Essex Senior Cup round four

A defeat by Chelmsford City means Braintree Town’s name won’t be adorning the county cup this season.

Both National League South meetings between the two rivals ended in draws last season, just as had been the case when they met in a pre-season friendly at Cressing Road last summer.

This time, in the Essex Senior Cup’s fourth round, it was Chelmsford’s fans who held the bragging rights, although with just 312 in the crowd, it was clear that supporters of both clubs weren’t overly enraptured by the fixture.

Both sides made a host of changes to their regular first-team line-ups and that reduced the ability to use the game as a barometer of each team’s strengths.

It also helped take any derby day sting out of the encounter but it was the hosts who showed up better and looked sharper all over the pitch.

In the end, it was Amos Nasha’s first-half strike that separated them as much of the game descended into a scrappy affair, with City’s second coming in the final minute as Tom Wraight made their win safe.

With Iron manager Hakan Hayrettin watching from the stands in the first half, his assistant, Danny Searle, took charge from the technical area for the visitors in the first half.

The Braintree line-up included just Ricky Gabriel from the one that started the National League game against Barrow on Saturday, as they mixed things up with a number of first-teamers who needed minutes and reserve team players.

The Clarets, meanwhile, made seven alterations after their National League South win against Gloucester City on Saturday and the changes from both sides were possibly a contributing factor to a scrappy start to the game from the two rivals.

However, the hosts settled first and looked threatening down both flanks as they pressed to get balls in behind the Iron’s back line.

There were a couple of nervy moments for the visitors, who had to make some hurried clearances and keeper Ashlee Jones had to make some early saves but clear cut chances weren’t abundant.

The closest Chelmsford went was on 21 minutes when the woodwork came to Braintree’s rescue.

Rhys Murphy got in behind the Iron defence on the right and, under pressure, fired across Jones only to see his fierce shot cannon off the post and away as the Iron were given a let-off.

It came just as Braintree had shown signs of gaining some more effective possession, but they soon found themselves trailing.

The opening goal for the hosts came on 26 minutes after a foul by Pat Webber on Murphy on the edge of the box wide on the left.

The Iron defence was caught napping as the ball was played back quickly to Amos Nasha on the edge of the box and he had far too much time and space to curl the ball into the top corner.

It was Nasha’s second goal in as many games after he scored against Gloucester at the weekend and the home side continued looking the more threatening going forward.

Lyle Della-Verde, playing after suspension kept him out on Saturday for Braintree, was the visitors’ most creative player going forward and engineered a couple of half-chances but the only Iron efforts came from distance and City keeper Ashley Maynard Brewer wasn’t unduly troubled.

It stayed 1-0 to the hosts at half-time and the pattern of play remained largely the same after the break as the Clarets stayed on top and the Iron struggled to gain much foothold in advanced areas.

There was a change on the sidelines, though, as Hayrettin moved from the stands to the dugout for the second 45 minutes.

And he saw his team gradually increase their possession as they began to threaten more as an attacking force, however, they were unable to put effective pressure on the home goal.

That meant scoring chances remained scarce and the Clarets held on to their lead quite comfortably at the end.

Braintree ended the game with ten men as Webber came off after taking a knock after all substitutions had been made and the Clarets profited from the extra space late on.

A through ball found Wraight in the final minute and he showed good composure to drill the ball into the net to put the seal on the Clarets’ win and their place in the Essex Senior Cup’s quarter-finals.

Braintree Town: Ashlee Jones, Mahrez Bettache (Jon Muleba 78), Oscar Borg, Ricky Gabriel, Pat Webber, Henry Ochieng, Luke Allen, Trey Charkes, Ferhat Akgun (Emmanuel Omrore 55), Daniel Olusemo (Mo Sagaf 59), Lyle Della-Verde.

Subs not used: Joel Lamb, Columbus Iyayi.

Referee: Rob Whitton.