Braintree head to Hemel Hempstead in play-offs after second-half delight
- Credit: Archant
Braintree Town 3 Gloucester City 0
The Iron are into the National League South 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, writes David Ward.
Iron travel to Hemel Hempstead on Wednesday in their play-off semi-final.
The first to congratulate Iron manager Brad Quinton on his side’s success was City boss Marc Richards who said: “They fully deserved to win on that second half performance where we just didn’t have an answer to their swift passing and forward movement.
“I was pleased we were still in the game at half time but our young side kept going even after conceding goals and we wish Brad and the Iron all the best in the play-offs because they deserve to be there.”
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A delighted Quinton, back at the club as manager where he played more than 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.
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“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.”
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.”
The Iron broke the deadlock on 50 minutes when a left wing cross from Ricky Gabriel was headed back across the area by Dan Thompson where Reece Grant was quickest to the ball to scramble it home.
The all-important second goal came on 75 minutes from a right wing corner where defender Josh Hill, five yards outside the area, turned and hit the ball high into the corner of the net with an unstoppable shot.
The home side kept pressing and several chances went begging but a minute into stoppage time it was the youngster Grant who latched on to a through ball and within two strides struck a low shot which keeper Andy Hannah could do nothing about.
First half chances had been few and between with the Iron unlucky no to take a 31st minute lead when Reece 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 he was flagged offside.
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.
Gloucester City: (4-4-2) Hannah; Thomas, Parselle, Williams, Avery; Smekdon, Lawrence, (53 Kelly), Hanks (45 Edge), Hall; Parker (75 Turner), Williams. Unused subs: Hamilton, Morford.
Star Man: Josh Hill (Braintree Town)
Referee: Jack Packham
Shots on target: Braintree 6, Gloucester 3
Shots off target: Braintree 5, Gloucester 3
Corners: Braintree 10, Gloucester 7
Offsides: Braintree 1, Gloucester 3
Fouls: Braintree 9, Gloucester 8
Yellow cards: Wyatt (Braintree) 10 mins