AFTER a run of disappointing results that had led to fears that it could instigate a downward spiral, Braintree Town responded in the most positive fashion on Saturday with a 2-1 win over fifth-placed Worthing, the visitors’ first away defeat of the season, writes RON FOSKER.

It was not just the result, but the performance that was eye-opening.

Gone, mostly, were the hopeful punts upfield. In their place some exquisite short passing, clever triangles and relentless running and harrying.

And they had to do it the hard way. When they conceded a goal after only ten minutes, Aarran Racine’s header from a corner prodded over the line by Ollie Pearce, it could have been the signal for dropped heads and drooping shoulders.

But they rallied immediately, coming close to scoring within five minutes when keeper Harrison Male unconvincingly punched clear a cross and John White’s shot passed just over the bar, and two minutes later when Kyron Farrell had a shot blocked and a follow-up tipped over the bar.

They only had to wait another two minutes when they again caused chaos in the penalty area after a corner before Matt Rush fired over everyone into the net.

After that the majority of the chances went Braintree’s way as their pint-sized warriors refused to let the visitors’ cultured back line settle.

Braintree and Witham Times: JON WEAVERJON WEAVER (Image: JON WEAVER)

Not that Rush, Alfie Payne, new loanee Jon Benton or attacking full-backs Leon Davies and Baris Altintop are particularly small, but they were in comparison to those in blue who were trying to keep them in check.

Before half-time Chris Regis showed neat control before firing narrowly over the bar and then an over-confident back pass fell to Rush but he had his back to the goal and the defence were able to recover to smother his shot.

An injury to Davies forced Iron into a change at the interval when new signing Joe Boachie came on for his debut, with Willie Clemons, himself a substitute after only five minutes when Lamar Reynolds had to go off, moving back to right back.

It did not stop the flow. There were a couple of scares early in the second half when Damian Niemczycki had to be at his sharpest to get down to Lewis White’s shot and shortly afterwards when Joe Rye broke through the back line but failed to control the ball when in a good position.

But the attacks mostly came at the other end.

Braintree and Witham Times: JON WEAVERJON WEAVER (Image: JON WEAVER)

Farrell had a thunderous shot pushed clear by the keeper, who also reacted quickly to stop Regis’s follow-up.

Benton broke clear on the right and his diagonal shot beat Male but hit the post, Clemons had a header and a follow-up shot blocked and Boachie narrowly missed with another effort.

Just when it looked as if Braintree would have to settle for a draw, they received the little bit of luck their efforts deserved.

Alfie Matthews had only been on the field two minutes when his fierce shot hit a defender’s arm in the penalty area. The ball was moving at pace but it was from sufficient distance away for the referee to deem that it was intentional.

Braintree and Witham Times: JON WEAVERJON WEAVER (Image: JON WEAVER)

Matthews himself took responsibility for the kick and planted it firmly in the back of the net.

Iron were untroubled in the time left, three minutes plus three minutes added on, and instead it was Worthing who lost their cool, in particular their captain Racine who was sent off after what looked like an innocent coming-together with Rush turned into something more.

Braintree: Damian Niemczycki; Baris Altintop, John White, Kyran Clements; Leon Davies (Joe Boachie 46), Alfie Payne, Jon Benton (Alfie Matthews 85), Chris Regis, Kyron Farrell; Lamar Reynolds (Willie Clemons 5), Matt Rush.