BRAINTREE TOWN 0 IPSWICH TOWN 1
Braintree Town lost their pre-season friendly against Ipswich Town at the Amlin Stadium as a young Suffolk side edged a 1-0 win.
However, the result was irrelevant on a night when Braintree honoured one of their finest servants – Bradley Quinton.
After almost 550 games for the Iron – a club record – spread over a decade and a half, the 35-year-old has decided to retire from playing due to a long-standing knee injury.
And Braintree had afforded him a testimonial match in recognition of that, with Championship side Ipswich providing the opposition as the Iron continued their pre-season preparations.
It was a youthful Ipswich side, but Blues manager, Mick McCarthy, was at the game to see how his players did and he also included Leroy Lita in his line-up.
The former Bristol City, Reading, Middlesbrough and Swansea striker is on trial at Ipswich and he started up front for them.
Braintree, meanwhile, had a strong side out in the first half even though they have another pre-season game at local rivals Chelmsford City tomorrow night.
Despite his knee problems, Quinton began the game in the heart of Braintree’s midfield where he has served the club so loyally a record number of times.
And he was heavily involved in the action as the hosts made most of the early running.
The front pairing of Sean Marks and Dan Walker worked hard and caused a number of problems for the Ipswich back line, with strong support from James Mulley and Chez Isaac on either flank.
However, there was little actual goal threat from either side in the opening half hour.
The breakthrough when it did come was from Ipswich with 34 minutes on the clock.
A free-kick from just outside the box was well parried by Nathan McDonald in the home goal, but the ball span free and Lita poked it in from close range to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at half-time.
It was a much-changed Braintree side that emerged for the second half, with only Matt Paine of the current first-team squad staying out.
Instead it was a mix of triallists and former Braintree Town players, including Jamie Guy, Bertie Brayley, Steve Good, David Bryant, Nicky Symons and Robbie Martin, who turned out to honour Quinton on his special night.
The star of the show lasted until the 60th minute when he finally bade farewell to the Braintree fans and received warm and appreciative applause from the 467 who had turned out for the game as a truly great career came to an end.
With Quinton’s departure and the changes made by both benches the game rather petered out to a stalemate in the closing stages as Ipswich held on to their slender lead.
However, it was never about the result and Quinton was seen off in memorable style by a club he has graced over many years.