East League division 8SE

BRAINTREE Academy completed the double over Witham Hockey Club men's fifths with a single well taken goal early in the first half by one of their young players .

The decisive goal came after the Braintree player evaded a number of tackles before slotting the ball under the diving Witham keeper Andy Wiseman.

However, Maypole Health-sponsored Witham should have got a result having forced a number of short corners, but they failed to convert any of them through careless shooting or good defending and keeping by Braintree.

Witham backs Sam and Lee Ward, Lee Bedingfield and Kev Avery were continually forced back in the first half as Braintree commanded the midfield in spite of some good runs by Matt Waldie on the left.

At half-time and with the score still 1-0 to Braintree, Witham tried to wrest control of the midfield and brought Bob Ward on at right-back.

Moving Sam Ward to the centre with James Burns and Brendon Ledwell, they pushed forward more and Richard Dunnage, Daren Williams and Chris Field kept the momentum for Witham.

They were reduced to ten men when Lee Ward was sent off for reacting to a late tackle, though, and Witham captain Bedingfield was forced to re-arrange the defence for the remainder of the game.

Man-of-the-match Sam Ward stepped into the centre of defence to thwart a string of quick Braintree attacks, but Witham were grateful to keeper Wiseman for some good late saves that kept the score line respectable.

Witham need to bounce back from this setback as they now host league leaders Chelmsford fifths on Saturday and hope to reduce the extending gap at the top of the division.