Dan Holman’s the hero for Braintree Town as Tamworth pay penalty

IF Braintree Town are going to improve on last season’s 12th-place finish in Blue Square Bet Premier, then winning ugly like Saturday’s 2-1 victory will certainly help their cause.

Iron, looking to build on the 4-1 hammering they dished out at Woking in midweek, had to battle and scrap for every ball at the weekend in a scruffy game that might have gone against Alan Devonshire’s team last term.

They also had more than their fair share of luck and Kenny Davis left the Amlin Stadium after the game breathing a massive sigh of relief.

His twice-taken penalty was easily saved on both occasions by Tony Breedon, the second such kick resulting in a rebound which was snapped up by Dan Holman for the hosts’ winner, his third goal in two games since joining from Histon.

There was no disputing Holman’s finish but Tamworth were justified in being aggrieved by the decision to award a penalty, especially when the offence of handball, committed by Sam Oji, was only spotted by the eagle-eyed assistant.

Michael Gash’s back-post header on 21 minutes had edged Braintree ahead, following an opening period that consisted of lots of endeavour but not much quality.

However, the goal did little to dampen plucky Tamworth’s spirit and they gave Iron problems with their tendency to attack in numbers and pick off the scraps from giant target men, Vinny Mukendi and Adam Cunnington.

Most Read

At times, Town struggled to clear their lines and it was from one such passage of play that Cunnington restored parity.

Sam Habergham and Davis got in a pickle on the left-hand side and that allowed Peter Till to deliver a tempting ball into the box which was only cleared as far as the big striker, who volleyed home.

Holman’s winner came on the hour and set up a frantic last 30 minutes which saw Breedon make a remarkable double stop to deny Brad Quinton, before Town’s Danny Naisbitt got down smartly to parry away Shaun Jeffers’ testing long-range shot.

In the first half, Gash should have done better with a header when unmarked before substitite Josh Dawkin had the chance to wrap the game up for Town, but ballooned his close-range effort over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

After the game, manager Devonshire praised the efforts of his leg-weary troops, who can make it three wins on the trot with victory at home to Kidderminster tomorrow night.

He said: “We were the better side and should have been leading at the break.

“It was a bit different from Tuesday night’s game at Woking as today we played well for 20 minutes of the second half but then we tired.

“But we dug in and that is what it is all about. They had two boys in attack who were both about six-foot five and I thought our two centre-halves did ever so well.

“Dan (Holman) will probably take the plaudits but I thought it was an all-round good team performance.”

Town: Naisbitt, Peters, Habergham, Bailey-Dennis, Wells, Quinton (Mulley 82), Symons, Davis, Sparkes (Dawkin 75), Holman, Gash (Marks 90)