Pre-season friendly

In their fourth pre-season game under new manager Glen Driver, Braintree Town came unstuck against a strong young side from Championship club Brentford.

The Iron had won one and drawn two of their previous outings, but were made to pay for some poor defending by a well-drilled B’s outfit, who were deserving 4-0 winners at Cressing Road.

Braintree did look a threat going forward with good movement at times and some decent efforts on goal, but the visitors were also lively in attack and were too good to not punish any lapses from the Iron back line.

The game started with Brentford seeing plenty of possession and Iron keeper Michael Johnson was in action early, first having to rush out of his area to block with his legs and then clutching a curling effort from distance by Jayden Onen.

Braintree, in contrast, took a while to find their groove as an attacking force, but did open the Brentford defence with a lovely passing move on eight minutes.

That saw Tom Richardson lay the ball wide on the right to Adam Mills, who looked up and fired in a shot that was curling perfectly into the top corner until B’s keeper Shepperd tipped it away.

Mills, who had scored Braintree’s goal in the 1-1 draw with West Ham under-23s in their previous outing, was the Iron’s greatest goal threat in the first half, with the former Needham Market man looking to cut in from the right-hand side.

But Brentford remained the more likely to open the scoring, with Justin Shaibu sending a shot low beyond Johnson’s far post and the visitors should have done better when they broke from defence on 17 minutes rather than firing a shot straight at the Iron keeper.

Johnson had to be more alert on 20 minutes when he tipped a long-range shot from Onen away for a corner, however, the opening goal did come for Brentford four minutes later.

Iron centre-half Jake Hutchings was caught in possession at the edge of his own area and the ball was laid off to Gustav Mogensen who made no mistake in finding the target.

And it was soon 2-0 as, just two minutes later, Allie Coote played a neat one-two to advance into a crowded Iron penalty area and drilled in a second goal for the visitors.

Braintree tried to respond and Mills clipped the ball off the crossbar, while a low cross from Richardson had to be cleared away and a clearance by Shepperd cannoned off Mills and went just wide just before half-time.

However, there was no breakthrough before the break and it was the visitors who almost added to their lead as the half drew to a close.

Brentford looked comfortable in the closing part of the half, dominating possession again as they pressed Braintree back into their own half and Johnson was again alert in keeping out a shot after some good build-up play from the B’s.

That meant the score stayed 2-0 at the interval and, as he had done in previous pre-season games, Iron boss Driver made wholesale changes to his team for the start of the second 45 minutes.

It meant the Iron took a while to get going again, but as they found their rhythm, they began to pose a threat going forward.

One effort from distance by Alfie Cerulli fizzed past the outside of Shepperd’s post and the young Iron striker went close again on 53 minutes when his strong run him blast a path through the B’s defence before firing a low shot inches wide.

However, it was in defence that Braintree fragility remained and Brentford took advantage on 56 minutes when Onen intercepted the ball before slicing his way through the middle past a couple of challenges and slotting the ball past an exposed Johnson.

And the Iron keeper was given no chance when the fourth goal came in the 70th minute.

This time, there was hesitation in the Braintree defence and that allowed Jaden Brissett to collect a cross from the right, control it with his first touch and drill the ball low into the back of the hosts’ net with his second.

Once again, Braintree tried to have a threat going forward and Ade Cole’s fierce shot flew just past the post and Cole then tested replacement B’s keeper Andersson with a great effort after cutting in from the left.

However, there was no breakthrough for the hosts and Brentford were able to close out the game by holding on to their clean sheet.

Braintree Town: First half – Michael Johnson, Harry Osbourne, Charlie Banya, Tyler Christian-Law, Jake Hutchings, Kyron Clements, Sean Bonnett-Johnson, Aaron Lamont, Tom Richardson, Adam Mills, Jason Banton.

Second half – Michael Johnson, Jayden Gipson, Ollie Saunders, George Essuman, Jake Hutchings, Sergio Manesio, Ade Cole, Alfie Cerulli, Jermaine Osie, Trey Charles, Rob Harvey.