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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 23 Feb 16 at 21:30 PM

Braintree Town: Report

Goals from Kenny Davis and Michael Cheek, either side of Kevin Roberts' sending off, condemned 10-man FC Halifax Town to a 2-0 defeat at Braintree Town.

 

Davis handed the home side the lead inside the opening minute, before Creek added a second for Braintree, who completed a league double over The Shaymen.

 

Jim Harvey made just the one change from the side that beat Grimsby last weekend, with top scorer Jordan Burrow returning to the starting eleven in place of Richard Peniket.

 

The Shaymen fell behind within moments of kick-off, as Davis slammed home after Sim Akonla's effort hit the post. Akinola's pace caused chaos as he was allowed to weave in and out of two bodies before seeing his low shot rebound back off the upright, before falling straight to the feet of Davis, who made no mistake with a fine strike into the far corner.

 

The home side boasted much of the early possession, with Town left frustrated as they tried to regain some kind of control on the match. Akinola's pace created more problems as he burst into the area and found Davis, whose deflected shot fell to Michael Cheek, but Braintree's top-scorer had strayed into an offside position.

 

Town carved out their first real opportunity of the match when Scott McManus charged down the left, but his deep cross proved just too high for Burrow, who couldn't quite steer his right-footed effort on target. At the other end Remy Clerima could only fire over the top as the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box following a free-kick.

 

Hamza Bencherif had The Shaymen's clearest cut chance with the game approaching the half-hour mark, as captain Nicky Wroe swung in a free-kick. Bencherif connected well with Wroe's delivery, but the centre-back's header was gathered comfortably by Iron 'keeper Tom King.

 

After Town were presented with a free-kick in a promising position, following a foul on Burrow 20 yards from goal, Kingsley James failed to get enough power on his effort, as his low strike bobbled into the arms of King.

 

With the away side coming stronger into the game with the half-time whistle approaching, James Bolton looped a cross from the right onto the head of Burrow, but once again King thwarted the chance.

 

Braintree could have doubled their lead when Akinola headed narrowly wide, before Cheek, who scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture back in November, failed to capitalise on Bencherif's mistake as he dragged wide of Sam Johnson's far post, ensuring the score remained 1-0 at the break.

 

Jim Harvey rolled the dice with a double change at the interval, bringing on Peniket and Jake Hibbs in place of Josh MacDonald and Billy Whitehouse respectively, as Peniket joined Burrow up front.

 

Town came out of the traps quickly in the second half, with Peniket looking lively, while McManus squandered an early opportunity when the ball fell to him in the box but he could only head over.

 

Referee Alan Young made a controversial call when he waved away what looked to be a clear cut penalty appeal, as Hibbs was seemingly tripped inside the box, but instead received a yellow card for apparent simulation. Moments later, Peniket did well to work himself into space but fired harmlessly over from 25 yards.

 

Town were reduced to 10-men in the 57th minute, when Roberts was handed his marching orders following a second yellow card. The dubious decision left The Shaymen incensed, as Roberts looked to have won the ball on both occasions.

 

Heroic defending from Matty Brown denied a certain second for Braintree, blocking Akinola's low drive with a last ditch challenge. However, just 10 minutes after the sending off, a lack in communication between Brown and centre back partner Bencherif proved costly, leaving Cheek bearing down on goal to double The Iron's advantage, having rounded the hapless Johnson.

 

Johnson saved well from Cheek's left-footed effort to deny a third for the hosts, before Sam Habergham's cross was flicked narrowly wide of the far post by Davis.

 

Burrow missed a fantastic chance to halve the deficit after a slip from Matt Fry allowed Town's number 9 through on goal, but The Shaymen's top scorer failed to add to his 14 goal tally, firing inches wide of King's far post.

 

The home side missed further chances in the closing stages as they searched for a third, before six added on minutes petered out to confirm a disappointing away defeat for Town, marking a second loss in three matches.

 

 

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