Vanarama National League South

Braintree Town’s players made sure they put big smiles on their supporters’ faces as they ended a turbulent week with a resounding and resilient Vanarama National League South triumph.

It had been a tumultuous seven days for the Iron that had included the humiliation of losing 3-0 to the league’s rock-bottom side and then seeing manager Glen Driver make a shock exit ahead of their trip to fourth-placed Hemel Hempstead.

In the wake of Driver’s shock departure on Thursday morning, the players themselves had stepped in to take training and finalise preparations ahead of the trip to face the Tudors.

And it was those players who showed tremendous resolve to plot and secure a 3-0 victory that got them back to winning ways after four games without a three-point haul.

They opted to go with a largely unchanged side from the one that had started the 3-0 defeat by Hungerford seven days earlier, with just one change to the starting line-up.

That saw Jason Banton make an immediate return after he came back from several weeks out with injury as Adam Mills was unavailable.

There was also a bit of a surprise in the look of the bench, with striker Tom Richardson, who hadn’t been expected to be involved due to an Achilles injury, being named among the substitutes.

The players that did start, though, knew there were amends to be made after the under par show of a week previously and they made a solid start to the game.

The opening period was fairly even with both having sights of goal as Femi Akinwande for Iron and Adam Cunnington for Hemel Hempstead, tried their luck.

Neither team was able to make the breakthrough in the early exchanges, but that changed as it approached the half-hour mark.

It was the returning Banton who made the difference as his effort from just outside the Hemel box was pushed on to the post by former Braintree, and now Hemel Hempstead, keeper Sam Beasant and into the goal.

It was the lead that Braintree wanted and they went close to doubling it on 37 minutes when Banton tested Beasant again, but this time, the ball was directed clear of the goal as it stayed 1-0.

That was how it remained until half-time, but it wasn’t long into the second half that Braintree did manage to double their advantage.

The second goal came after 55 minutes and Banton was involved again.

This time it was in an assisting capacity as he played in Ade Cole, who slipped the ball under the advancing Beasant to delight the travelling Iron fans.

And things got even better for them ten minutes later as it became 3-0 to Braintree when Jack James fired home a third at the end of a great team move.

It wrapped up a memorable day for Braintree, who also shut out their hosts to record their first clean sheet for more than a month, ensuring there was plenty to be positive about at the end of a difficult few days.

Braintree Town: Michael Johnson, Jack James, Josh Urquhart, Cameron Green, Lucas Kirkpatrick (Charley Barker 86), Michael Clark, Jake Hutchings, Tyler Christian-Law, Ade Cole, Femi Akinwande (Rhys Murrell-Williamson 90), Jason Banton (Alfie Cerulli 68). Subs not used: Tom Richardson.

Referee: Jonathan Bolland.