Braintree Town get back to winning ways
A QUICKFIRE early double from Sean Marks earned Braintree Town a terrific victory at Southport on a windswept Saturday.
The Iron had lost their previous four games on the bounce, including a miserable exit from the FA Trophy at the hands of Blue Square South visitors Havant & Waterlooville in midweek.
But the Essex club stopped the rot with a deserved success on the Lancashire coast, the scene of a marvellous 4-0 win the previous season.
Strikers Marks and Dan Holman combined for the first goal, on 16 minutes. It was Holman, an early substitute for the injured Dan Cowan, who was the creator, delivering from the left for Marks to slot home under keeper McMillan.
Just four minutes later, Marks struck again to double Iron’s lead.
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It was another deadly finish from Marks, who this time benefited from good work down the right flank by Luke Daley to convert at the near post.
Braintree had a strong wind at their backs in the first period, so it was always going to be a difficult second half for Alan Devonshire’s men.
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But they soaked up the pressure well, helped by a commanding display from keeper Danny Naisbitt, and a solid centre-half partnership of Dean Wells and Alan Massey.
Fellow centre-half Adam Bailey-Dennis had left the Iron on Thursday night, released from his weekly contract. The ex-Colchester United trainee is now on the lookout for a new club.
Bailey-Dennis’ exit paved the way for Massey to come in alongside Wells, and the clean-sheet at Southport delighted manager Devonshire.
“We dominated the first half and took our chances,” enthused Devonshire.
“But I was just as pleased with the resilience we showed against the wind after the break. The spine of our team looked strong and we deserved the win.”
Southport boss Liam Watson had no complaints: “We haven’t troubled Braintree in the 90 minutes, and you can’t give teams two-goal starts.
“We’ve had a fair chunk of the second half, but they’ve just sat deep and been comfortable.”
The Iron had begun the day level on points with bottom club Barrow, but they have now risen to fourth-from-bottom, just one point adrift of safety.