A proud manager's delight at Braintree win
Town boss John Still hailed the 2-1 win a Braintree on Tuesday night as one of the best of the season so far.
Goals from Paul Benson and Andy Parry put the Hatters 2-0 up against in-form Braintree but, on a bobbly pitch the home side almost snatched a late point when rallying after pulling a goal back through a deflected Dan Holman strike.
However, the Town clung on to all three points to lift themselves in second place in the Skrill Premier, much to the manager’s delight.
“We’ve had to work hard and dig in, it wasn’t pretty but we needed to be effective,” Still said afterwards. “It was up there with the best performance of the season because of the work-rate and discipline shown by the players.
“We’ve had performances away from home this season where we’ve played great football, at Kidderminster for example – which was probably the perfect away performance – but this was the other side of the coin.
“The early part of the game we could pass it but the longer the game on the longer both teams had to go. The conditions were really, really poor but once we were in front it was all about grinding it out.
“I thought we worked hard to get 2-0 up and I thought that would put us in control but a minute later they score a deflected goal and that gave Braintree the momentum.”
The Town’s cause wasn’t helped when they needed to substitute goalscorer Benson and centre-half Steve McNulty – who were both struggling with their fitness in the lead up to the game.
“At 2pm Paul wasn’t playing,” admitted Still. “In the end, though, he said he’d give it a go. We’ve got no Jon Shaw or Alex Wall and Andre Gray’s missed a couple of weeks but we went with it for as long as we could and Paul’s done really well.
“Steve’s back stiffened up – he didn’t need half-time and he couldn’t continue. But we dropped Parry in there alongside Alex Lacey.
“They did their job well and I thought Ronnie Henry and Scott Griffiths were outstanding. We had to work hard to get the three points.
“A lot of people were asking me before the game ‘would you take a point?’. Those people don’t know John Still – I never take a point I was always try and win.
“It was a performance that, if I’m being honest and a bit soppy, makes me feel very proud to be the manager.”