Sudbury beaten 4-2
Braintree Town recorded their third pre-season victory with a 4-2 victory at Bostik Division One (North) side AFC Sudbury on Tuesday evening. Iron trailed 1-0 early on, but stepped up to lead 4-1 before conceding a late second. The goals came from Mohamed Bettamer (2), Dan Thompson & Reece Grant
Next up for Iron is another friendly match at home to Cambridge United, this coming Friday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Tajbakhsh hits the target
Braintree Town recorded their second pre-season victory with a battling two-goal victory over a strong Ipswich Town side at Cressing Road on Saturday - a goal in both halves from Aryan Tajbakhsh saw Iron prevail. The first came after 13 minutes when Tajbakhsh found space on the edge of the Championship side's defence to steer the ball low past Town keeper Dean Gerken's left. Iron continued to create chances, but had to wait until twenty minutes into the second half before doubling their advantage. Ipswich Town's Martyn Waghorn caught Marcel Barrington 25 yards out to concede a free-kick, which Tajbakhsh duly lifted over the wall past the stranded Gerken, just inside the right upright.
Braintree Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Ben Wyatt, Olu Durjaiye, Josh Hill, Michael Clark, Marcel Barrington, Billy Crook, Dan Thompson, Aryan Tajbakhsh, Christie Pattison. Substitutes: Reece Grant, Irintl Rapai, Edwin Mensah, Joe Ellul, Mahrez Bettache, Christian Frimpong, Charley Barker.
Next up for Iron is another friendly match at Sudbury, this coming Tuesday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Braintree welcome Portman Road side
Iron welcome Championship neighbours Ipswich Town to Cressing Road on Saturday, 14th July, with kick-off at 3pm. The Portman Road side have indicated that they will be bringing a strong side to test Braintree, newly promoted back to non-League football's top flight!
Admission for the match will be just £10 for adults and only £5 for OAPs and under 18s. Tickets for the match will not be available in advance and all spectators can pay at the appropriate turnstile (1-4) on arrival. A colour programme will be available - just £2. The clubhouse will be open before, during and after the match with a range of Molson Coors finest ales and lagers. Unfortunately spectators will NOT be allowed to bring drinks into the stadium. Hot food and drink, plus ices and cool drinks will also be on sale. No segregation will be in place.
Colchester score five without reply
Braintree were given a thorough reality test against Football League visitors Colchester United at Cressing Road on Tuesday evening where clearly higher fitness levels and being sharper to the ball from full-time training showed its benefit compared to the home side's part-timers who at times struggled to get into the game.
It left Iron manager Brad Quinton disappointed with his side's performance adding: "We have some individuals who are obviously not up to the fitness levels required and we shall start putting that right in the next training session.
"We were sloppy at times with our passing and individual mistakes caused unnecessary problems," he continued. "Some players were too slow to react when losing possession so we still have a lot to work on.
"It was still a good chance though to have a look at several new players and also playing them in different positions and with different formations which is what these games are all about," he added. "We'll be working hard in several areas before our next game on Saturday against Ipswich Town."
Iron went behind on 11 minutes when Frank Nouble whipped in a quick shot giving keeper Nathan McDonald no chance and the only surprise was that the U's didn't score again before the interval having dominated play and had several decent goal scoring chances.
The start of the second second half saw both sides making several changes and it was U's who scored their second on 52 minutes through substitute Mikeal Mandaron and three minutes former Iron loanee Sam Szmodics added a third with the home defence all at sea.
Another substitute, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, added a fourth goal for the visitors who wrapped up the scoring on 87 minutes when Szmodics set up Mandaron for his second goal.
Although conceding four second half goals, Iron did play better and did cause the visiting defence a few problems but there's clearly training ground work still to be done by Quinton before they kick off their National League campaign.
The game against Ipswich Town on Saturday kicks off at 3pm.
Two in each half at Newmarket
Iron opened up their pre-season friendlies with an impressive and comfortable win against Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Newmarket Town at a blisteringly hot Cricket Field Road on Saturday.
It left Iron manager Brad Quinton pleased with his opening friendly game adding: "It's good for the players to get their first game under their belts. We knew it would be hot but I felt the players coped well as they have in training so far.
"There's a long way to go before the real kick off and we have some tougher friendlies coming up starting with Colchester United coming to Cressing Road on Tuesday evening (kick off 7.45pm)," he said. "We've several new players on board plus a number of trialists. These games are ideal for us to have a look at them and all of them will get a chance to show what they can do over the next month."
First half goals from regular midfielder Luke Allen (a penalty on nine minutes) and new signing Lyle Delle-Verde (ex-Dartford) on 16 minutes gave the Iron a two-goal lead at the interval.
Second half strikes from young Reece Grant on 69 minutes and a debut Iron goal on 85 minutes from Albanian-born Irnti Rapai, who was playing in the Greek Premier league last season, completed the scoring. But for some heroic saves from home keeper Alex Archer the Iron would have won by a far bigger margin.
Other players making their Iron debut were Aryan Tajbakhsh (ex-Crawley Town), Olu DuroJaiye (ex Welling Utd). Chris Pattison (ex Carshalton), Charley Barker and Edwin Mensah.
Another new siging central defender Michael Clark (20), ex-Leyton Orient, made an impressive debut in defence alongside Iron regular Josh Hill while full-backs Jon Muleba and Ben Wyatt completed a solid back line.
Regular goalkeeper Nathan McDonald played the first half giving way to young Harry Aldridge for the second half.
Iron welcome Anton Smith
Braintree Town have appointed Anton Smith as their new Reserve Team Manager with immediate effect. Anton has experience with Waltham Forest, Leatherhead and Reading Football Clubs and will guide the Iron Reserve side in next season's Thurlow-Nunn League Division One South.
Anton is keen to hit the ground running and will be organising his first training session on Monday evening at the ground, starting at 7.30pm. All of last season's reserve team players are invited to attend. If you are interested in attending a trial for our reserve side next season, please contact Anton on anton_Ls@hotmail.co.uk.
FC Halifax Town visit for opener
Braintree Town resume their place in non-League football's top tier on Saturday 4th August with an opening day home Vanarama National League match against FC Halifax Town. Having been relegated from the National League in 2016, Halifax bounced straight back from the Vanarama North via the play-offs in 2017. Last season The Shaymen finished 16th of the 24, in their first season back in the top flight.
Two tough away trips against former Football League sides follow. On Tuesday, 7th August, Iron make the short journey to Harrow to play Barnet and then on the second Saturday of the season, 11th August, visit Chesterfield. Iron fans may remember Chesterfield visiting Cressing Road for a FA Cup First Round tie in 2014 when the Spireites edged the game 6-0!
Christmas sees Braintree playing Ebbsfleet United with Boxing Day in Kent and New Year's Day in Essex. In between Iron visit Alan Devonshire's Maidenhead United on Saturday, 29th December.
Easter is late next year and Braintree's penultimate game is at home to Dagenham & Redbridge on Easter Monday, 22nd April before a last game of the season at Leyton Orient on Saturday, 27th April.
In the FA Cup, Braintree are once again exempt until the Fourth and final qualifying round, not entering the competition until Saturday, 20th October, with the draw provisionally set for lunchtime on Monday, 8th October. In the FA Trophy, Braintree are once again exempt until the First Round Proper, not entering the competition until Saturday, 15th December, with the draw provisionally set for lunchtime on Monday, 26th November.
Kick-off time changed to accommodate England at 3pm!
The kick-off time for Saturday's opening pre-season friendly at Newmarket has been bright forward to 1pm. This was agreed with the Suffolk club to accommodate England's World Cup Quarter Final against Sweden which kicks off at 3pm.
Billy Crook found guilty despite no corroborative evidence
At our Vanarama South match against Hemel Hempstead Town on 20 January 2018, former player Scott Shulton made allegations against player Billy Crook to the match referee Wayne Cartmel and these were forwarded to the Football Association for their attention. At the time, Club Secretary Tom Woodley spoke with the referee after the game and was advised by him that neither he nor his assistants had heard the alleged remark.
However, as a result of the allegations, Crook was charged with misconduct by The FA, who alleged that he had used abusive and/or insulting words towards Shulton in the fixture. It was further alleged that this breach of rule was an 'Aggravated Breach' as it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality.
The allegations were denied by Crook, who asked for a personal Commission hearing, which took place at Wembley on 12 June, where he was represented by First Team Coach Barry Bolton.
During the Commission, the match referee confirmed that he had not heard the alleged comment and neither had the other match officials. As a result, he felt that cautions would not add any value and was happy to continue without any sanctions. Additionally, it was stated that the alleged incident was not captured by video footage.
In his statement Shulton admitted that he and Crook had argued during the game and then went face to face with each other. Shulton then admitted making statements to Crook 'to deliberately wind him up'. Shulton then claimed that Crook abused him and then admitted grabbing Crook by the throat.
The Commission then considered Crook's interview with The FA in March when Crook claimed that Shulton dragged his foot down the back of his Achilles calf and then, after that - which the camera didn't get, Shulton grabbed Crook by the throat. When asked about the alleged abuse, Crook confirmed that he 'Definitely wouldn't say that. Never.'
During Crook's subsequent evidence, he described having a good footballing relationship with Shulton and described him as a player who would try and 'rile a few players'. He said that at the time of the alleged incident, he felt a late challenge and he kicked out, before he was grabbed by the throat. Crook added 'that's when the allegation came out'. He was 100% sure that he had not abused Shulton, as he was not somebody that caused confrontation or reacted. Crook then stated that he's been playing football since being on a scholarship at Crystal Palace, up to the age of 27 in non-League and he has never had any dissent record. He has only ever had one red card in his career, which was for a mis-timed tackle.
In making their findings, the Commission stated that the burden of proof was on The FA to prove the charge. It stated that the applicable standard of proof was the balance of probability, which meant that the Commission had to be satisfied an event occurred if the Commission considers that, on the evidence, the occurrence of the event was more likely than not.
The Commission accepted there was conflict between the versions of events as Crook denied saying the comments as alleged. However, some significant aspects of the evidence were not disputed. Crook conceded that he reacted angrily to the late tackle against him by Shulton, and that he had retaliated by kicking out, something he did not usually do. The Commission concluded that, on the balance of probability, they decided that Crook had used insulting and/or abusive words towards Shulton.
In setting out sanctions, the Commission took into account Crook's exemplary disciplinary record, but imposed a five-match suspension, a £300 fine and a requirements to complete an online Football Association education course.
Having heard the evidence of both players, we note that there was no corroborative evidence from any of: The FA's match officials; the other 20 players; or any of the 432 crowd that day. Both the Club and player are disappointed that the Commission's findings were merely on the balance of probability and not on the grounds of reasonable doubt. As a result, both the Club and player are now considering further action and may make another statement in due course.
£2 a pint & chips!
Another World Cup special has been lined up for this coming Tuesday evening, 3rd July, when Gareth's boys take on Columbia in the last sixteen of the World Cup.
The Iron Clubhouse will be open from 6pm and the last 16 World Cup game will be screened live at 7pm.
Selected ales and lagers will be reduced to just £2.00 from 6.30pm-end of game!
We also hope to have some of the infamous Iron T-Bar chips available during the evening.
Come on England.
Cambridge visit on a Friday night
Braintree Town have added an extra pre-season friendly match as Iron prepare for their return to non-League football's top flight. The Club will entertain Sky Bet League Two neighbours Cambridge United to Cressing Road on Friday, 20th July, with kick-off at 7.30pm.
Two new faces plus three more from last season sign up
Iron manager Brad Quinton continued to make progress with his squad yesterday, signing five more players. Joining the Club are defender Michael Clark from Leyton Orient and winger Lyle Della-Verde from Dartford, while three more of last season's promotion-winning side have also signed. Michael Clark will be 21 in September and joins Braintree from Leyton Orient. He captained the Leyton Orient youth team during the 2015Ð16 campaign, winning the South East and West Youth Merit League. In his first season as a pro, Clark was sent on loan to East Thurrock United at the start of the 2016Ð17 season, making 33 appearances in all competitions and scoring four goals. He 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 in the 1Ð0 league defeat at home to Cheltenham Town in February 2017. He finished the season with nine first team appearances for The O's. Last season Clark made three more appearances for The O's and also had a second loan spell at East Thurrock in December 2017, making seven appearances.
Lyle Della-Verde is a 23-year old winger who joins Iron after impressing at Dartford last season. After playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Southend United, Lyle signed for Fulham in 2011, turning professional on his 17th birthday in January 2012. He made 8 appearances for Bristol Robvers on loan during 2014/15. He signed for Fleetwood Town in July 2015, where he made 8 appearances before joining Crawley Town in February 2016, where he made a further 12 appearances. 2016/17 saw him made 17 appearances for Welling United and then 22 for Concord Rangers before switching to Dartford last summer, where he made 34 appearances for the Vanarama South runners-up.
Brad has also re-signed Billy Crook, Luke Allen and Mahrez Bettache.
Brad adds to squad and agrees terms with five
Braintree Town manager Brad Quinton has been hard at work adding to and securing the best of his squad. He has agreed terms with signed 25-year old defender/midfielder Olu Durojaiye. Olu, a Nigerian player who was called up for his country's Under-20 Development Squad, played in the Vanarama South for Welling United last season. He started his career as a youngster for Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City, before joining Scottish sides Falkirk and Brechin City. He has also played for non-league clubs Enfield Town, Hayes & Yeading United, Hungerford Town and Haringey Borough.
His time at Tottenham saw him rise through the ranks to the Under-18s as a striker. He then trialled with Cheltenham Town, Brentford and Oxford United before moving to Norwich City in August 2012, where he signed a professional contract. In July 2013, Durojaiye moved north of the border to Scottish Championship club Falkirk, spending two seasons at the club before finishing the 2014-15 campaign on loan at Scottish League One side Brechin City. After spells at Enfield, Hayes & Yeading and Haringey Borough, he signed for Welling United in August 2017.
Brad also advised that he has agreed terms with Nathan McDonald, Billy Crook, Marcel Barrington, Luke Allen and Dan Thompson. Discussions continue with other players and new faces and Brad hopes to be in a position to update further next week.
nurturing the best of the youngsters
Braintree Town FC have a vacancy for the post of Reserve Team Manager, who will be playing in next season's Thurlow-Nunn League Division One (South). If you are interested in managing the up and coming Iron stars of tomorrow and playing a vital role in nurturing the best of the youngsters from the affiliated Braintree Town Youth FC into First team players in the years to come, then send your CV to Club Chairman Lee Harding at braintreeTFC@aol.com.
plus promotion celebrations, Bar-B-Q & chips!
A special weekend of promotion celebrations, cheap beer, Bar-B-Q, World Cup football and chips awaits!
On Saturday we have a work party in the morning with all willing victims entitled to one of the Chairman's free drinks!
The Iron Clubhouse opens at 12 noon and the World Cup continues on the TV, with the 1pm game being Belgium v Tunisia from England's group, followed by South Korea v Mexico at 4pm and Germany v Sweden at 7pm.
The lads will be back for pre-season training with a double morning & afternoon session planned! We also have a Promotion Special Bar-B-Q planned for 2.30-3pm, under the guidance of David 'Chef du Jour' Green & Matt 'I'll give it a go' Hawtin.
And just to make that football and Bar-B-Q slip down a little easier, selected ales and lagers will be reduced to just £2.50 from 2pm-6pm!
Moving on to Sunday and the build up to England's game starts with the Iron Clubhouse open at 12 noon and selected ales and lagers will be reduced to just £2.00 from 12 noon-3pm!
We also hope to have some of the infamous Iron T-Bar chips available for the game!
Come on England (and Sweden!)
Colchester to visit in July
Iron have completed their pre-season schedule with the visit of Sky Bet League Two neighbours Colchester United to Cressing Road on Tuesday, 10th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
The Club will also be sending a squad side to visit Stanway Rovers on Wednesday, 11 July, subject to re-instatement work being completed on the Stanway pitch. Kick-off for this match will be 7.45pm.
All players invited back plus Bar-B-Q in June
Braintree Town manager Brad Quinton has taken up the option to extend the playing contracts of both Jon Muleba and Christian Frimpong - and has also invited his entire squad back for pre-season training - as he starts work on building a competitive squad for next season, the Club's seventh year in non-League football's top tier since 2011.
Brad said: "The boys were there for me when I needed them last season and they all deserve a chance to play in the level above because each and everyone of them have earned it."
To celebrate the Club's promotion, there will be a Summer Bar-B-Q on Saturday, 23 June when we hope to see the team management and full first team squad back at Cressing Road for a celebration.
While we're all celebrating our promotion, you also be able to watch three of the World Cup matches on the big screens in the clubhouse:
South Korea Republic v Mexico at 4pm and
Germany v Sweden at 7pm.
Most prices frozen at 2016 levels
The Club have agreed their matchday and season tickets pricing for next season. Following the Club's swift return to non-League football's top tier, prices have risen, but most have been frozen at the level when we were last members of the National League two years ago!
As with last season, both adult and concession season tickets allow supporters to sit or stand and receive five games free of charge, while an under 18 season tickets offer an incredible fifteen games free!
A new initiative for the coming campaign is the introduction of a new family ticket for an adult and under 18 combined together. The family ticket offer sees the younger supporter provided with entry for just £21 - less than a pound a game! If you wish to add additional adults or under 18s as part of the family group, speak to Lee Harding.
As usual, 'early bird' discounts are offered for season tickets purchased on or before Saturday 2 June 2018. To get yours, the Club office will be open: Monday-Friday from 10.30am-4pm. The Iron Clubhouse will be open Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm and Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 7pm-11pm. Just bring your form and payment with you! Any queries to 01376 330976/345617.
Supporters can pay for their season tickets by card, cash or cheque and the season ticket application form can be downloaded here: SEASON TICKET APPLICATION FORM.
Iron arrange attractive set of friendlies
Braintree Town have started work on their pre-season campaign as they return for a seventh season in non-League football's top flight after a year away.
Iron will start their pre-season build up with a trip to Newmarket Town and their superb 3G pitch at Cricket Field Road on Saturday, 7th July, with kick-off at 3pm. It will also give us an opportunity to meet up with former Iron favourite Micky Shinn who is now Newmarket Town's Manager.
Next for Iron will see the visit of Sky Bet League Two side Colchester United on Tuesday, 10th July, kick-off 7.45pm, followed by Championship side Ipswich Town to Braintree on Saturday, 14th July, with kick-off at 3pm. The Portman Road club have confirmed that they will be bringing the first team squad for the match.
On Tuesday evening, 17th July, Braintree will visit Bostick League side AFC Sudbury, with kick-off at King's Marsh being 7.45pm.
Iron will then welcome Sky Bet League Two side Cambridge United on Friday, 20th July, kick-off 7.30pm. Next up for Iron is a trip to Bostick League side Dereham Town on Saturday 21st July, kick-off at Aldiss Park will be 3pm.
On Tuesday evening, 24th July, we make the short journey to last season's Thurlow-Nunn League champions and near neighbours Coggeshall Town. Iron manager will take the full first team squad to Coggeshall - newly promoted to the Bostick League. Kick-off at West Street will be 7.45pm.
Iron will complete their pre-season schedule with a another local game, at home to Chelmsford City, on Saturday 28th July with kick-off at 3pm. To assist both clubs, it has been agreed to share the gate receipts of this match on a 50:50 cup-tie basis with The Clarets.
Three successive away victories set up top flight return
Iron are back in non League football's top flight just twelve months after relegation after a fabulous team performance led to a nail-biting penalty shootout which they dramatically won 4-3 at The Beveree on Sunday.
After 120 minutes of normal time and extra-time it all came down to a penalty shootout and although Billy Crook missed the first one for the Iron it was excellent spot kicks from Dan Thompson, Marcel Barrington, Josh Hill and finally Diaz Wright that seal victory.
It led to a joyous pitch invasion by the huge group of Iron fans in the 3,127 crowd with champagne flowing as the team received their trophy and left manager Brad Quinton almost speechless.
"I'm over the moon to have won promotion at my first attempt with the club and it's down to the truly magnificent performance of the lads in these three play-off games," he declared. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that we could do it particularly with having to play all our three play-off games away from home.
"We had a game plan the boys stuck to it and all of them worked their socks off each giving well over 100 per cent on the day," he continued. "We want to enjoy the moment together and take it all in - I just can't really believe it's happened and the fans again today have been fantastic with their support as they have all season."
The Iron, keeping the same starting line-up as they have in the two previous play-off matches, saw a tense early start to the game after the kick-off was delayed 10 minutes to allow queuing fans to get in the ground.
Disappointingly too they went behind after only eight minutes when Max Kretzschmar was left unmarked out on the right wing and he strode inside to slid the ball past keeper Nathan McDonald.
Undeterred by this setback Iron gradually came more into the came as the first half progressed with more possession and more chances to score with their best chance coming on 29 minutes when Jon Muleba did well to work his way down the right flank sending in a curling cross that young Reece Grant fired straight at home keeper Seny Dieng.
But Iron's expected equaliser came right on half time in the 45th minute when Thompson showed his strength and prowess brushing off home defenders down the left wing before clipping the ball into the home area where Grant slipped his marker to head home.
A draw was probably a good reflection of the first half play but the second half definitely saw Iron more in the ascendancy and creating more chances going forward and, on 70 minutes, Hill almost scored with a shot on the turn which was closely followed by a Barrington shot that was charged down at the last moment.
On 82 minutes Iron should have taken the lead when keeper Dieng rushed out of his goal as the ball was pushed through by Iron but Grant was quicker to the ball, squaring it to Thompson. With the goal at his mercy and Dieng out of position Thompson slid the ball towards the empty net only for full-back Ben Wynter to hooked it away off the goal line at the last moment.
With the heat taking its toll on all players and both sides becoming edgy in their approach play the game looked to be heading for a draw and a penalty shootout. In extra-time play was a little frenetic at times from both sides as they tried hard to push for a winner but in the end the score remained 1-1.
With the resultant penalty shootout it was Iron who conquered with the impressive young midfielder Wright firing home the Iron's fifth penalty after Brendan Kierman had missed the home side's fourth spot kick, giving the Iron victory 4-3.
Braintree Town: McDonald; Muleba, Gabriel, Hill, Okoye; Wright, Allen (63 Michael-Percil), Crook, Barrington; Grant (105 Wyatt), Thompson. Unused subs: Aldridge, Frimpong, Bettache. Referee: Tom Reeves. Attendance 3127.
Sunday, May 13, 3pm - Hampton & Richmond Borough v Braintree Town
Hampton & RB finished 4th in the Vanarama National League South on 72 points. Their home record this season is: P 21 W 9 D 11 L 1 GF 30 GA 16 Pts 38. Last 4 home results: Won 3-1 v Truro C (P-O), Drew 1-1 v Truro C., Drew 1-1 v Gloucester C, Drew 1-1 v Welling, Drew 1-1 v Braintree T. Top scorers this season: Max Kretzschmar - 17 (5p), Bradley Hudson-Odoi - 10 (1p), Charlie Wassmer - 8.
Braintree Town finished 6th the Vanarama National League South on 69 points. Braintree's away record this season is: P 21 W 8 D 7 L 6 GF 33 GA 32 Pts 31. Braintree T last 4 away games: Won 0-1 v Dartford (P-O), Drew 0-0 v Hemel Hempstead T (P-O), Won 1-2 v Truro C, Won 0-1v Hungerford T. Top Braintree Town Scorers: Billy Crook - 11 (7p), Luke Allen & Reece Grant - 7, Marcel Barrington - 6.
This seasons meetings: 19 August 2017 Braintree T 2 (Roberts, Crook (pen)) Hampton & RB 1 & 24 March 2018 Hampton & RB 1 Braintree T 1 (Barrington).
Both meetings this season featured sending offs. In our home fixture it was Borough's Joe Cook who was dismissed after denying Wynter a goal scoring opportunity. When the Iron went to the Beveree Stadium in March, it was the Iron's turn to finish the game 2 players short. Billy Crook was the first to leave the playing field for a raised foot challenge in the 31st minute. Despite being a man down, Braintree took the lead with 12 minutes remaining. Luke Allen led a Braintree counter attack running from outside his own area well into the home team's half, before releasing the ball down the left to Thompson, who put in a low cross that was met on the run by Barrington. Borough equalised 3 minutes later following an attack down their left flank. Two Braintree players were unable to prevent a low cross reaching the 6 yard box where the ball somehow evaded McDonald and was stabbed home from close range by Wynter. The Iron were reduced to 9 men in added time when Luke Allen picked up his second yellow of the afternoon.
Unlike our previous two play-off matches, we now face a team we have beaten this season. Our hosts were the lowest scoring team in the top 7 with 58 goals. Defensively, their record of defeats was only matched by champions Havant with six losses. They drew more games than any other VNLS team (18) and were second, again behind Havant, in goals conceded (37).
In the play-offs, they faced Truro C for the second week running, eventually overcoming them in extra time. A penalty from top-scorer Kretzschmar was enough to beat our neighbours Chelmsford C who had themselves been reduced to 10 men after Barnum-Bobb had handled on the goal line in the semi-final play-off.
Hopefully we'll see a game where all 22 players remain on the pitch and the in form Iron give a good account of themselves as they battle to return the Club to the National League after one season's absence.
Sunday, May 13, 3pm - Hampton & Richmond Borough v Braintree Town
Promotion Final Tickets currently only available on line at: www.buytickets.at/hrbfc.
For those fans unable to use this facility, we can order on line at the Club on your behalf if you call in and see us with your payment card and provide name and date of birth of all people you want to purchase tickets for.
The Club office and Club shop will be open all this week from:
Wednesday 9th - 10.30 am - 4.30 pm
Thursday 10th - 10.30 am - 8.30pm (Club house open 7.30 till late )
Friday 11th - 10.30am - 4.30 pm
Saturday 12th - 10.30 am - 4.30 pm
Also the club shop will be open the same times, with an end of season sale and many items at half price - so pop along and grab an orange bargain!
Sunday, May 13, 3pm - Hampton & Richmond Borough v Braintree Town
The following arrangements have been implemented for next Sunday's match.
It has been decided that the match will be ALL TICKET and tickets can only be ordered online via the following link: www.buytickets.at/hrbfc. Tickets should be printed out and presented at the turnstiles on the day.
Admission will be: £12 adult, £7 concessions, £3 u16s & u5 free. Please note: There will be a £1.25 booking fee for tickets purchased online.
Disabled access can be obtained by contacting the club in advance, on email@example.com. Carers will be admitted free where required.
Overflow parking will be available on a first-come-first-served basis, so come early to avoid disappointment. Stewards will direct drivers to the location.
We understand that some rail disruption is likely next Sunday due to engineering work and Iron supporters may wish to contact the Independent Supporters Club on 07950 614908 for news on coaches which, we understand, will depart for Hampton at 11am on Sunday.
Hampton away on Sunday
Braintree Town reached the Vanarama South Promotion Final with a single-goal victory at Dartford on Saturday. Having drawn at home and away in the league against the Kent club it was always going to be a tight game.
While Iron had much of the possession during a nervy first forty-five minutes, the home side had arguably the better chances. Nathan McDonald had to be at his best to deny Ronnie Vint who saw his shot superbly saved by Braintree's number one after twenty minutes.
Moments later a teasing cross from Diaz Wright on the left just evaded the unmarked Billy Crook at the far post.
On the half hour Crook tried his luck, but failed to hit the target, while Alfie Pavey really should have done better with his header at the back post just before the break.
Six minutes after the re-start Reece Grant unlocked the Dartford defence to break through one on one with home keeper Berti Sckotterl, but Grant was denied by a well timed tackle outside the box.
Substitute Roman Michael-Percil replaced Grant on the hour and could have opened the scoring on 70 minutes when he broke through the Dartford defence, only to see his snap shot well blocked by Sckotterl.
But a minute later the goal finally came. Jon Muleba broke forward on the right before cutting inside. He fed the ball into the Dartford penalty area where a number of players tried to shoot or block before the ball fell to Crook who beat Sckotterl from close range.
Wright could have added a second with his effort from all of 25 yards with ten minutes to go, but it was well gathered by Sckotterl.
The home side thought they had a good claim for a penalty four minutes from time after a cross into the box struck Luke Allen, but appeals were waived away by the referee.
In the four minutes of time added on Dartford's Ryan Hayes tried his luck at the back post, but his effort sailed high and wide into the crowd.
At the final whistle celebrations followed and Iron now travel to fourth-placed Hampton & Richmond Borough for the Promotion Final next Sunday, 13th May, with kick-off at 3pm.
Braintree: McDonald, Muleba, Gabriel, Hill, Okoye, Wright, Allen (Frimpong 90+3), Crook, Grant (Michael-Percil 60), Thompson, Barrington (Wyatt 83). Un-used subs: Aldridge, Bettache. Attendance 1704.
Dartford v Braintree T - Vanarama National League Play-Off Semi-Final
Dartford finished 2nd in the Vanarama National League South on 86 points. Their home record this season is: P 21 W 15 D 3 L 3 GF 51 GA 20 Pts 48. Last 4 home results: Won 2-0 v Bath C, Won 3-1 v Weston-Super-Mare, Won 1-0 v Hampton & RB, Won 3-2 v Hemel Hempstead T. Top scorers this season: Alfie Pavey - 22, Elliot Bradbrook - 16(4p), Andy Pugh - 13.
Braintree Town finished 6th the Vanarama National League South on 69 points. Braintree's away record this season is: P 21 W 8 D 7 L 6 GF 33 GA 32 Pts 31. Braintree T last 4 away games: Drew 0-0 v Hemel Hempstead T, Won 1-2 v Truro C, Won 0-1v Hungerford T, Lost 2-1 v St Albans C. Top Braintree Town Scorers: Billy Crook- 10 (7p), Luke Allen & Reece Grant - 7, Marcel Barrington - 6.
This seasons meetings: 8 August 2017 Braintree T 2 (Oliyide, Crook (p)) Dartford 2 & 23 December 2017 Dartford 1 Braintree T 1 (Barrington)
Both meetings this season have been tightly contested affairs. Hosting Dartford in our first home game of the campaign, the Iron took a two-nil lead before the Darts rallied to share the points. In the return fixture just before Christmas, it was the home side that took the lead on 17 minutes, Pugh cut in from the left wing, evading several attempted tackles, before driving home low from a tight angle. McDonald was to deny the hosts from extending their lead with two good saves, one at point blank range with his feet. The equaliser came just before half time, Oliyide played in Gabriel down the left side of the penalty box, the full back drove on to the by-line and cut back a low cross which was met with a powerful low shot from Barrington at the far post. Despite the Iron controlling most of the second period, it ended all square.
Dartford were pipped for the title on goal difference by Havant & Waterlooville, this despite racking up nine successive victories on their run-in. Darts were the League's top scorers finding the back of the net on 81 occasions.
The Iron progressed to the semi-finals of the play-offs after an energy sapping 120 minutes football on a soft pitch; followed by a nerve jangling penalty shoot-out. Much elation (and relief) followed and now we go to what will arguably be our hardest test so far. Good luck to Brad and all his staff and players in keeping the dream alive.
McDonald saves Shulton penalty in shoot out
Braintree Town are through to the semi-finals of this season's Vanarama National League South promotion play-offs after a dramatic finale to last night's goal-less draw at Hemel Hempstead.
There was little to separate the two sides in an engaging end-to-end tie that lasted more than two hours.
The winner was ultimately decided by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark and, after Marcel Barrington and Luke Allen had converted their two kicks, it was former Iron player Scott Shulton that gave Iron fans in the 1165 crowd hope when his spot-kick was superbly saved by keeper Nathan McDonald.
Although our third kick was also unsuccessful, Hemel then missed their last two kicks which, combined with a successful third for Iron saw Iron through.
The game itself swung from end to end. McDonald used his legs well to deny Moyo after ten minutes, before Thompson's long-range effort zipped just wide of the target eight minutes later. Just after the half hour Sanchez-Watt opened up the Iron defence, but saw his effort found the side-netting.
After the break Iron upped their game and both Reece Grant and Barrington testing the home defence. But Hemel were also dangerous on the break with McDonald reacting quickly to deny Moyo's shot.
Wright broke through the home defence mid-way through the second half and was crudely brought down by Parkes who was fortunate to escape with just a caution.
Late on saw both sides push forward with a dipping effort from Josh Hill just looping over the crossbar, but neither side could break the deadlock - so the game entered extra-time.
Moyo saw his header come close five minutes into the extra thirty for the home side, before Marcel set up Allen who's shot needed a superb save from home keeper Walker to prevent the first goal.
Iron looked to have a valid penalty appeal four minutes into the second fifteen of extra time when he was pulled down from behind, but the match referee has having none of it.
As penalties loomed, Thompson and Rick Gabriel combined to score but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Braintree: McDonald, Muleba, Gabriel, Hill, Okoye, Wright, Allen, Crook (Wyatt 70), Grant, Thompson (Michael-Percil 80), Barrington. Un-used suns: Aldridge, Bettache, Frimpong. Referee: Will Finney. Attendance: 1165.
Next up for Iron is a Vanarama National League South promotion play-off semi-final away at Dartford this coming Sunday, 6th May, with kick-off at 3pm. Admission prices for this match are as follows: Adults £14, Concessions £7, Youth £5, Junior £2, Under 5s Free.
Victory over Gloucester makes it 16 points from 18
In-form Iron are into the play-offs thanks to a scintillating second half performance in which they dominated scoring three goals and could easily have scored more as in the end they overwhelmed their visitors.
A delighted Quinton, back at the Club as manager where he played over 500 first team games, praised his players for listening to his half time talk and why they changed their formation to help secure the win.
"I knew we had done well in that first period but we need to stretch the game more, use the width of the pitch and be more positive in our play, particularly in the opposition's half," he said. "Once we scored I knew then that, with confidence and keeping the pressure on, we could go on to score more. I'm also pleased we kept another clean sheet.
"It's a fantastic season for us bearing in mind when I arrived last summer we had no players and no team," he explained. "But, despite one or two setbacks en route, all the players have worked hard and we've achieved our goal of getting into the play-offs - which we are all eagerly looking forward to."
Iron broke the deadlock on 50 minutes when a left wing cross from Ricky Gabriel was headed back across the area by Dan Thompson for the predatory Reece Grant who was quickest to the ball to head home.
The all important second goal came on 75 minutes from a right wing corner. Pulled back to where defender Josh Hill, five yards outside the area, turned and hit the ball cleanly with pace into the corner of the net with an unstoppable drive. A late candidate for 'goal of the season'.
The home side kept pressing and several chances went begging but a minute into stoppage time it was the youngster Grant who followed up pressure on the Gloucester keeper to steer his low shot past keeper Andy Hannah into the bottom left corner.
First half chances had been few and between with Iron unlucky not to take a 31st minute lead when Grant broke clear only to see his low shot come back off the post whilst, a minute later up at the other end, the visitors' Joe Parker thought he had scored netting with a shot on the run, but was denied by the assistant's offside flag.
The three points left Braintree Town in a final sixth position and sets up a play-off qualifier at Hemel Hempstead Town on Wednesday, 2nd May, with kick-off at 7.45pm. Iron will go into the game confident having taken sixteen points from their last possible eighteen.
Braintree Town: (4-4-2) McDonald; Muleba (86 Frimpong), Gabriel, Hill, Okoye; Wright, Crook, Allen (70 Bettache), Wyatt (84 Michael Percil); Thompson, Grant. Unused subs: Barrington, Aldridge. Attendance: 616. Referee: Jack Packham.
Friday 20 July 2018, 7.30
CAMBRIDGE UNITED (HOME)
Saturday 21 July 2018, 3pm
Dereham Town (Away)
Tuesday 24 July 2018, 7.45
Coggeshall Town (Away)
Saturday 28 July 2018, 3pm
CHELMSFORD CITY (HOME)
HOW WE FINISHED