Friday, 30 March 2007

27/03/2007 - Braintree Town 2 Welling United 1

Back to Cressing Road for my first match in 17 days, first match spectating that is. The reason for my lengthy absence from the touchline is because I've been venturing over it in previous weeks, turning out for Braintree & Bocking United who ply their trade in the Mid Essex League Division Two.

However, as it wasn't my turn to take Eden football training on Tuesday night I decided to slip up to Braintree Town to watch the Iron take on Welling in a top end of the Conference South table clash.

Cressing Road is continuing its metamorphosis. The grandstand has been doubled in size as you can see in the before and after picture, and the floodlighting has been vastly improved.

At one point in the match I got talking with the Braintree Chairman Lee Harding and told him that the light was not bright enough for my camera to take sharp shots, then had to explain to him that this was a fault of the camera not of the floodlights when he took offence to my comment.

Advert: Braintree Town F.C.'s Cressing Road Stadium: A 75 Year History

Arriving at the ground at about 7.35pm we couldn't get a parking space in the main car park and had to leave it down a side road and then scoot in, just in time to see the two teams running out.

This was a big clash in the Conference South play off race. Braintree went into it just behind Welling and outside of the play off group, but knowing that a win would take them into fourth, leapfrogging Bishops Stortford.

And things got off to a terrible start when, despite me putting on my lucky Braintree Town hat, Welling took the lead just six minutes in with a beautifully taken free kick from James Day (11) which you can just see dipping into the top corner passed Braintree's man mountain keeper Nick Morgan.

For those first ten minutes Braintree had actually looked like frightened rabbits and whether the goal woke them up, or led Welling to adopt a false sense of security, the remainder of the game played out very differently.
The Iron suddenly started to play and were immediately pressing the Kent team's goal. It was almost like watching two different matches. And on 14 minutes there was one of those great moments where you know a certain goal is unfolding in front of you.

Eugene Ofori broke free from the Welling defence with the goalkeeper stranded in no man's land. His shot was stopped by a desperately covering Welling defender, but Bertie Brayley was on hand to slot home the equaliser.

Barely had Welling caught their breath from that setback and the Iron were pressing forward again. A series of free kicks were conceded around the area and Brad Quinton lashed a fierce shot against an upright.

Then shortly before half time, David Lee lofted a beautiful free kick into the box which was powered home by a superb Ofori header, which I got with the camera. Too bad the lights weren't bright enough to beat the blur... ;o)

This was the first time that I had seen Lee in an Iron shirt, he was signed from Harlow Town earlier in the year and added real creativity to the Braintree midfield.

But the absolute highlight of the game came in the second half, when Brayley tangled with the big Welling number five (Chris Moore?). There was obviously something which the dimunitive Brayley disagreed in the challenge as he promptly chinned Moore who crumpled like a sack of spuds right in front of us. Real David and Goliath stuff.

The referee consulted both his linesman and none of the triumverate had seen it as it had been well off the ball. I couldn't have seen it more clearly!

How we laughed as after consultation the referee bellowed: "Nothing there," and backward sprinted toward the halfway line in that manner that only men in black can.

24/02/2007 - Braintree Town 3 Dorchester Town 1
06/02/2007 - Braintree Town 1 Kidderminster Harriers 3