The Peacocks returned from the depths of Essex with arguably their most impressive result on the road this season as they ended Braintree’s undefeated home record in the National League in no uncertain fashion. Dreams of a second consecutive away win to follow up the three point haul at Welling were tempered prior to the game with a glance at the table, the Iron sitting pretty in 5th spot and with no opposition managing to gain more than a point at their Dunmow Group Stadium home which Town were visiting for the first ever time. But what a jolly nice afternoon they had, a terrific all-round display seeing them build a two goal lead by the break before efficiently managing the remainder of the game to seal their sixth away success in their debut Step 2 season.
With Jay Foulston unfortunately likely to miss the rest of the season following his injury at Welling, Rob Dray had to reshuffle the defensive line, Cameron Evans dropping back and Lee Lucas stepping into midfield. And how the rejigged side did their gaffer proud as they went on to produce a very pleasing professional 90 minutes, with Evans superb to win the MOM accolade. The Iron did have the first sniff within the opening five minutes when Kyron Farrell’s corner was headed over by debutant Zak Bradshaw but apart from that it was the Peacocks who carried the goal threat over the course of the first half, which translated into the opening goal on 10 minutes. In Town’s first meaningful foray, Ollie Chamberlain’s cross from the right reached Nat Jarvis who adapted his angle well to get his header on target and although Iron keeper Jack Sims made a smart reaction save, he was powerless to prevent Zac Smith from following up to head the loose ball into the net.
Jarvis prodded wide from a Nick Grimes’ cross although it wouldn’t have counted due to an offside decision before another flag was raised at the opposite end well ahead of Aaron Blair finding the net from a narrow angle. As the half progressed in breezy conditions, the Peacocks continued to contain anything Braintree had to offer, pressing high to allow them little time on the ball whilst rebuffing incursions into their box, a close range block preventing Blair from profiting from Matt Rush’s centre while Farrell delivered a free kick straight onto the roof of the net.
Good work from Lucas down the left side then paved the way for a Lloyd James’ cross which was headed wide by Dylan Morgan who was instrumental for Town’s second goal after 31 minutes, a delightful one-two with Smith down the right allowing him to delve deep into the six yard box before laying the ball across for Chamberlain to drill home to the delight of the travelling Peacocks faithful.
There were further chances to put the game out of sight before the interval. A blocked effort from Lucas came back to James whose curling cross to the back stick was inches ahead of the incoming Grimes while the Peacocks’ first corner eight minutes before half time saw Jarvis plant a free header over the top at the near post. The hosts thought they had pulled one back soon after when Blair followed up on Chris Regis’ saved shot to fire home. Flag up, no goal. Further injury concerns arose for the visitors when Dan Ball was forced to retire to be replaced by Jake Wannell five minutes before the break before a James free kick into the area just evaded Chamberlain at the far post to conclude the half.
An audacious effort from Lucas out on the left flank nearly brought the second half to life three minutes in, trying his luck with a lob over Sims which dipped onto the roof of the net. However the latter 45 minutes developed into an expert example of match management as the hosts, with the wind at their backs, sought to claw back the deficit. Jack Turner’s bobbling shot was easily held by Jack Bycroft who as always did what he needed to do but was never overly troubled during the game while a surging run from Lamar Reynolds was halted by a foul on the edge of the box. The subsequent free kick from Farrell hit the wall, culminating in the Iron’s most concerted period of pressure when the ball was played back in, Chamberlain blocking Rush’s shot on the line and Jarvis doing similar to another attempt seconds later.
Dave Sims-Burgess took over from Morgan midway through the half and he nearly made an immediate impact, picking up Farrell’s loose pass to advance but was eventually crowded out. Nick McCootie replaced Jarvis as Town made their final substitution and with the contest entering its final ten minutes Braintree had run out of what ammunition they had, the Peacocks bullet proof vest remaining completely intact, as the home fans and bench became increasingly frustrated with the officials’ decision-making. No cause for complaint from my perspective 👍
After Smith had been upended on the left, there was a late chance for the visitors with a free kick which Lucas fired the wrong side of the post while the last throw of the dice during five minutes of stoppage time saw Blair gather the ball and volley narrowly wide for the hosts. The Peacocks had done to Braintree what other teams had done to them over recent months, getting in front and then overseeing the game to ensure the right result, one which lifts them up a further place to 18th. No time to wallow though with another important trek to West London looming in a few days’ time.
Taunton: Jack Bycroft, Nick Grimes (captain), Dan Ball (Jake Wannell 40), Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Nick McCootie 73), Joe Guest, Zac Smith, Cameron Evans, Dylan Morgan (Dave Sims-Burgess 65), Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Ross Stearn, Lloyd Irish
Braintree: Jack Sims, Leon Davies, Kyron Farrell, Baris Altintop, Zak Bradshaw, Kyran Clements (captain), Jack Turner (Lamar Reynolds 54), Alfie Payne, Matt Rush (Harley Curtis 64), Chris Regis (Alfie Matthews 72), Aaron Blair. Unused subs: Ansu Janneh, John White
Referee: Liam Corbett (Dudley)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Louis Dawson (Ipswich)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Paul Burnham (Wymondham)
” It’s been a fantastic day, really really good result and we needed to do that……..” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match photos from Club Photographer Debbie Gould can be viewed HERE
Mind In Somerset MOM
Cameron Evans receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from Peacocks’ supporter Mark Timbury