Vanarama National League South

Braintree Town’s trip to Tonbridge Angels showed that previous form can count for nothing as the Iron were halted in their tracks by a 5-1 defeat.

Glen Driver’s side came into the game sat joint top of the Vanarama National League South’s form table following a run where they had taken 16 points from a possible 18.

That had placed Braintree fifth in the league standings, while Angels on the other hand were sat third from bottom on form over the previous six games.

They had claimed just four points in that spell and were second-from-bottom in the league, but form was thrown out the window as three first-half goals and two after the break made it a day to forget for the Iron.

Adam Mills did step off the bench to score for Braintree, but it was just a consolation strike.

Braintree had not had any league action since the 1-0 home win against Oxford City two weeks previously, but they had been in Essex Senior Cup action in the meantime.

That county cup outing had seen the extend their run of positive results with a 2-1 win against Tilbury and they were unchanged from the starting line-up of that midweek tie.

It meant there were first league starts for new signings Rhys Murrell Williamson, Jack James and Byron Lawrence, while another new addition, Lucas Kirkpatrick, began on the bench again.

Despite their relative league positions at the start of the day, it was the home side that made the early running and three goals put them firmly in the driving seat after the opening half hour.

Having seen an effort by Iron striker Femi Akinwande saved early on, it was the hosts who then took control and a trio of strikes in seven minutes left Braintree with a mountain to climb.

Tonbridge pressure was building before Tom Derry put them ahead in the 21st minute and that was followed five minutes later when the home side was awarded a penalty after a foul in the box.

D’Sean Theobalds converted from the spot to double the Angels’ advantage, but worse was to come for Braintree as Tommie Hession-Harris added a third on 28 minutes.

The Iron were rocked and tried to respond before the break, winning a series of corners as the home goal was put under pressure.

A Tom Richardson shot that went just wide from a cross by Lawrence was the closest they came to a goal, though, and the Iron headed into half-time trailing by three and knowing there was a lot of work to do in the second 45 minutes.

They were unable to find the early breakthrough they wanted, although first Akinwande and then Ade Cole went close with efforts around the hour mark.

However, Tonbridge showed they were far more clinical on the day soon after when Hession-Harris compounded Braintree woe by firing in a fourth goal in the 61st minute to make it 4-0.

Mills, who had come on as a substitute for Murrell Williamson in the 55th minute, did give the travelling fans in the crowd of 612 something to cheer when he was on target on 74 minutes as he headed in from another cross by Lawrence.

It sparked hopes of an unlikely Iron comeback in the final quarter of an hour and Akinwande saw another shot saved by Tonbridge keeper Jonathan Healy.

However, those hopes were dashed when Rhian Bray scored the Angels’ fifth of the afternoon in the 80th minute and made sure Braintree’s good run came to an abrupt halt.

Braintree Town: Michael Johnson, Jack James, Cameron Green, Rhys Murrell Williamson (Adam Mills 55), Jake Hutchings, Josh Urquhart, Byron Lawrence, Ade Cole, Tom Richardson (Charley Barker 68), Femi Akinwande, Alfie Cerulli (Tyler Christian-Law 58). Subs not used: Lucas Kirkpatrick, Isaac Skubich.

Referee: Michael Ryan.