Vanarama National League

His 19th birthday is undoubtedly one that Callum Morton won’t forget quickly.

The West Bromwich Albion loanee celebrated turning 19 by scoring a hat-trick against former Football League side Barnet to see Braintree Town to undeniably their best result of the season.

Barnet had won an FA Cup encounter at home before Christmas but they were totally outplayed on this occasion.

It had been a long time coming, but Braintree fully deserved everything they got from this Vanarama National League clash and a 4-0 home win delivered three precious points.

They were aided by the sending off Bees keeper Mark Cousins in just the third minute, but nothing should be taken away from a heartening victory that will have been a magnificent morale booster.

It was then rounded off with a lovely strike from debutant Ifeanyi Allen for a fourth goal and there was also the added bonus as they kept a third clean sheet from their last four league games.

There was just one change for Braintree from the side that faced FC Halifax Town in their last league outing two weeks ago.

They drew that previous game 0-0 and the change in the line-up saw Danny Rowe coming into the side for Marcel Barrington, who wasn't included in the matchday squad.

After conceding early in the last home game – in a 4-0 defeat by Ebbsfleet United on New Year’s Day - Braintree were looking to keep it very tight in the opening stages, but even they couldn’t have imagined the start to the game they would have.

With just three minutes on the clock, a back pass to Bees keeper Mark Cousins seemed to be easily dealt with by the former Colchester United stopper.

However, he hadn’t bargained on the pace of Morton, who chased Cousins down with frightening speed after he dwelt too long on the ball and the Braintree striker robbed it off his toes.

Morton rolled the ball into the net but only as he was being hauled to the floor by Cousins and referee Carl Brook had the easy task of brandishing a straight red card to the Bees keeper.

He didn’t let the goal stand, but it was only a matter of time as Morton stepped forward and fired in from the spot to convert the foul he had won into an early lead.

There was soon a good chance for a second for Braintree as well as Cameron James was fouled and the Iron had a dangerous free-kick just outside the Barnet area.

It was swung in by Luke Allen to where Kodi Lyons-Foster got ahead of his marker and met the ball well, but he could only scoop it over the bar from a good position.

Barnet tried to get themselves back into the game but it was the Iron who looked a threat every time they went forward with the pace of Morton, Rowe, Amaluzor and Allen making life very uncomfortable for the visitors.

They knew they really had to make it count in terms of goals and almost did – twice – on 19 minutes.

It came from another dangerous free-kick after a foul on Morton and Allen’s ball into the middle was first headed against the bar by Cameron James and then Rob Atkinson fired against the post from the rebound as the Bees goal led a charmed life.

That only lasted until the 34th minute, though.

Good grafting in midfield by Braintree saw them win the ball and Courtney Richards slid a beautifully-weighted pass in to Morton, who drilled a fantastic shot past substitute goalkeeper Rihards Matrevics and into the goal off the underside of the bar to make it 2-0.

Barnet once again looked to respond to a goal and had a brief spell of pressure, but the Iron defence showed some steel and held firm when required.

That allowed them to end the half strongly and they hit Barnet on the break in time added-on, with Amaluzor getting free and seeing his shot deflected inches wide of the target.

From the resulting corner, the ball was played to Amaluzor on the edge of the box and his thunderous shot had to be acrobatically saved by Matrevics as the Iron finished an excellent half very much on the front foot.

And that was how they started the second, with much of the early play after the break taking place in the Bees’ half of the pitch.

Chances soon followed and a gilt-edged one came to Rowe on 53 minutes after a quick break down the right.

Allen squared the ball in to a totally unmarked Rowe, but he fluffed his lines and skied his shot well over the bar as the lead stayed at just two.

That was only until the 60th minute, though, and Iron’s good play was rewarded with a third goal for Morton as the West Brom loanee completed his hat-trick.

It came in the same way as the first, with him winning and then converting a penalty.

A lofted ball was played by Richards into the Barnet area and controlled by Morton but he was bundled over leaving referee Brook with no option but to point to the spot again.

With a 3-0 lead behind them, a man advantage and 30 minutes still to play, the Iron sensed blood and stayed on the front foot.

They were so close to a fourth goal when great work by Atkinson on the left saw him drill a cross over to where Amaluzor met the ball with a forceful volley but it was kept out by a wonderful reaction save by Matrevics.

Another superb save from Matrevics was then needed to keep out a driven shot by James from 25 yards and, from the resulting corner, Rowe's glanced a header just wide of the target.

But the fourth goal did come on 83 minutes when the Iron hit Barnet on the break with a through ball from Morton setting substitute Ifeanyi Allen free and he showed great composure with his finish to score on his Braintree debut.

It was certainly a fitting ending to a day to savour for Braintree fans.

Braintree Town: Ben Killip, Andrew Eleftheriou, Luke Allen, Robert Atkinson, Ricky Gabriel, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Danny Rowe (Ifeanyi Allen 76), Cameron James, Courtney Richards (Mo Sagaf 84), Callum Morton, Justin Amaluzor.

Subs not used: Taylor Curran, Oscar Borg, Lyle Della-Verde.

Referee: Carl Brook.