Thurlow Nunn League division one

Braintree Town Reserves' phenomenal form in division one of the Thurlow Nunn League continued with an excellent home win as they came from behind to beat Debenham LC.

This was a meeting of two sides in good form, with Debenham having won their last three games and the Young Irons taking 19 points from their previous seven outings.

In fact the last side to beat them had been Debenham in the reverse fixture at the start of November, but there was revenge this time as Joe Jones' brace saw them extend their run with a 2-1 victory at the IronmongeryDirect Stadium.

There were two changes for Braintree from the side that had started their 2-0 win at Norwich United in their previous outing, with Regan Farley Hearn dropping out and Jordan Sargent on the bench.

That saw Jack Martin and Jake Thompson returning to the side, however, it was not a good start for the Young Irons as they fell behind in just the third minute.

It had been a dynamic opening by the visitors, who used the width of the pitch well and a cross from the left was headed in by new signing Craig Jennings off the post.

Jennings had only joined this week from premier division leaders Felixstowe and Walton United and Braintree knew they had to get into the game quickly after the early setback.

After conceding, though, they did settle on the ball more as they began to take the play into Debenham territory more.

While the Iron’s back line still had to be alert as the visitors still looked sharp, their reward up front came in the 11th minute when Alfie Cleal showed great composure in the Debenham box.

Having latched on to a ball forward, he laid it back rather than take on a difficult shot himself to where Joe Jones was advancing to slam it home.

Having got themselves back level, Braintree looked far more comfortable on the ball and showed their attacking skills with some good play in and around the Debenham area.

Their quick movement of the ball and clever movement was in the same mould as the first team.

The visitors, meanwhile, had a more direct approach, looking to get the ball forward quickly and the home defence had to remain alert against a muscular challenge.

Chances for Debenham dwindled as the half progressed, though, and it was Braintree who looked more capable of adding to the scoreline.

An effort from just outside the box grazed the outside of the post and Cleal then tried his luck with a fierce shot that had to be taken by the Debenham keeper just before the break to make sure the sides remained locked together at half-time.

Braintree stayed the more fluent attacking unit after the restart and Lewis Stantiall had an early sight of goal, but his effort flew over the target.

Stantiall was becoming more and more influential down the left for Braintree and some lovely skill saw him set up a chance for Jones, but his shot was denied by a deflection that took it over the bar.

The home side saw the better of the chances and Cleal drilled an effort just wide of the target on 68 minutes and he was only denied by a superb point-blank save by the keeper just after.

Braintree kept the pressure turned up and they once again got their reward on 70 minutes when, having had penalty appeals turned down for handball, Jones drilled in a wonderful low shot from an acute angle to put the Young Irons deservedly ahead.

Having got the lead, they stayed on top and Jones was agonisingly close to getting his hat-trick when a head from a clever cross by Mark Dallinger was inches wide.

With just a goal in it, though, the game was still on a tightrope and Debenham stepped up their challenge as the minutes ticked down.

Home keeper Lewis Hawley had to make a save from a curling effort and a header was sent over the bar from a free-kick in stoppage-time, but the Young Irons held out for a hard-fought victory that extended their superb form even further.

Braintree Town Reserves: Lewis Hawley, Jack Martin, Matt Travell, Jack Hurley, Danny Nesbitt, Jake Thompson, Lewis Stantiall (Aaron Dyson 76), Mark Dallinger, Joe Jones (Troy Featherstone 90), Alfie Cleal (Jordan Sargent 73), Jett Hogan.

Subs not used: Joe Steadman.