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Match Previews


11 April 2014

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Just another game?


The Town could seal promotion on Saturday if they were to win against Braintree. It’s the day everyone has been waiting for and after a wait of five years; a victory over the Iron would make sure the Town return to the Football League once again. In the words of John Still and the famous band Take That, “today this could be, the greatest day.”

Andre Gray is a doubt for Saturday’s clash with the Iron, after being withdrawn in the first half of the Hatters’ 2-0 win over Tamworth on Tuesday. Alex Wall could return to the squad after recovering from a knock picked up during his loan spell at Dartford.   Meanwhile, both Luke Guttridge and Jonathan Smith are recovering well, with Smith spotted kicking a ball on the Kenilworth turf before the victory on Tuesday night. Andy Parry and Danny Fitzsimmons are still both out with injury.


The last game between the two sides ended in a 2-1 win for the Hatters. Cressing Road has proved a tough place for the Town to go in recent years, but this season John Still’s men triumphed under tough conditions. Paul Benson put the Hatters 1-0 up with half an hour played before assisting Andy Parry on the 65th minute to put the Town two to the good. Braintree pulled a goal back just minutes later and the game ended 2-1 to the Town. 

Braintree are a side who could still finish inside a Play-Off spot come the end of the season. The Essex outfit see themselves sitting in seventh position and just two points behind Halifax in fifth. Last season, the Iron finished just a single point behind the Hatters in ninth position, and will be hoping to go one further this campaign and push for a spot inside the top five. A recent blip in the Irons’ form has meant that Alan Devonshire’s side are without a win in three games, failing to net in each encounter. 


The club was formed in 1898, having formerly been known as Manor Works - from which they gained their nickname “Iron.”  It wasn’t until 1983 that the Essex side were renamed as Braintree Town.  
The Iron gained promotion into the Conference Premier after being crowned winners of the Conference South during the 2010/11 season. Prior to this, the Iron faced five seasons in the South League, after winning the Isthmian title during the 05-06 campaign. Since then the Essex outfit have seen themselves finish inside the top half of the Conference Premier on two occasions.


The Town and Braintree have met each other five times competitively, each time in the Conference Premier. The head-to-head record goes in favour of the Essex outfit, as they have won three of the five encounters between the sides, with the Hatters winning the remaining two. The last time the sides met at Kenilworth Road it was Braintree who emerged 3-2 winners in October of last year.


“I am pretty calm, but of course there are some nerves. My Dad wasn’t a worrier and I’ve been blessed with that trait, so things don’t really worry me.

“I find it very hard to get carried away with the moment until it happens. I am familiar with the phrase never too high never too low as I’m always ready for the next challenge.

“Our team can go and win this title without relying on others. We didn’t go 16 points clear by being a poor side; we did it through hard work, good quality and great belief.”


Tickets for the Braintree clash have almost, almost, almost, almost sold out. Could we have an attendance that begins with a 1? Let’s get behind the Hatters and push them back into the Football League on Saturday.  

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