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A View From The Terraces
1:58pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in Sport
Long-time fan and Braintree Town media summariser Gordon Humphris gives his thoughts on the Iron in his weekly column in the Times - here is his take on a profitable week for the club.
Hooray, hooray, it’s a week of football.
An amazing 42 days had passed since the Iron faithful have seen soccer action in the Conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Kidderminster Harriers’ Aggborough Stadium,.
Harriers had not fared too well over the last few weeks, but the Iron were rusty after their enforced break without a league game.
For the first 50 minutes, though, Braintree had the game in their hands and it got better.
Matt Paine drove in from a Bernard Mensah corner and this was followed by a second from substitute Dan Holman.
Sean Marks went off with a head injury and a crucial error in midfield by skipper Kenny Davis saw him concede a foul and gain a yellow card, with the resultant free-kick steered into the back of Nick Hamann’s net.
Pressure from the Harriers got them a second goal and Braintree’s travelling support had a nervous 15 minutes at the end.
They held on, though, so Devs was pleased with the excellent effort and the loan players performed well.
It was a point away from home, which could have been three, but we would have taken a draw at the beginning of the game.
It has never been easy at Kidderminster and they had some luck, but it bodes well that, after such a long break, the Iron shone and didn’t stop.
It did mean that the visit of Cambridge would be eagerly awaited on Tuesday night Bobby Ritchie and his team of helpers had been hard at it and a series of sand banding measures, channels and a moat around the pitch all conspired to have a good-looking playable surface.
Supporters who had travelled on Saturday commented that our pitch look far superior to that of Kidderminster’s.
Tuesday evening games always suffer more with attendance, but even with the fact that there had not been a home game played since December 28, the showing from Braintree’s supporters was not as would have been hoped.
The attendance of 1,016 was probably down by at least a thousand on what would have been expected on the original New Year’s Day fixture but at last there was something for those that did turn out to watch.
Those that gave the game a miss, missed a cracker.
Buoyed on by the result and effort of Saturday, the fans on the terraces witnessed an Iron side that showed no signs of the winter break enforced upon them.
The first half was pretty much even although Braintree did show signs that they were up for the game.
One change at half-time saw Dan Sparkes come on for Kenny Davis, who had sustained a dead leg.
This put loanee Josh Laurent in the midfield and Sparkes into his usual left-wing berth.
It was an inspired change in my opinion as we suddenly took the game by the scruff of the neck and bossed the next 45 minutes.
Sparkes became the hero of the night as he atoned for a late miss on Saturday by driving in the winner from a delightful Bernard Mensah cross.
Despite the referee going card crazy with five going the way of Braintree, the Iron continued to press and were unlucky not to get a second.
The Iron faithful had a nervous five minutes of time added-on - I’m still unsure where that came from - but we didn't sit back and allow the pressure from a desperate Cambridge side to effect the result.
Indeed most of the added time was spent camped out in the Cambridge penalty area!
Alan Devonshire told me after the game that he was delighted with the effort of the whole team and if I was to pick a man of the match it would probably have been Josh Laurent the Brentford loan player for his tenacity during the second half.
So although we are still lying 16th and eight points short of Devs’ 50-point target it all looks good if we can maintain this rich vein of form.
Time will tell but I think we are all well up for it and Hyde, the whipping boys of the league this season, will visit on Saturday.
If you missed the action during this last week, don’t make the dame mistake come Saturday.
Come on the Iron!