Braintree Town beat a young Reading side and impress with their passing football

Shane McLoughlin, right, had a good game for Braintree

Shane McLoughlin, right, had a good game for Braintree - Credit: Archant

Braintree Town 2 Reading U23s 0

The Iron wrapped up their pre-season friendlies with an impressive victory over a workmanlike young Royals side at the IronmongeryDirect Stadium on Saturday.

The winning margin would have been greater but for several heroic saves by visiting keeper George Legg while Iron fans in the 140 crowd would have been impressed by the way their new-look side created opportunities, played their passing game and were far more entertaining to watch than at any time last season.

The Iron were in command for most of the game, forcing Legg to make a point-blank save on 35 minutes from a close range effort by Marc-Anthony Okoye and two minutes later he denied Karl Oliyide with an outstanding save with his legs.

Close to the interval Legg again proved to be the stumbling block tipping over a fierce first time shot by Ipswich loanee Shane McLoughlin.

Four minutes after the restart the Iron finally made the breakthrough when Phil Roberts headed on a long Nathan McDonald goal kick to the ever alert McLoughlin who drilled the ball low past Legg.

Five minutes later the Ipswich youngster almost added a second but he was again denied by Legg.

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Earlier McDonald had twice pulled off two fine saves to deny Teddy Howe and Ben House but once the deadlock was broken it gave the Iron players more confidence in pushing forward for that crucial second goal to give them some breathing space.

It didn’t come until eight minutes from the end when Iron substitute Samir Bihmoutine was hauled down in the area by Howe and up stepped Billy Crook to fire the resultant spot kick home.

It also gave a better reflection of play over the 90 minutes in which the Iron without doubt played their best football of pre-season and gives the new side confidence ahead of next Saturday’s opening National League South game at Eastbourne Borough.

Braintree Town: McDonald; Muleba, Gabriel, Frimpong, Okoye; Mugabe (55 Maybanks), Craddock, Cook, Olyide, (75 Bihmoutine); Roberts (79 Wyatt), McLaughlin (55 Wynter). Unused subs: Shulton, Baxter, Obamwonyi.

Referee: Carl Pearce.

Attendance: 140

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