Joy for Iron
BLUE SQUARE SOUTHBraintree 2 Bishop's Stortford 1BRAINTREE'S highest gate of the season of almost 1,000 witnessed a terrific comeback in the last 15 minutes to secure their second victory over Bishop's Stortford of the holiday period.
BLUE SQUARE SOUTH
Bishop's Stortford 1
BRAINTREE'S highest gate of the season of almost 1,000 witnessed a terrific comeback in the last 15 minutes to secure their second victory over Bishop's Stortford of the holiday period.
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The three points meant that Iron are now on the fringe of the play-off positions.
Stortford were quickly into their stride and should have been ahead after 18 minutes, Jack Midson putting a good header the wrong side of a post.
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But after 32 minutes they took a deserved lead. Greg Pearson found the time and space to turn and fire past Braintree keeper Nick Morgan after the Iron defence had failed to clear their lines.
Moments later it could have been two but Morgan saved a shot from Langer with his legs.
Braintree's only chance of the half was a fierce drive from Tony Boot that Welch, the Stortford keeper, tipped over the bar after 23 minutes.
Things did not look good for Braintree until manager Lee Paterson brought on Steve Good and James Baker with just 20 minutes left.
Suddenly the Iron looked lively up front and after 75 minutes a Robbie Martin corner found Chris Sullivan, who forced in the equaliser from six yards.
Another Martin corner with just three minutes left found Billy Burgess on the edge of the area and his looping header left Welch stranded as the ball sailed over him into the net to give Braintree the three points and send the majority of the crowd home happy.
RIDGEONS LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Kirkley & Pakefield 2
KIRKLEY & Pakefield produced a magnificent all-round team display on New Year's Day to dent Wroxham's championship hopes after outplaying the Yachtsmen with a goal in each half.
Wroxham, with Gilmore and Key prominent, came at Kirkley & Pakefield but the sting was taken out of the home side after 34 minures when a Bodie Carter corner was hit home by man of the match Ryan De Coteau with a falling drive past Woodcock.
The visitors repelled Wroxham's assault at the opening of the second half and deservedly made it 2-0 after 49 minutes when Stone turned on a 10 pence piece to arc a ball into the far corner of the net with Woodcock beaten, following a neat flick through by Jordan Blyth.
This was arguably Kirkley & Pakefield's best-ever performance since they entered the Ridgeons League in 2002 and leaves the league title race wide open.
Halstead 2 FC Clacton 3
ANY New Year resolutions Halstead might have made certainly did not work when they fell to their first defeat in eight games against a hard-working Clacton side yesterday.
Simple failure to take chances and to clear opposition attacks led to their downfall, for after turning a deficit into a 2-1 lead, slack defensive play cost them victory.
Manager Jody Brown said: “I knew this would happen sooner or later. I told the players that not every game could be won, but hopefully this loss will act as a shock and we will get back to winning ways on Saturday.”
Danny Rowell wasted a simple cross to put colleagues into a scoring position, and inevitably Halstead were punished when Clacton took a 10th minute lead when a delightful three-man move down the left ended with Sean Hillier picking his spot to fire home.
Halstead clicked into gear with two goals in five minutes midway through the half. First Paul Abrahams fired home the equaliser followed by Chris Bryan putting them ahead, both provided by neat passes by Steve Daly, but seconds later Abrahams missed a great chance to make it three from a yard.
Right on the break Clacton got back on terms when Mike Lyness took full advantage of the home defence's inability to clear a simple cross.
Immediately on resumption Clacton grabbed what proved to be the winner when left-winger Mark White left three defenders in his wake and beat keeper Paul Wood in off the far post.
Halstead went on to force seven corners without reply, but it must be said a scoring attempt failed to materialise from any of them.
Clacton's Ashley Pereira was dismissed after receiving his second yellow card for a foul on Rowell.