Wealdstone at Cressing Road on Saturday as they were simply on the end of a heavy four-goal defeat.
Apart from a bright, fifteen minutes spell just after half time Iron were second best for most of the match with a defence making many basic mistakes, a midfield on the day that could not impose themselves and two potentially goal-scorers up front starved of any genuine service.
Iron fans knew it was going to be a tough start playing three sides that did well last season to start their campaign but what will disappoint fans is that after an impressive display against Billericay Town in midweek, their side could follow that with a lack lustre, mistaken ridden performance.
But for some fine first half saves by home keeper Michael Johnson, Iron could easily have been three goals behind at the interval as they lacked cohesion or organisation throughout the side.
The visitors took the lead on 20 minutes when a sweeping, low left wing cross was turned into his own net by Ollie Saunders as he tried to clear the ball while up at the other end little was seen of the Iron attack against a vastly experienced visitors' rearguard.
Alfie Cerulli came on at half time for Ade Cole and Iron began to play some football. For a short period it looked as if they might get back into the game with Tom Richardson and Femi Akinwande working hard up front but missing the target or seeing efforts blocked.
After that bright spell it went from bad to worse for Iron as the visitors took a grip of the game and they scored their second goal on 73 minutes through Danny Green who waltzed around three flat-footed Iron defenders to slip the ball past the exposed Johnson.
The visitors kept pressing hard and soon added to their goal tally with Green again finding the net on 83 minutes and Billy Clifford firing home his side's fourth on 87 minutes which was a fair reflection on day.
So plenty of thinking for manager Driver who said: "It was a really disappointing performance where again we created our own downfall by making so many individual mistakes and you can't afford to that at our level. We've clearly plenty of work to do and I am confident we will make progress."
Braintree Town: Johnson; Harvety, Saunders, Urquahart, Clark; Hutchings, Cole (45 Cerulli), Bonnet-Johnson, Manesio (73 Mills); Richardson, Akinwande. Unused subs: Gipson, Folarin, Barker. Attendance: 428

Next up for the Iron is a trip to St Albans City this coming Tuesday, 13th August, with kick off at 7.45pm.

Match Preview - Saturday 10 August 2019
Braintree Town v Wealdstone
Last season, Wealdstone finished 7th in the Vanarama National League South. In the play-offs they won 3-1 at Bath City before losing 3-2 to Woking in the semi-final. Their overall record last season was: P 42 W 18 D 12 L 12 F 62 A 50 Points 66. Their away record last season was P 21 W 9 D 7 L 5 F 31 A 19 Points 34. Top scorers last season: David Pratt - 12, Bradley Bubb - 8, Dan Green - 7. Scorers 2019/20 - Ross Lafayette - 2, Connor Stevens & Own goal - 1. Last 4 away results 2019/20 Lost 1-0 v Dulwich Hamlet, (2018/19): Won 0-3 v Chelmsford C, Lost 2-1 v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Lost 3-2 v Torquay United.
Braintree Town home record last season: P 23 W 6 D 3 L 14 F 25 A 44 Points 21. Braintree Town last 4 home results 2019/20 Lost 2-3 v Billericay Town, (2018/19): Won 2-0 v Dagenham & Redbridge, Won 2-1 v AFC Fylde, Won 2-0 v Gateshead. Scorers 2019/20 - Tom Richardson - 2. Connections: Former Iron left back, Jerome Okimo, has now made over 100 appearances in two spells for the Stones.
Like the Iron, Wealdstone are under new management after parting company with Bobby Wilkinson in May 2019. Taking over the reins is former Hemel Hempstead manager Dave Brennan. Signing from Billericay Town are Michee Efete, Billy Clifford, Connor Smith and Ross Lafayette. Other new signings include goalkeeper Aston Oxborough, Nick Arnold, Afolabi Coker, Jacob Mendy, Matthew Saunders, Michael Phillips, Dejon Noel-Williams and Sanchez Watt. Last meeting at Cressing Road: 10 March 2018 Braintree Town 2 Wealdstone 2. Iron held a two goal lead at half time courtesy of a Luke Allen strike from close range and a Billy Crook penalty after the keeper brought down Dan Thompson. Two goals in six second half minutes from Matt Whichelow, cutting in from the left and firing home from the edge of the box and a Dan Green penalty awarded when McDonald was judged to have tripped David Pratt saw the visitors take home a point. Wealdstone went down one nil to Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday evening after an impressive opening day home victory over Dartford by four goals to one. Meanwhile, Braintree lost by the odd goal in five to neighbours Billericay Town on Tuesday. With no points on the board for Driver's new look team, he'll have the boys focused on changing that come Saturday evening.

Talking to Glen Driver
The club needs to build a foundation
DOB: 25/4/74 (45) Born: Ipswich
Q. What is your job?
A. I have my own business- FGH MotorHomes
Q. Who do you support?
A. Ipswich Town
Q. What are you likes -
Music - Barry White, Soul & Reggae
Food - Indian, Mexican, Chinese
TV/Film - Only Fools & Horses
Q. Which Social Media do you use?
A. Twitter and Instagram
Q. Tell me about your own playing career?
A. Didn't really start playing until I was 18 as I'd go to watch Ipswich. I played 5-a-side and junior football, scored lots of gaols but only played when Ipswich were away. I ended up at Needham Market, scored 39 for them. Then I gad trails at Norwich City, Ipswich Town, Peterborough United and Northampton Town. I had the opportunity to go to Sweden and play for Malmo who were managed by Frank Thijssen at the time, but turned it down, which I later regretted. I then met Tony Kinsella, scored a few for Harwich, then Witham where I netted 39 goals in 2 different seasons, playing off a target man, running in behind. I also played for Stanway. I had 3 seasons scoring 39 goals, missed a penalty in one of those seasons which would've given me the 40.
Q. Tell me about your career so far as a manager?
A. I went straight into management at 39 with Ipswich Exiles. I was then player manager at Leiston, took 5 years out, came back to manage Felixstowe and Walton. Had more time off before going back to Leiston at step 3.
Q. You have brought in Tony Kinsella as your assistant; tell me about your relationship with him and what he'll bring to the club.
A. He's like a brother to me, I have total trust in him and learned so much from him. He encourages me to be positive and believe in my playing philosophy. He keeps me and the players grounded and wants to see me do well. He'll run sessions that will mirror our game plan and help to bring attractive football to the club.
Q. The club has had 6 different managers over the last 4 seasons of ups and downs after a period of stability of management and squad under Alan Devonshire. What is your aim?
A. The club needs to build a foundation, it has no reserve side but has three different youth set ups. We need to promote players through the youth/reserve system. At Leiston we had U10, 12, 14, 16 & 18 sides in place bringing players through. We want to bring stability to the club. Previous managers may have been head hunted, or scared of the work needed to do here. Everyone needs to be patient while we put things into place. We've done it before at Felixstowe and Leiston
Q. How have you settled in at Braintree?
A. Settled in well, I've worked hard, looked at 45 players and agents are always wanting me to look at more. I've spoken to Premier and Championship clubs to bring in player that fit our philosophy.
Q. What have you made of our friendlies?
A. Newmarket and Coggeshall, too many players and changes, so didn't really learn much in those games. Against West Ham I thought that we passed the ball as well as they did and our fitness levels were good. Against Brentford, they were a strong team with 7 players who'd played in the Championship. We made too many mistakes but did continue to try and pass the ball.
Q. You come to Braintree with players leaving and an affordable budget, how do you put together a team from scratch, what size squad do you think you need/can attain?
A. I'm looking to have a squad of 16/17. I identify players who are new and want to play for us. I've known a lot of them from the Bostik Premier League. A lot of them want to play for me, they are hungry players who want to well and progress their careers. A lot of them are Suffolk based where we've previously had lads based around London.
Q. The players you have signed, are any on contracts, if not, we've seen before at this level the better players or those not getting picked regularly leave. How easy/difficult is it to build a strong team under those circumstances?
A. This is a club of opportunities and a shop window. Players come here knowing that there'll be scouts here, more radio and newspaper coverage. I would hope that if players are wanted by other clubs that they would sign a contract so they can reward the club that has given them that opportunity.
Q. You have so far brought in quite a lot of players from a lower level, does that reduce expectations on where we may finish?
A. No, not at all. What we lack in experience we make up for with hunger. At Leiston we played Billericay Town and beat them 4-1 because we were hungrier than them. They will have to work hard for the badge and to keep the shirt. The players want to do well and push on in their careers.
Q. The opening month of the season sees us play 8 games, 24 points up for grabs. How do you assess our opening fixtures?
A. I don't set points targets; we take each game as it comes. Whatever points tally we get, we will be where we deserve to be in the table. Some of those early games may be a good time to play them with lots of new players. We may on occasions need to be more cautious.
Q. You have said you're looking for the team to play out from the back and that you're not interested in a player's height or age. In recent seasons we've conceded many goals from set pieces and corners and found it hard to contain those teams with a target man, how can you counter that threat?
A. We will have ways and means of dealing with that. We do have players who are good in the air. Our goalkeeper is brave and will come for crosses and talks to those around him. If you look at Barcelona and Man City, they're not big sides, but you don't see them conceding many goals at corners and free kicks.
Q. Do you have a favoured formation, does/will the squad have the flexibility to adapt to different systems?
A. Football is about players not systems and our squad will be able to adapt to different positions and systems when required.
Q. Do you know who is to be captain, what are his qualities/what will he bring to the side?
A. Yes I know who my captain and vice-captain are. He'll be young, a talker, leader, hungry and demanding.
Q. What would you define as a successful season?
A. Fourth from bottom. But then I said the same thing in my time at Leiston where we finished 5th and 6th!

Iron impress despite defeat
Driver's work in progress showing positive signs
Iron were unlucky not to have earned at least a point from this clash at Cressing Road on Tuesday against Essex neighbours Billericay Town in what was an entertaining game for both sets of fans.
Despite taking the lead on 12 minutes with a Club debut headed goal for young striker Tom Richardson, the visitors equalised through a rather dubious penalty on 16 minutes scored by the experienced Matt Rhead.
With Iron playing all the attractive football going forward they, at times, severely tested the visitors' rearguard while young teenager Jayden Gipson, deputising for newly signed defender Josh Urquhart, had an excellent game in the heart of the Iron back-line.
For long periods, Iron looked the more comfortable side on the ball with the visitors playing the long, high ball up front to Rhead an arch exponent of holding it up and laying it off to team mates.
The more experienced visitors grabbed the lead on the hour through Moses Emmanuel but within two minutes Iron were level with a brilliant header from Richardson.
Both sides traded attacks in the latter stages of the game but it was the visitors who snatched what would turn out to be the winner on 70 minutes when defender Charlie Wassmer raced into the Iron box unmarked and headed home a right wing cross.
Undeterred, Iron again came back strongly and young substitute Charley Barker went close with a header that just dropped over the bar.
Despite a flurry of attacks by the Iron in time added on, that illusive equaliser never came but it was again another vastly improved performance from Iron which bodes well for the future.
Manager Glen Driver was full of praise for his team's 90 minutes of effort adding: "I felt we played all the football on the night and there are small margins in winning or losing but I thought we had done enough for a draw.
"We've done remarkably well to have put a team together from scratch in seven weeks and play so well against an expensively assembled experienced side," he continued. "But we do have to defend better because we gave them two goals when we should have done better.
"We also need to have more players going forward and scoring goals but it's something we are working on and we are making progress," he added. "It will take a little time but I felt we were better for the whole of the 90 minutes compared to Saturday's opening game when we only really competed in the first half."
Braintree Town: Johnson; Harvey, Saunders (76 Mills), Gipson, Clark,; Hutchings, Cole, Bonnet-Johnson (79 Cerulli), Banton (60 Barker); Richardspn, Akinwande. Unused subs: Clements, Folarin. Attendance: 868

Next up for the Iron is another home game this coming Saturday against Wealdstone, kick off 3pm.

Match Preview - Tuesday 6 August 2019
Braintree Town v Billericay Town
Last season, Billericay Town finished 8th in the Vanarama National League South. Their overall record last season was: P 42 W 19 D 8 L 15 F 72 A 65 Points 65. Their away record last season was P 21 W 9 D 5 L 7 F 40 A 32 Points 32. Top scorers last season: Moses Emmanuel - 25, Jake Robinson - 16 Adam Coombes - 13. Last 4 away results (2018/19): Lost 2-1 v Dartford, Won 1-4 v Gloucester City, Drew 2-2 v Dulwich Hamlet, Lost 2-1 v Slough Town.
Braintree Town home record last season: P 23 W 6 D 3 L 14 F 25 A 44 Points 21. Braintree T last 4 home results (2018/19): Won 2-0 v Dagenham & Redbridge, Won 2-1 v AFC Fylde, Won 2-0 v Gateshead, Lost 2-4 v Bromley.
Both sides had contrasting outcomes on the opening day of the 2019/20 season with Billericay Town winning one-nil in time added on at home to Eastbourne Borough, whilst Braintree went down to two early second half goals at Bath City. Our Essex neighbours have been busy in the summer enlisting new recruits after falling short of the play-offs last season. Amongst those new signings is former Lincoln City front man and well known to Braintree Town fans - Matt Rhead. They have also picked up Doug Loft a midfielder released by Shrewsbury Town, former Hemel skipper and top scoring midfielder Jordan Parkes, defenders Craig Robson, Gavin Gunning, Ronnie Henry, Ben Nunn and Charlie Wassmer. This will be a big test for Glen and the boys in the first Essex derby of the season. They should be encouraged by their first half performance at Bath where they had the better chances. Let's get behind the boys and help turn Cressing Road into a home fortress.

Iron can't match Bath second half
15 minute spell ended Iron hopes of a point.
A 15 minute spell at the start of the second half by home side Bath City, in which they scored two goals in three minutes ended Iron hopes of returning home from Twerton Park with a point on Saturday.
It was a disappointment too for new manager Glen Driver who had seen his entirely new team play well in the first half against the much fancied home side promotion candidates but conceding those two quick goals - from Tom Smith on 47 minutes and substitute Ross Stearn three minutes later - took the steam out of the Iron from which they never really recovered.
With two late central defender signings - Josh Urquhart from Billericay and the returning Michael Clark from St. Albans - Iron looked strong in defence and despite most of the players having not played together pre-season they put in a really creditable first half showing.
The Iron should have taken the lead on 15 minutes when a quickly taken free-kick by Urquhart in the centre circle saw the ball sail towards to the home goal where back-pedalling keeper Ryan Clarke just managed to get a hand on the ball pushing on to the crossbar.
The rebound fell kindly straight to the feet of the unmarked striker Tom Richardson but with a gaping goal in front of the youngster, he put the ball straight into the hands of Clarke and had he scored would have been a great early confidence booster for Iron.
After such a promising first half, Iron were caught cold when City changed format to 4-4-2 at half time and bringing on Stearn, their top scorer last season, who effectively took control of the midfield and set up several good home attacks while Iron's midfield, so dominant in the first period, lost their way.
Once two goals down and despite using all three substitutes to try and regain that first half initiative, Iron failed to make real impact on the home rearguard and it was City who ran out deserved winners on the day.
With a new team it will take players a while to gel and get to know one another and also play the way Driver and his coaching staff want Iron to perform. Despite the outcome, this was still a commendable performance bearing in mind a month ago Iron had few players signed.
"It was disappointing that after such a tremendous first half we never reached the same heights in the second half," Driver declared afterwards. "But with time and patience we will get better and even from this game there we can take many positives.
"Had we taken that clear first half scoring chance it would have been a different game and different outcome," he continued. "The midfield didn't work as hard and close down in the second half as they did in the first and it's something we have to instil in all the players that you have to do it for 90 minutes and not 45 minutes."
He added: "You can't afford to give players at this level time and space or you will get punished as we did in that second period. But it's work in progress and whilst the youngsters did well obviously we need to bring in a couple with the kind of experience that Josh and Michael have at this level because they make such a big difference at the back in this game."
Braintree Town: Johnson; Folarin (62 Mills), Urquhart, Clarke, Saunders; Hutchings, Bonnet-Johnson (64 Banton),Manesio, Cole; Richardson (64 Ceruli), Akinwande. Unused subs: Clements, Harvey. Attendance: 789.

Next up for the Iron is a home game against Billericay Town on Tuesday, kick off 7.45pm.

Match Preview - Saturday 3 August 2019
Vanarama National League South - Bath City v Braintree Town
In 2018/19 Bath City finished 5th in the Vanarama National League South. They made the play-offs losing 1-2 at home to Wealdstone. Overall record: P 42 W 20 D 11 L 11 F 58 A 36 Pts 71. Home: P 21 W 12 D 4 L 5 F 33 A 18 Pts 40. Last 4 home (2018/19): Won 1-0 v Oxford City, Lost 0-3 v St Albans City, Drew 1-1 v Woking, Drew 1-1 v Wealdstone. Top scorers (2018/19): Ross Stearn - 14, Ryan Brunt - 10, Adam Mann - 9. Their manager Jerry Gill was appointed in October 2017. He is an ex-player, playing for them 1990-96. Earlier in his career he played for Birmingham C for five seasons. City had the best defence with only 36 goals conceded all season.
In 2018/19 Braintree Town finished 23rd in the Vanarama National League. Overall record: P46 W11 D8 L27 F 48 A 78 Pts 38. Away: P 23 W 5 D 5 L 13 F 23 A 34 Pts 20. Last 4 away (2018/19): Drew 0-0 v Leyton Orient, Won 0-2 v Maidstone U, Lost 3-1 v Wrexham, Lost 2-1 v Solihull Moors. Top scorers: Mo Bettamer, Reece Grant - 6 Callum Morton, Korrey Henry - 5
Our last visit to Bath was on 21 October 2017 with the teams playing out a 1-1 draw. The home side were awarded a penalty in the second half after a push by Mark Okoye, but Nathan McDonald saved Jarvis's effort down to his left. George Rigg eventually gave the home side the lead on 79 minutes, shooting from distance, his shot appeared to catch the outstretched boot of Luke Allen and looped over McDonald. The Iron equalised 6 minutes later, Frimpong carrying the ball through centre midfield, he fed Bithmoutine on the left and his low cross was met 6 yards out by Oliyide. In stoppage time, goal scorer Rigg was shown a second yellow and given his marching orders for a foul on Roberts. After an unbeaten last month of the season, Iron manager Danny Searle was tempted away to take up the reins at a reprieved Aldershot Town. The Club has turned to former Leiston manager Glen Driver as the Iron attempt to bounce back to the National League for the second time in three seasons. It's a new season, in a new League with a new manager and new players, many of whom are stepping up the League hierarchy. It's a tough opening fixture for the young Iron squad in the Roman city of Bath; let's hope the boys make their own history.

Meet - Tony Kinsella
DOB: 30/10/61 (57) Born: Orsett
Football career: Millwall (x2), Tampa Bay Rowdies, Ipswich T, Enfield, Doncaster Rovers, Chelmsford City
Position: Centre Midfield, 2 Eire U21 caps, also called up to full squad but had to withdraw due to injury.
Likes: Music - Food - Indian
TV/Film - Only Fools and Horses
Social Media - Facebook
Q. Tell me about your footballing career
A. I played in the FA Youth Cup final with Millwall, made my fell debut for them at 17 against Wrexham. I was in the promotion side there under George Graham from League 3 to League 2.
I went to America when Millwall needed to raise some cash, the Tampa manager was Gordon Jago who had been my manager at Millwall. I also played under Bobby Robson at Ipswich, joining them in 1981 (the year Villa won the League)
Q. Who were the best players you played with?
A. I played against George Best in the USA. The best players I played with were at Ipswich, there were some great players there, but I would say Arnold Muhren was the best.
Q. How/why did you get into coaching?
A. I had to retire as a player through injury at 27. So I did my coaching badges, then started out at Colchester United side of excellence, before moving on to Ipswich Town Academy working with Brain Klug
Q. How long have you known Glen and what has he asked you to do in your role?
A. I've known him about 25 years; I had him as a player at Witham. We remained close friends and whenever he's been a manager, he's asked me along to assist him. I do the coaching here.
Q. How have you settled in here?
A. I like it here; it's similar to our time at Leiston. There's not a massive budget and it's a challenge. At Leiston we built a young successful side and hope to do the same here.
Q. It's a new squad that's being built here, how long will it take to get them to gel together?
A. How long's a piece of string? I think it's going to take a good few months to get things in to shape, to get the players knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses. We've had lots of trialists signed and released a few. The club needs a time of stability and a good foundation like we built at Leiston.
Q. You've had a lot of players to look over pre-season, what are you looking for?
A. Young hungry players with good attitudes. Players who are willing to listen and learn.
Q. What have you made of the friendlies?
A. Pre-season with so many comings and goings, I think we've done well to get down to 20 players within a month to choose from. There have been some decent games and hard tests like the Brentford game.
Q. Where do we need to improve before the season starts?
A. We need to settle on a system, work on players in training and let them know what we want from them in the system. The first thing we look for is attitude and work ethic.
Q. With 8 games in August, where would you like/expect us to be?
A. We couldn't have asked for a harder start with three of last season's play-off contenders. If we can consolidate and be in mid table, we will have done well.
Q. What expectations do you have for this team?
A. We want to see players improve.
Q. What challenges do you think this League holds?
A. Many, lots of big clubs with big budgets, but the challenges don't phase us, just enjoy it.
Q. Which games are you looking forward to?
A. The local derbies, big crowds and a good atmosphere.
Q. Which teams do you think will be challenging for promotion?
A. Billericay Town, Bath City both spending in pre-season. Wealdstone and Havant & Waterlooville, Maidstone United.
Q. Where do you think Braintree can finish?
A. With a young squad I'm hoping we can finish mid-table and then build on it.
Q. Any message for the fans?
A. I hope they enjoy the season. We'll put out a team that will give 100%. We may sometimes get found out but the players will work hard for the club.

Driver bolsters Braintree squad
Iron boss adds eight!

Braintree manager Glen Driver completed a busy week by adding eight additional players to his squad.

Forward Jason Banton joins from Truro City, where he spent last season on loan from Torquay United. The 27 year old forward/winger was an England under-17 international and had a number of clubs as a young player, spending time at Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool and Leicester City, before making his debut in the Football League at Burton Albion in October 2011. He signed with Crystal Palace in 2012, and was loaned out to Plymouth Argyle and Milton Keynes Dons before joining Plymouth permanently in January 2014. He signed with Wycombe Wanderers in June 2015, and spent a brief time on loan at Hartlepool United. On 13 February 2016 he signed for Notts County until the end of the 2015-16 season, he was released by Notts at the end of the season and signed for Crawley Town, subsequently going on loan to Scottish Premiership side Partick Thistle. At the end of the 2016-17 season Banton was released by Crawley and joined National League Woking. On 20 June 2018 he joined Gary Owers' National League South challengers Torquay United and had loan spells last season at St. Albans City and Dulwich Hamlet.

Femi Akinwande joins the Club from Concord Rangers. The 23-year old striker spent nine years with the Millwall academy before joining Dartford in 2013. After having trials for Brentford and Crystal Palace, Akinwande signed for Fisher in January 2015. He then moved to Maldon & Tiptree for the 2015-16 season, and after 12 goals in 18 appearances, he joined Colchester United's Academy on a development contract until the end of the season. He made his professional Football League debut in March 2016. He later joined Bishop's Stortford, made a return to Maldon & Tiptree, and played for East Thurrock United on loan in the 2016-17 season. He was released by Colchester in May 2017 and returned to East Thurrock before moving on to Concord Rangers.

Michael Clark has re-joined the Club after spending last season at Concord Rangers. The centreA centre half who will be 22 in September, captained the Leyton Orient youth team during the 2015-16 campaign. In his first season as a pro, Clark was sent on loan to East Thurrock United at the start of the 2016-17 season, making 33 appearances in all competitions and scoring four goals. Clark was recalled from his loan and drafted into the Leyton Orient first team squad in February 2017, and made his debut as a second-half substitute for Tom Parkes in the 1-0 league defeat at home to Cheltenham Town on 25 February 2017. A second loan spell at East Thurrock was announced in December 2017, before Clark agreed to switch to Cressing Road last summer.

Ollie Saunders joins the Club from Grimsby Town, where he joined as part of the Club's 2017 intake of youth players. At home as either a left back or on the left side of midfield, Ollie is nineteen in November and has impressed manager Glen Driver with some assured performances in pre-season.

Adam Mills started his career as a youngster with Needham Market before joining both Maldon & Tiptree and Sudbury. A mobile wide player, Adam then rejoined Needham two years ago before training with Braintree during pe-season. The 22-year old winger/striker is another to have impressed Glen Driver with his performances in the friendlies.

Josh Urquhart has joined the Club from Billericay Town, having previously been with Wealdstone - who he left in the summer of 2018. Josh made over 50 appearances for the club and lifted the Essex Senior Cup, Isthmian League Cup and Isthmian League title. Although he prefers a midfield role, Josh successfully played in a full back role for much of last season. The 28-year old has also played for St. Albans City, East Thurrock and Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Emmanuel Folarin has signed for the club from neighbours Coggeshall Town. The 27-year old defender has also had spells with Tilbury, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley and Hayes & Yeading.

Charley Barker is a twenty-year old midfielder who has joined the Club from Isthmian League Premier Division side Haringey Borough, where he was a regular in the North London's successful side. Prior to his spell at White Hart Lane, Charley started his career at Leyton Orient, before spending time at Cheltenham Town.

Vanarama National League South fan preview
Braintree season ticket holder Vaughan Creer has all the answers!
League sponsors Vanarama have been getting the fans' perspective ahead of the new season - which kicks off this Saturday ...

We're nearly there - the new season is upon us - what have Braintree fans got to look forward to?
When Glen Driver was appointed, he exclaimed his desire to bring a positive footballing philosophy and a bracket of entertaining football, and many players have expressed their excitement to play under Glen. This certainly will be something to look forward to for us fans.

New manager, new players and a new division. How do the fans feel the new-look Iron are taking shape?
It's hard to tell at the moment, with our pre-season outings consisting of many trialists, however a lot of players seem to bond well with their team-mates and their manager. Players like Trey Charles, Tom Richardson and Michael Johnson have already played well and will look to carry this form on to the season.

What's been his best bit of business this summer?
I would say Tom Richardson is a fantastic addition to our squad. With four goals already in pre-season, he's impressed everyone after coming up from a lower division. I admire his desire to work as hard as he can in pressured situations.

Who will be your one to watch coming August 3?
Our one to watch has to be Alfie Cerulli, our only player from last season who has signed on for this year. He's a young striker who played five times last season, coming on as a substitute he scored two goals against Gateshead and Dagenham, and we hope his goals will start to tally up when the season begins. One of our own, as they say.

Who are the other sides to watch out for and could be in the promotion mix?
A real threat for promotion this year will be Billericay Town, if Glenn Tamplin continues to give them significant financial boosts and signing top-tier players, they will most definitely be looking to go up this year.

What away day can't you wait for?
I'm looking forward to visiting Dartford's Princes Park this year, as they are renowned for their well-kept ground. I'm hoping we can recreate some memories of the play-off semi-final from two years back.

And what game would you like to win more than any other?
Obviously it's Chelmsford City. Two years ago when we played each other, both fixtures ended in a 2-2 draw, so hopefully we'll come out on top this year.

What opposition player would you most like to see in your side - and what makes him so good?
Billy Crook would be great to have back, a creative midfielder who could get forward and defend, plus a calm penalty taker also.

Vanarama, the leading van leasing brand in the UK, have recently launched the National League Club Reward Scheme to help fans back their club's budget. Every time a fan takes out a brand new van lease with Vanarama or a brand new car lease with Motorama their club will earn £100 and you will receive £30 cashback.

Second best after break in final friendly
King's Lynn good value for two-goal victory
Iron wrapped up their pre-season friendlies losing to newly promoted National League North side King's Lynn at the Cressing Road on Saturday in what was a keenly fought encounter but one that left both managers with food for thought before the league officially kicks off next Saturday.
In a fairly even first half both sides hit each others woodwork twice and there were goal scoring chances at either end with Iron keeper Michael Johnson pulling off a great 18th minute save from Andy Marriott while, up at the other end on the half hour, Tom Richardson came closest to opening the Iron account but when clear on goal he lobbed his shot high over the bar.
Iron's Jason Banton did get the ball into the Lynn net shortly afterwards but the referee penalised him for fouling keeper Alex Street.
The second half belonged to the visitors who upped their game and with the Iron making a total of seven changes during the half the team lost their way with poor passing, slack marking and a lack of cohesion.
So it was no surprise when on 64 minutes former Iron striker Michael Gash picked up a poor pass out of the Iron defence and punished the home side by driving the ball hard and low goalwards which keeper Johnson managed to get a hand to it but couldn't prevent it from going into the net.
Four minutes later the visitors added a second albeit with a slice of luck when a low, right cross from substitute Aaron Jones clipped the back of Iron defender Ollie Saunders diverting the ball past Johnson who was caught wrong-footed.
The visitors continued to control the game and could have scored again while at the other end the Iron's best attempts were from substitutes Alfie Cerulli and Adam Mills who fired first time shots wide of the target.
The result and performance leaves Iron manager Glen Driver and his back room team with some thinking and action before Saturday's opening day match against Bath City.
Braintree Town: Johnson; Osborne (Forest, trialist), Saunders, Hutchings, Gipson; Cole, Bonnet-Johnson, Manesio, Banton; Richardson, Akinwande.
Second half substitutes: Mills, Cerulli, Charles, Osie, Michael-Percil, Harvey, Clements.

Next up is the start of the 2019/2020 National League South season, next Saturday 3rd August, and a trip to Bath City's Twerton Park Stadium, with kick-off at 3pm.

Odd goal in three win at Maldon
Two goals either side on home penalty
Iron returned from Maldon on Tuesday evening with a hard fought win, writes Jon Weaver. Tom Richardson was the first to show, shooting just wide after four minutes from 20 yards. Rob Harvey came closest to scoring in the opening half, finishing an intricate move with a flick that rolled just past the upright. The home side created several openings, with Michael Johnson coming to their rescue with several fine saves.
Braintree made six changes at the break and the second half began with a goalless draw looking the most likely outcome. Maldon came closest when Johnson saved twice in quick succession, while at the other end Cerulli and Michael-Percil both spurned one on one opportunities.
After 67 minutes Michael-Percil played in Cerulli. His shot was palmed into the path of Akinwande who headed into the net for Braintree, but was judged to have been offside. Braintree got the breakthrough four minutes later. Ollie Saunders surged down the left wing and drilled a low ball across the goal for Akinwande to convert from close range.
With eight minutes left Iron conceded a needless penalty, which was converted by the home side.
But it only took a minute for Iron to regain their advantage with what turned out to be the winning goal. Akinwande broke through on the right and slid the ball back into the path of Mills who struck the decisive blow.
TEAM: 1 Michael Johnson 2 Harry Osbourne 3 Trey Charles (18 Ollie Saunders) 14 Jermaine Osei (16 Ade Cole) 5 Jake Hutchings 6 Kyran Clements 7 Rob Harvey (20 Roman Michael-Percil) 8 Sean Bonnett-Johnson (16 Sergio Manesio) 9 Tom Richardson (19 Femi Akinwande) 10 Tom Murphy (12 Adam Mills) 11 Jason Banton (17 Alfie Cerulli).

Iron conclude their preparations on Saturday when King's Lynn Town visit the Cressing Road Stadium at 3pm.

Patience rewarded at Bury
Three goal win for Braintree
Roman Michael-Percil appeared in a Braintree shirt for the first time since the 2018 play-off final, as Iron travelled to meet Bury Town in their fifth pre-season fixture, writes Jon Weaver.
Nineteen players were used, although for the first time no new faces were seen. On a warm afternoon, Iron started well and knocked the ball around with purpose, while also cutting out the individual errors that have proved so costly in recent games.
The first chance of the game came after eight minutes. Bury's Ross Crane struck at the far post but his low shot was held by Johnson. Gipson was commanding in the centre of defence until going off injured after 35 minutes and the experienced Jason Banton was busy with probing runs and intelligent passes. Up front clear chances were few and far between and half time arrived with no goals scored.
The remaining seven substitutes all came on at the break and Iron began to get on top. After 52 minutes a poor back pass was pounced on by Alfie Cerulli. As he sped into the penalty area he was closed down by Ollie Fenn and forced to drag his shot agonisingly wide of the upright. Soon after, a sublime through ball from Cerulli set Jermaine Osie up but his low effort was saved by Norwich City loanee keeper, Daniel Barden.
A goal was coming and it duly arrived on the hour. Ade Cole delivered an accurate low cross with pace into the danger area, giving Cerulli the simple task of applying the finishing touch, via the underside of the crossbar. Six minutes later Braintree had doubled their lead. Cerulli was again involved, employing neat footwork before setting up Ade Cole to crash the ball into the top corner from outside the box.
With 13 minutes to go the hosts were awarded a penalty. Protests from Iron's Trey Charles earned him the first yellow card of the season. Bury's young substitute in the no. 14 shirt stepped up to take the kick but struck the inside of the post. The ball rebounded to him and his second attempt was saved by Johnson before the second rebound was converted. The officials initially seemed to disallow the goal, and then gave it. Confused spectators watched on as discussions were held before the restart and ultimately the correct decision was made to disallow the goal as the taker had touched the ball twice before any other player had played it.
There was still time for Iron to add a third goal to round off their most satisfying pre-season performance to date. An effort from Cerulli was diverted by Fenn into Aaron Lamont's path and he found the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards.
TEAM FIRST HALF - 1 Michael Johnson 2 Harry Osbourne 3 Ollie Saunders 4 Sergio Manesio 5 Kyran Clements 6 Jayden Gipson (5 George Essuman) 7 Roman Michael-Percil 8 Sean Bonnett-Johnson 9 Tom Richardson 10 Femi Akinwande 11 Jason Banton.
SECOND HALF TEAM - 1 Michael Johnson 2 Harry Osbourne 19 Trey Charles 15 George Essuman (3 Ollie Saunders) 5 Kyran Clements NN - Rob Harvey 16 Ade Cole 12 Aaron Lamont 17 Alfie Cerulli 20 Jermaine Osie 14 Adam Mills.

Next up for Braintree is the short trip to Park Drive this coming Tuesday evening to play Maldon & Tiptree, which kicks off at 7.45pm.

Brentford XI impress against Iron
West London side win 4-0
Iron entertained a young Brentford side at Cressing Road Stadium on Tuesday evening, again fielding a different team in each half. Iron almost scored after 8 minutes when Adams Mills' long range effort was tipped away for a corner by Sheppard in the visitors' goal. The slick moving West Londoners enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and Titon and Onen had tame efforts saved by Johnson.
The opening goal was gifted to the visitors, with Iron losing possession in front of goal and being swiftly punished by a trialist. Two minutes later Onen doubled the score and Iron went in at the interval two down.
Ten changes were made at half time, with Johnson once again the only player to stay on. Braintree restarted purposefully and both Trey Charles and Alfie Cerulli shot just wide from distance. In the 57th minute the ball was given away cheaply in midfield, with Brentford's Onen dribbling into the area and finishing well.
Brentford's Brissell completed the scoring with 17 minutes to go. Iron continued to create chances. Both Akinwande and Cole narrowly missed before a strong run and drive by Cole caused Andersson to pull off a good save.
Next up for Braintree is a trip to Ram Meadow on Saturday to play Bury Town at 3pm.
TEAM FIRST HALF - 1 Michael Johnson 2 Harry Osbourne 3 Charlie Banya 4 Tyler Christian-Law 5 Jake Hutchings 6 Kyron Clements 7 Sean Bonnett-Johnson 8 Aaron Lamont 9 Tom Richardson 10 Adam Mills 11 Jason Banton.
SECOND HALF - 1 Michael Johnson 15 Rob Harvey 18 Ollie Saunders 12 Jayden Gipson 14 George Essuman, Sergio Manesio, 16 Ade Cole 20 Jermaine Osie 17 Alfie Cerulli, Femi Akinwande, 19 Trey Charles.

Braintree all square with West Ham
Mills lob puts Iron ahead before late leveller
Braintree were faced with very strong opposition on Friday night when West Ham United Under 23's visited the Cressing Road Stadium. The majority of the game was played in Braintree's half, with Iron battling well to stay in the game. They actually took the lead in the 15th minute when a clearance from goalkeeper Anang only went as far as Adam Mills on the edge of the penalty area and he coolly lobbed the ball back into the net. Iron's Michael Johnson was kept busy throughout and pulled off several fine saves as his team reached half time still ahead.
West Ham changed their whole team early in the second half and within 15 minutes Braintree had made 8 changes. The one way traffic continued, with Johnson pulling off more saves and wayward finishing on occasions coming to his rescue. The fast moving Premier League youngsters were giving Iron a very hard workout and were carving out chance of chance. It was beginning to look as if Braintree would pull off an unlikely victory but with just three minutes remaining a wayward backpass from Harry Osbourne was picked up by Adarkwa who drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
The game proved to be an excellent challenge for the new Braintree side and in the circumstances they can be very pleased with the 1-1 draw.
TEAM - 1 Michael Johnson, 2 Harry Osbourne, 3 Ollie Saunders, 4 Sean Bonnett-Johnson (12 Jayden Gipson), 5 Jake Hutchings (14 Kyron Clements), 6 George Essuman (18 Ikeche Eze), 7 Sergio Manesio (15 Aaron Lamont), 8 Ade Cole (Jermain Osie), 9 Tom Richardson (17 Alfie Cerulli), 10 Femi Akinwande (19 Trey Charles), 11 Adam Mills (16 Rob Harvey).

Next up for Iron is another pre-season match at home to a Brentford XI this coming Tuesday evening, 16th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Admission to this match is just £5 for adults and £3 for OAPs and U18s.

Iron work hard to match Coggeshall
Richardson scores brace again
Tuesday evening saw a rare first team meeting at Cressing Road between Braintree Town and Coggeshall Town for a pre-season friendly. The last one had been in 1976! As with Saturday's trip to Newmarket Town, Iron once again played a different side in each half. To their credit they kept trying to play out from the back and pass up the pitch but the well-organised Coggeshall side had the better of the opening exchanges.
Coggeshall deserved their 33rd minute lead but when it came there was a touch of good fortune about it. Iron's Ikeche Eze was blatantly pushed over in the build up but referee Rob Whitton allowed play to continue and seconds later Michael Johnson upended Dobson to concede a penalty. Johnson then saved the penalty but the ball ran loose to Allen who returned the ball for Dobson to blast into the net.
Braintree's best move of the half came right on the stroke of half time. A wonderful flowing move presented a golden opportunity for Charley Barker but he scooped his effort high over the bar from the edge of the area.
Only Johnson and an impressive trialist, at right back, stayed on for the second half. Aaron Lamont made his first appearance in midfield after missing the Newmarket game. Within minutes the visitors were 2-0 up when Josh Pollard drilled an effort beyond Johnson's reach. That could have been game over but Iron responded positively. A great run from former Grimsby Town reserve Ollie Saunders set up Tom Richardson to net, but the linesman raised his flag for offside. Richardson had the ball in the back of the net again in the 71st minute and this time it counted. He ran through to meet a bouncing ball and with a well timed lob Iron were back in contention.
Then, with five minutes remaining Rob Harvey broke through the Coggeshall defence and rounded the keeper, only to be hauled over. Tom Richardson emphatically buried the resultant penalty to level the score at 2-2 - arguably a very fair result over the ninety minutes.
BRAINTREE FIRST HALF - 1 Michael Johnson, 2 Jayden Gipson, 3 Joshua Moore, 4 Trialist, 6 Kyron Clements, 7 Toby Aljala, 8 Charley Barker, 9 Alfie Cerulli, 10 Ade Cole, 11 Trey Charles, 15 Trialist.
SECOND HALF - 1 Michael Johnson, 15 Trialist, 5 George Essuman, 19 Jake Hutchings, 18 Ollie Saunders, 12 Rob Harvey, 20 Ikeche Eze, 17 Sergio Manesio (14 Sean Bonnett-Johnson), 16 Aaron Lamont, Tom Richardson, Femi Akinwande.

Next up for Iron is another pre-season match at home to West Ham United Under 23s this coming Friday evening, 12th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Admission to this match is just £10 for adults and £5 for OAPs and U18s.

Iron secure first friendly win
Donald and Richardson brace set up win
The Glen Driver era at Braintree Town got underway at a wet Newmarket Town on Saturday afternoon, writes Jon Weaver. There were a large number of followers from Essex among the 166 crowd, all keen to see Iron's new signings for the first time. Three of them were not in attendance: Jermaine Osai, Aaron Lamont and Roman Michael-Percil. Twenty four players were used, with goalkeeper Michael Johnson the only one to play the whole 90 minutes. A different starting line up began each half. Supporters recognised youngsters Alfie Cerulli, Jayden Gipson and Keiron Smith who all featured in the first team squad at the end of last season. Joel Lamb, Ben Donald, Reuben Akande and Daniel Olusemo all featured for the reserves last season. Eagle eyed supporters also spotted Charley Barker, who had played for Iron last season in the friendlies at Newmarket and at home to Ipswich Town.
The Thurlow Nunn League hosts were the first to show, and the opening exchanges were played out in Braintree's half. Michael Johnson was called into action in the 5th minute, parrying a low drive. Iron went ahead 5 minutes later. A free kick was pumped into the box and centre back Ben Donald was in the right place to stab the ball home. At half time Iron were still 1-0 ahead and had also struck the bar. Sean Bonnett-Johnson and Jayden Gipson had particularly good halves.
Soon after the restart, and multiple changes, Femi Akinwande played a sublime through ball to Tom Richardson, who dinked the ball over the keeper and into the net off the far post. Newmarket stepped up the aggression and were contesting every ball. The physical challenges were more intense than you would expect to see at this stage of the season but represented a good test for Iron, who refused to take the bait. On odd occasions Iron got themselves into trouble by overplaying out from the back, and the crossbar came to their rescue on one occasion. They put the game out of reach when Richardson's neat footwork in the area enabled him to drill home the third goal. In the final minute Newmarket's keeper spilled a long range effort from Trey Charles and then tripped Alfie Cerulli as he closed in on the rebound. However, rather than give a penalty, Cerulli was given offside.
TEAM: FIRST HALF - 1 Michael Johnson, 2 Joshua Moore, 3 Ollie Saunders, 4 Ben Donald, 5 Jayden Gipson, 14 Toby, 7 Reuben Akande (Sub. 12 Kieron Smith), 8 Sean Bonnett-Johnson, 9 Daniel Olusemo, 10 Ade Cole, 11 Rob Harvey.
SECOND HALF - 1 Michael Johnson, 2 Harry Osbourne, 3 Joel Lamb (15 Jake Hutchings), 4 Sergio Manesio, 5 George Essuman, 6 Kyron Clements, 7 Trey Charles, 8 Ikeche Eze, 9 Tom Richardson (14 Alfie Cerulli), 10 Charley Barker, 11 Femi Akinwande.

Next up for Iron is another pre-season match at home to Coggeshall Town this coming Tuesday evening, 9th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Admission to this match is just £5 for adults and £3 for OAPs and U18s.

Two more join the Club
Defender and midfield sign
Braintree Manager Glen Driver has continued his squad building by signing a holding midfielder and a central defender.
25 year old midfielder Sergio Manesio started his career as a member of the Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion's schoolboy and youth academies up to the age of 18. He then moved to North America in the summer of 2013 and started 69 matches for Cleveland State University in four years of his NCAA college career. From February 2017 to November last year he spent two seasons in the United Soccer League playing for Ottawa Fury FC. He returned to the UK in February and made 13 appearances for Hendon and joins Braintree after impressing during pre-season.
Glen was pleased with his latest addition: "Sergio is a modern day holding midfielder. He has many of the attributes needed by a defensive midfielder. A strong powerful holding player who reminds me of the likes of Makelele, Wanyama and Kante!"
25-year old centre half Harry Osbourne started his career as a youngster at Charlton Athletic. He then joined Sutton United in 2014, where he made ten appearances, before moving on to Welling United a year later where he made 24 appearances in two years. He then had spells with both Hemel Hempstead and Bishop's Stortford before joining Merstham last season.
Glen said: "Harry has also caught my eye so far in pre-season and I'm pleased he has decided to join us. He has played at a good standard and at 6'2 is a good size for a centre-half - I think he'll do well for us."

Fixtures 2019/2020
Iron start at Bath City
Iron start their fixtures on Saturday 3rd August with a journey down the M4 to visit Bath City, followed by a Tuesday evening (6th August) home match against Billericay Town.
Holiday fixtures are away (on Boxing Day) and at home (on New Year's Day) against neighbours Chelmsford. We finish with a trip on Saturday 25th April 2020 to the Sussex coast to visit Eastbourne.
In the FA Cup we enter at the Second Qualifying Round stage on Saturday 21st September, while the FA Trophy welcomes Braintree at the Third Qualifying Round stage on Saturday 23rd November.
All fixtures are as follows:

Sat Aug 3 Bath City Away
Tue Aug 6 Billericay Town Home
Sat Aug 10 Wealdstone Home
Tue Aug 13 St. Albans City Away
Sat Aug 17 Eastbourne Borough Home
Sat Aug 24 Dartford Away
Mon Aug 26 Dorking Wanderers Home
Sat Aug 31 Chippenham Town Away
Tue Sep 3 Concord Rangers Away
Sat Sep 7 Dulwich Hamlet Home
Sat Sep 14 Havant & Waterlooville Away
Sat Sep 21 FA Cup 2Q
Sat Sep 28 Oxford City Home
Sat Oct 5
Sat Oct 12 Tonbridge Angels Away
Sat Oct 19 Maidstone United Home
Sat Oct 26 Weymouth Away
Sat Nov 2 Hungerford Town Home
Sat Nov 9 Hemel Hempstead Town Away
Sat Nov 16 Welling United Away
Sat Nov 23 FA Trophy 3Q
Sat Nov 30 Hampton & Richmond B Home
Sat Dec 7 Slough Town Away
Sat Dec 14
Sat Dec 21 Havant & Waterlooville Home
Thu Dec 26 Chelmsford City Away
Sat Dec 28 Concord Rangers Home
Wed Jan 1 Chelmsford City Home
Sat Jan 4 Dulwich Hamlet Away
Sat Jan 11 Tonbridge Angels Home
Sat Jan 18 Oxford City Away
Sat Jan 25 Slough Town Home
Sat Feb 1 Weymouth Home
Sat Feb 8 Maidstone United Away
Sat Feb 15 Hemel Hempstead Town Home
Sat Feb 22 Hungerford Town Away
Sat Feb 29 Bath City Home
Sat Mar 7 Billericay Town Away
Sat Mar 14 St. Albans City Home
Sat Mar 21 Wealdstone Away
Sat Mar 28 Hampton & Richmond B Away
Sat Apr 4 Welling United Home
Fri Apr 10 Dartford Home
Mon Apr 13 Dorking Wanderers Away
Sat Apr 18 Chippenham Town Home
Sat Apr 25 Eastbourne Borough Away

Driver's squad building continues
Two more players and a new physio
Braintree boss Glen Driver has added two more players to his emerging squad and has also added another member to his backroom staff.

Joining the Club is 23-year old striker Jermaine Osei who was duel registered with both Bedford and Wealdstone last season.
Glen said: "I'm pleased to announce that we have signed Jamaine Osie. He previously played for Bishop's Stortford, Hampton & Richmond and Wealdstone and finished last season playing for Bedford Town, where he scored 16 goals in just 24 appearances. Jermaine is a proven goal scorer who likes to get in behind and can also come short to link up play, he will fit into the way we are looking to play and will add more completion."
Jermaine was pleased: "I would just like to say I am delighted to be joining Braintree Town Football Club. Having spoken to Glen on a couple occasions, the ideas he and his management team have and the direction they are looking to take the Club is really refreshing to hear! I just can't wait to get started and show case what I can do because I have unfinished business at this level!"

Also switching to Cressing Road is midfielder Sean Bonnett-Johnson from Potters Bar Town. The 29-year old previously played for St Albans City, Kettering Town, Billericay Town, Dundee, Wealdstone, Kingstonian and Merstham!
Glen was pleased to get Sean signed up: "Sean is a hard-working central midfield player with a good engine and is very strong. He is happy to play in a holding position or in an attacking role."

The forthcoming season will see the Iron players tended to by a new Club physiotherapist - Hannah Travell - who graduated from The University of East London with a Sport Therapy Bsc (hons) Degree and specialises in injury assessment, rehabilitation support as well as sports massage.
Hannah was looking forward to her new role: "I want to thank Glen and Tony for this opportunity and welcoming me into the Club. I am very excited to work alongside the team for the upcoming season. I have worked with Basildon United Football Club who reached promotion to the Bostik League, and last season I worked with Coggeshall United Football Club who finished second in the Thurlow Nunn First Division. Both of which have helped me progress to where I am. I am looking forward to pushing forward within my career and working alongside what is shaping up to be a fantastic team and I am excited to see what's to come this season at Braintree Town Football Club."

Hannah replaces former therapist Tyler Overton and Chairman Lee Harding was quick to thank him for his efforts: "Tyler has worked hard in sometimes awkward circumstances at the Club under a number of different management regimes. We thank him for everything he has done and wish him all the very best for the future."

Centre-half switches to Braintree
Iron squad-building continues
Braintree Manager Glen Driver continued his preparations for the forthcoming season with the addition to the squad of 22-year old centre-half Kyran Clements.
After starting out in the youth ranks at Woodbridge Town, Kyran joined AFC Sudbury in 2014 where he progressed from their development sides into the first team during his first season. He joined Bury Town on a season-long loan during the summer of 2016, and quickly established himself as a member of the Isthmian League North Side. After a successful season, the young centre half made the switch permanent ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. Glen was pleased with his latest addition: "Kyron is another young player who is hungry to push on and excel at this level. He has made great progress and I'm pleased that he has chosen to join us for the coming season."

Winger and 'Keeper coach join Iron
Winger joins from Millwall and Trevor Grace joins as Keeper coach
Iron Manager Glen Driver has continued his squad building with the signing of a winger and has brought in a Goalkeeper coach. Joining the Club is Rob Harvey following his release from Millwall. Rob, who will be 20 in November, started his career at Brightlingsea as a 16-year old, went on to make 65 appearances for them and was part of the side that that got promoted as champions to the Bostik Premier League. Last summer Rob signed a one year professional contract with Millwall. Following his release he has joined us at Braintree.
Glenn was delighted to add Rob to his squad: "He's just left Millwall and is a pacey winger with very good feet. He has an eye for goal and provides many assists. Rob has a really hunger to push on in his career and I'm sure will work hard to reach his targets with us at Braintree."
Rob was just as pleased to sign for the Club: "I'm delighted to have signed for Braintree as I'm looking forward to playing football in the style that Glen and Tony will offer. I also think it will be a good opportunity to showcase my ability at high level of football. I can't wait to get started!"

Glen has also added Trevor Grace to his back room staff as Goalkeeper Coach and Trevor said:
"I want to thank Glen and Tony for the opportunity to join the Club as goalkeeper coach. I'm still fairly young in coaching terms and the chance to work with these guys in the National League was something I couldn't turn down. I've spoken briefly to MJ, who I've heard good things about, I know it was a tough decision for him to leave Hitchin - his hometown club - and you can see from the reaction on social media how highly he was regarded there but he is an ambitious guy which matches that of the management team here and he wants to play at the highest level possible. I'm looking forward to working with him and helping him reach his potential. Roll on next Tuesday!"

Driver adds two more
Midfielder and returning striker
Braintree Manager Glen Driver has continued his preparations for the forthcoming campaign by adding another pair of players to his squad. Having signed on the dotted line for the Club are both midfielder Ade Cole and, returning for next season, striker Alfie Cerulli.

Adeyinka Cole is a former Blackpool Youth player who has also played for Enfield, Romford and Grays. The 24 year old signed for Glen Driver at Leiston three years ago but left in the summer of 2017 because of issues with the travelling all the way up to Suffolk from East London.
Glen said: "Ade is a talented holding midfielder who was with me at Leiston, having switched from Grays Athletic in December 2016. His work rate both on and off the ball is as good as I've seen anywhere. Another good signing for us and I look forward to working with him and can't wait to see him in a Braintree shirt."

Alfie Cerulli was a product of the Club's Academy system and graduated to the first team squad at the end of last season via the Witham first team where the 18-year old played nineteen games.
Glen said: "I've heard only good things about Alfie, who seemed to explode into the first team at the end of last season - scoring twice in the Club's last five matches. He's certainly got something about him and now he's got a real chance to prove himself as a regular in the first team."

Roman Michael-Percil returns
Glen Driver brings back winger
Iron boss Glen Driver continued his squad building by adding Roman Michael-Percil to his first team squad for the forthcoming campaign. It will be the second time that the right winger has been at Cressing Road - having been a key part of Brad Quinton's squad two years ago.
Prior to that, Roman had spells at Tottenham, Billericay Town, Farnborough Town, Met. Police and Dulwich Hamlet. Following promotion via the play-offs twelve months ago, Roman left Cressing Road to join National League South sides St. Albans City and East Thurrock United before switching - in the new year - to Isthmian Leaguers Merstham, where he reached the Isthmian League Play-off Final.
Glen was pleased to welcome Roman back to the Club: "I know he did well here as part of the side that won the play-offs and he reached a play-off final again last season with Merstham in the Isthmian League. Records show that he played 39 games and scored four goals here two years ago. Now 24, two years older and wiser, he's mobile and likes to get forward - we all know what we're getting!"

Driver adds to his staff
Welcome to Ian McCormack
Manager Glen Driver has strengthened his staff with the appointment of Ian McCormack: "I'm pleased to announce that Ian McCormack has agreed to join our backroom staff. Ian, who worked with us at Leiston, will work closely with myself and Tony both on match days and training nights; he will also be helping us with player recruiting and scouting players and opposition teams.
He has great knowledge of the game and will continue to help us grow as a management team. He has been working within the Ipswich Town Academy scouting for young talent and watching games, also working as a scout for non league. Welcome to Braintree Town FC!"

Attacking midfield comes to Cressing Road
Iron boss Glen Driver has continued his squad building with the capture of 23-year old midfielder Aaron Lamont.
A product of the Queens Park Rangers Academy, Aaron was in the Truro side that made the National League South play offs and reached the 1st round proper of the FA Cup during 2017-2018 season. After leaving Truro, he had a spell last season with National League South side Hampton and Richmond Borough before joining Bostik Premier side Kingstonian - making a positive impact on the squad.
Glen was pleased with his latest addition: "He is a very popular central attacking midfield player with an eye for goal. I'm so pleased that Aaron has agreed to join us: he is a player I have watched closely and a player who fits into the way we will be playing. I'm sure he will soon become a fans favourite with his work rate and ability both on and off the ball."

Keeper and winger sign up
New Iron Gaffer Glen Driver continued his squad building by signing both an experienced goalkeeper and a pacey winger.
Goalkeeper Michael Johnson joins from Hitchin Town, where he made over 150 appearances for the Southern League Premier outfit. Nicknamed 'MJ', he was previously with Stotfold, making 48 outings before joining Hitchin Town in 2014. He subsequently made the number one shirt his own and became a real fans' favourite due to his impressive performances, playing 60 and then 55 games in all competitions in 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.
Glen was pleased with his signing: "MJ helped them reach the FA Cup First Round for the first time in 23 years in 2018 in a run that saw him save numerous penalties in the competition. His penalty save at Leatherhead in the Fourth Qualifying Round replay when Hitchin were trailing 0-1 started the comeback as they went on to win 2-1 in extra-time. His heroics came after he saved three penalties at Didcot Town in the Second Qualifying Round to earn a penalty shootout victory that booked a Third Round clash against Hastings United. I'm confident he'll do well for us."
Left-footed winger Trey Charles, who can play on either flank, joins from Isthmian League South side Northwood. Formerly with Luton Town as a youngster, Charles made his senior debut at St Albans City during the 2012-13 campaign and went on to play for Stotfold, Arlesey Town, Bedford Town, Colney Heath and Leverstock Green before joining Hitchin Town in the summer of 2017.
The Iron boss was excited about Charles's prospects: "Trey did really well two years ago for Hitchin Town, scoring 12 goals in his first season - including a Boxing Day hat-trick! Having done so well at Top Field, I thought he'd got himself a deal at a big Scottish club in the summer of 2018, but the deal fell through and he then moved on to Northwood last season, where he scored four in 17. He'll enjoy the step up to the National League."

Forward and defender sign up
New Iron Manager Glen Driver has started work on building his squad for the forthcoming Vanarama National League campaign. First to join the Iron squad are a forward and a central defender.
Centre forward Tom Richardson started his career at Romford and then Brentwood before scoring 31 goals for Brightlingsea during season 2016/17. The 25-year old striker then had a spell at East Thurrock before moving on to Bostik North Division runners up Aveley where he scored 23 goals last season.
Glen was pleased that Tom had signed for the Club: "As you can see, Tom scores goals and is hungry to play at the highest level he can. He is a very hard working and strong centre forward. He is very good in the air and will cause defenders a lot of problems."
Centre half Jake Hutchings is a product of Leyton Orient's youth academy, who followed Martin Ling to Torquay United. Jake was offered a professional contract at the age of just 17. The 23-year old then moved north to Scottish Premier club Hearts of Midlothian, before spells at Grays Athletic, Leiston, and Mertsham.

Glen was delighted with his second signing: "Jake played a big part in the Merstham team that reached the Boston Premier Play off final last season. I know all about him. He played for me a couple of seasons ago at Leiston, swiftly settled into the squad and showed his talent from the outset with some dominant displays. Unfortunately changes to his personal circumstances meant that the commute to Leiston from his new base in Hertfordshire increased significantly. He was a very good signing for me and I am looking forward to seeing him develop in a Braintree shirt. He is young and hungry to progress and a very good ball player and defender. Both on and off the pitch Jake is a very professional young man, always looking to listen and learn."

Glen Driver joins Iron on D-Day
"We'll work hard for you all and give you 100%"
Braintree Town Football Club have appointed their new manager. Joining the Club is Glen Driver who spent the last three seasons as manager of Leiston, the first two in the Isthmian League Premier Division and then, following a lateral transfer last season, in the Southern League Premier Division.
In his first season Glen's Leiston side missed out on a play-off place by just two points, but made up for that at the end of 2017/2018 by securing a play-off place for promotion to the National League South, where they lost in the semi-finals by the only goal at Dulwich Hamlet.
Last season Glen again made a successful start, with Leiston challenging for a play-off place before he decided to step down from his role after the Suffolk club advised him that it was not geared for promotion and he therefore felt he had taken the club as far as he could.
Glen will be joined at Braintree by First Team Coach Tony Kinsella, who played the game for Millwall (twice), Tampa Bay Rowdies, Ipswich Town and Doncaster Rovers over a ten year period before working for the Colchester United School of Excellence and Ipswich Town's Academy.
Chairman Lee Harding was pleased with the Club's appointment: "Once again we have been spoilt with the calibre of applicants. All of those on our short-list were very able and have had success, but we were impressed with Glen's footballing philosophy. He has an excellent network of contacts in the game at our level and is also keen to work with the Club as we build for the future. I am confident that he will play a pivotal role in working with our new youth sides to provide a link for those up and coming players to progress into the first team squad."
Glen was looking forward to the opportunity: "Really looking forward to it and I'm meeting players from tomorrow onwards. We've got two weeks of tough pre-season training before we get stuck into the pre-season matches. I'm also keen to meet the supporters. I'm not going to make outrageous promises other than we'll work hard for you all and give you 100%."

Seventh pre-season fixture confirmed
Iron to visit Ram Meadow
Braintree Town will send the first team squad to play old friends Bury Town on Saturday, 20th July, with kick-off at 3pm.

Sixth pre-season fixture confirmed
Iron to host Premier League side
Iron will host West Ham United's Under 23 side on Friday, 12th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Fifth pre-season fixture agreed
Iron to visit Bostik North side in late July
Braintree Town have agreed to send the first team squad to visit our friends at Bostik North side Maldon & Tiptree on Tuesday, 23rd July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. The Park Drive club enjoyed a fine 2018-2019, finishing third in the Bostik North table and reached the end of season promotion play-offs.

Fourth pre-season fixture agreed
Neighbours to visit on 9th July
Braintree Town have invited near-neighbours Coggeshall Town to visit Cressing Road on Tuesday, 9th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. This match is the return of the pre-season game at Coggeshall in 2018.
The Club have now received confirmation of the fixture against an under 23 side of a London Premiership club on Friday 12th July. Details of this match will be released on Friday.
Sadly, the visit of a Sky Bet League One side to Cressing Road on Saturday, 20th July has been cancelled. More news on a replacement fixture when we have it!

Third pre-season fixture agreed
Brentford XI to visit in mid-July
Braintree Town have agreed their third pre-season match. We will entertain a Brentford XI on Tuesday, 16th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm. We await conformation on the fixtures against an under 23 side of a London Premiership club on Friday 12th July and a Sky Bet League One side at Cressing Road on Saturday, 20th July. More news when we have it!

Killip moves on to Hartlepool
England keeper move will require compensation
Braintree Town have been notified by Hartlepool United of their intention to sign our former England C international goalkeeper Ben Killip for next season. In his time at Braintree, Ben played forty first team matches, keeping ten clean sheets and also made two England appearances against Estonia in October and against Wales in March.
Chairman Lee Harding said: "Ben had a great season, and progressed with us to become an England international. We invited him to remain with us for next season, but understand the attraction of the opportunity offered by Hartlepool United and others. We wish him well for the future."
The player was subject to an offer of re-engagement by the Club and the two clubs will need to agree or attend a Football Association tribunal to set appropriate compensation.

Braintree deducted three points by League
Iron field an ineligible player in a National League match
The National League Board has deducted three points from Braintree Town for fielding an ineligible player in a National League match earlier this season. The Club admitted the charge and was found guilty of a breach of Rule 6.9 for a player participating in the fixture against AFC Fylde after the expiration of a Short Term Loan registration of Aaron Eyoma from Derby County.
It was determined that the points gained from the match were to be deducted from the club's record. The National League table has been amended accordingly.
The player was included in the Braintree side for the match on 13 April against AFC Fylde. Unfortunately, no extension to the previous loan arrangement had been sought or obtained. Braintree Town therefore admitted the charge.
In mitigation to both The FA and National League, our then First Team Manager Danny Searle advised Club officials that the loan of the player was to be through to the end of the playing season, but that information was not included in the forms that were produced by Derby County and submitted by Braintree Town.
This would normally have been spotted by either our Club Secretary Tom Woodley or Chairman Lee Harding and a loan extension requested, but this did not happen as Tom Woodley was unavailable through injury incurred in the days before the match and the Chairman was away on business. Our then First Team Manager's mitigation was also supported by Derby County FC. Chairman Lee Harding commented: "We apologised to both The FA and our League and new arrangements have now been introduced to ensure that a loan player can not, in future, be included in our side unless a check is made on their eligibility."

Season Ticket Discount Deadline This Saturday
Big Iron discounts are offered for season tickets purchased on or before 1 June 2019
Don't forget that the Club have agreed their match day and season tickets pricing for next season. Following the Club's return to non-League football's second tier, prices have been cut.
Big Iron 'early bird' discounts are offered for season tickets purchased on or before Saturday 1 June 2019. Adult and concession season tickets bought on or before Saturday 1 June allow supporters to sit or stand and receive five games free of charge, while an under 18 season tickets offer an incredible thirteen games free! A new initiative for the coming campaign is the introduction of a new season ticket for our younger supporters - Under 12 - provided with entry for just £21 - just a pound a game! Season ticket prices for next season, purchased by Saturday 1st June, are as follows:
ADULT - £240 (21 for the price of 16 or just £11.43 a match)
CONCESSIONS - £160 (21 for the price of 16 or just £7.62 a match)
UNDER 18s - £40 (21 for the price of 8 or just £1.90 a match!)
UNDER 12s - £21 (21 for the price of £1 a game!)

For more details on match and season tickets - see the article below.

Second friendly match confirmed
Braintree welcome North side in season dress rehersal
Braintree Town have confirmed their second pre-season friendly match and will entertain National League North side King's Lynn Town at Cressing Road on Saturday, 27th July 2019, with kick-off at 3pm. The Walks club secured an impressive promotion from the Southern League last season via three play-off matches, scoring nine goals in a week!

Danny Searle resigns
Iron boss steps down after four months in charge
Manager Danny Searle has this afternoon notified the Board of his decision to step down as First Team Manager with immediate effect.
Danny stepped up to the Manager's role following the departure of former boss Hakan Hayrettin in January and guided the Club away from the foot of the table to 22nd position, with six wins and a draw from 16 games. Those games in charge included notable wins against both National League Promotion Finalists Salford City and AFC Fylde and the Club secured a fine draw at champions Leyton Orient on the last day of the season.
Chairman Lee Harding was disappointed: "I'd like to thank Danny for his four months at the Club - he gave it his best shot and some of the results and performances will live long in the memory. Danny will always be welcome and we wish him the best of luck in his new role."
Following his departure Danny said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board for the opportunity and support throughout my time with the Club. I wish you the very best for the future and will help in anyway possible to ensure a smooth transition."
The Club will now begin their search for a replacement with immediate effect and will be advertising the vacancy later today.

Iron receive provisional allocation to National South
Subject to any appeals and ratification at the League's AGM
Braintree Town Football Club have now received notification of the Provisional Step 1 to 4 Club Allocations for 2019-20 season from The FA.
Apparently, there was a Sub-Committee meeting of The FA's Alliance Committee held on Monday 13 May 2019, where the provisional Club Allocations for Steps 1 to 4 of the National League System were confirmed.
The provisional allocation is that Braintree Town are allocated to the National League South Division.
However, The FA have also advised that any appeals as to the allocation to a League/division can be made within 7 days. So we await further confirmation on the outcome of any appeals from The FA in due course.

Playing budget and first friendly agreed
Champions League Final live in Clubhouse
BUDGET AGREED & PLAYER NEWS - Next season's playing budget has now been agreed by the Club's Board of Directors. Offers of re-engagement have been made to England international goalkeeper Ben Killip and free-scoring Mo Sagaf. A number of other players have been invited back for pre-season, which starts at the end of June. Players that were on loan with the Club towards the end of last season have returned to their clubs and we thank then for their time and efforts at Cressing Road. News on player signings when we have it!

NORTH OR SOUTH? - A decision on which National League division the Club will play in will be made at the League's Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 8th June.

THE FRIENDLIES - The Club have agreed to send the first team squad to Thurlow-Nunn League Premier Division side Newmarket Town on Saturday 6th July for an opening pre-season friendly. The Club have also agreed to host the Under 23 side of a London Premiership club on Friday 12th July and have invited Sky Bet League One side to Cressing Road for a friendly match on Saturday, 20th July. Both games subject to further confirmation - more news when we have it!

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ON SATURDAY 1ST JUNE - The Iron Clubhouse will be open for a European Champions League Final night on Saturday 1st June, with the Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur match live on the big screens from 8pm. More news on discounted beer prices and food to follow!

WORK PARTIES - A number of stadium work parties are being organised over the summer - for more details see the Club's social media, or speak with Vic Dixon or Matt Hawtin.

SEASON TICKET EARLY BIRD DEADLINE LOOMS - Finally, don't forget that the Club have agreed their match day and season tickets pricing for next season. Following the Club's return to non-League football's second tier, prices have been cut.
Big Iron 'early bird' discounts are offered for season tickets purchased on or before Saturday 1 June 2019. Adult and concession season tickets bought on or before Saturday 1 June allow supporters to sit or stand and receive five games free of charge, while an under 18 season tickets offer an incredible thirteen games free! A new initiative for the coming campaign is the introduction of a new season ticket for our younger supporters - Under 12 - provided with entry for just £21 - just a pound a game! Season ticket prices for next season, purchased by Saturday 1st June, are as follows:
ADULT - £240 (21 for the price of 16 or just £11.43 a match)
CONCESSIONS - £160 (21 for the price of 16 or just £7.62 a match)
UNDER 18s - £40 (21 for the price of 8 or just £1.90 a match!)
UNDER 12s - £21 (21 for the price of £1 a game!)

For more details on match and season tickets - see the article below.

Pre-season 2020
Needham Market (Away)