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Braintree Town suffer Midlands meltdown

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: August 27, 2012

  • under pressure: Braintree go on the attack

  • new signing: Debutant Michael Gash (right)

  • they shall not pass: Josh Dawkin (right) struggles through

  • safe hands: AFC Telford keeper Ryan Young grabs the ball from Iron's Michael Gash, watched by Kenny Davis (8) and Dean Wells Photo by Alan Stuckey

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THIS was an early season wake-up call for the Iron, leaving the players in no doubt that they will have to be consistently much better week in and week out if they are to maintain the good levels of football they produced last season.

It was a defeat that could have been bigger because on the day the Iron players were simply not at the races, and little wonder manager Alan Devonshire described it as the worst team performance since taking charge last year.

Apart from the suspended Sean Marks, replaced by new on-loan signing Michael Gash from Cambridge United, it was the same side that had done so well to win in midweek at Ebbsfleet.

Right from the first whistle the Iron players failed to get their game going with slack marking, poor passing and looking like a side that had never played together.

The more vibrant home side not unsurprisingly took the lead on 15 minutes when former Wolves striker James Spray latched on to a Steve Lesley cross with the Iron defence all at sea.

They had already hit the Iron bar and twice keeper Danny Naisbitt foiled home attacks.

Three minutes after their first goal, they added a second when they ripped the Iron defence to pieces and Keiron St Aimie scored, again from a Lesley cross.

After this initial onslaught at least the Iron tried to pull themselves together but the home side always seemed to have that little bit extra in their play, were quicker to the ball and found their players better with the ball.

The start of the second half started better for the Iron and Adam Bailey-Dennis should have pulled a goal back four minutes after the restart but he headed wide.

Not too much was seen of new man Gash, but he could have also pulled a goal back shortly afterwards.

But although the Iron showed much improvement in their play in the second half, they were always second best in a game they never looked like pulling back.

Seven minutes from time the home side added the expected third, although there was an element of luck about it.

A corner came in from the right and Iron substitute Ryan Peters was cleared pushed resulting in him handling the ball but the officials failed to see it giving the home side a penalty, duly converted by Nathan Rooney.

Despite this, the result just about reflected the game, leaving the Iron players with a few hard lessons to learn quickly if they are to repeat last season's impressive debut at this level.

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