BRAINTREE Town drew 1-1 with Norwich City under-23s in their sternest pre-season match friendly so far, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron shared the spoils with an impressive and quick passing young Canary side at the Dunmow Group Stadium, in stifling heat.

The draw was probably about the right outcome after 90 minutes of fast flowing and genuine entertainment by both sides for the small crowd watching.

Before kick-off, Braintree confirmed that two trialists, striker Levi Amantchi, 21 and attacking midfield Chris Regis, have signed on permanently.

They have impressed in their games with the new-look squad, already blending in well and looking all round far much stronger than at any time last season.

With both manager Angelo Harrop and number two Steve Pitt away on long pre-looked family holidays it was left to Harrop senior, Geoff, a former Iron player himself, to take charge of the Iron squad.

Fielding what looks set to be the Iron's initial league starting line-up, meaning the only two players left from last season were Kyran Clements and Alfie Payne, they certainly overall had the better of the first half.

The Iron created half a dozen potential goalscoring chances, only to be denied by some alert defending and goalkeeper Jon McCracken.

Both the impressive Alfie Matthews and Joe Muscatt went close in that first period helped by some fine wing play support and Amantchi, still finding his feet with his new colleagues, was a constant menace to the visitors' defence.

The Iron should in reality have come in at half-time a couple of goals to the good but it was scoreless.

They were to rue those lost opportunities in the second half where the visitors for a while had the upper hand and were in control.

Norwich duly took the lead on 57 minutes with a somewhat fortunate rebound on the halfway line that saw the ball run kindly to the on rushing Tyrese Omotoye, who skipped free to drive the ball low into the net past the helpless Jack Sims.

For a brief period the visitors now full of confidence kept pushing forward for a second goal.

But full credit to the Iron defence who stood firm and it is already looking like the back line of Baris Altintop, Leon Davies, John White and Kyran Clements will be more than capable of dealing with National League South attackers, once the serious business is underway.

As the half progressed the Iron made four substitutions, including the second appearance of Regis, and with fresh legs they seem to be re-energised and began to cause the young Canaries backline a few problems.

They found an equaliser on 83 minutes when from a free-kick wide on the left flank. White rose above everyone to head the ball on to the crossbar but the ever alert Amantchi managed to hold off two defenders to slot home.

It was no more than the Iron deserved and they should have won the game in the final two minutes when Amantcho was fouled in the area and the referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot.

Unfortunately Matthews' spot kick was low down and substitute goalkeeper Archie Mair pulled off a fine save to deny the Iron striker the winning goal.

Overall it would have been an injustice had the Iron won but it was another good, workmanlike performance from the new-look home side and welcome holiday news for the two missing managers.

Next up for the Iron is their final friendly at Maldon & Tiptree FC on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.