THE Gulls produced a mature, professional performance to claim all three points against Braintree Town in Essex.
Goals from Jamie Reid, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, and Luke Young earned United a well-deserved win on the road for the first time this season.
The Gulls went into the match with a poor record against the Iron. Two draws last season and a 5-1 defeat at Plainmoor in March 2015 will still be fresh in the memories of Gulls fans everywhere. It was time to redress the balance, and United clinched three points with a display that will give player-manager Kevin Nicholson even more pleasure than the team’s 2-1 win over Dover Athletic on Saturday.
The Gaffer made one change to Saturday’s team. Sam Chaney came in for the injured Courtney Richards. The skipper missed out on the squad suffering from a tight hamstring.
There was quite a low-key start to the game. Neither side looked set to open the scoring, but with the benefit of hindsight United were playing according to plan: keeping their opponents at arm’s length before striking with lethal efficiency. United didn’t create too many opportunities, but the ones they did, they took.
Jamie Reid, and Nathan Blissett worked extremely hard up front. Unsurprisingly, both strikers were substituted, but the sheer work-rate from the duo had helped to seal the win. Their work was done.
Reid struck his second goal in as many games in the 22nd minute.
Dan Sparkes, returning to his old club was the creator. Reid curled the ball into the bottom corner to give the Gulls the perfect start at Cressing Road.
United were buoyed by their opener but drama was soon on its way.
Simoen Akinola went down inside United’s box in the 29th minute after a challenge. United looked to the referee who produced a yellow card for Akinola and awarded the Gulls a free-kick.
Braintree equalized in the 33rd minute througha goal from Craig Braham-Barrett.
United failed to clear a ball coming into their box. It was nodded on for Braham-Barrett to head past Brendan Moore.
United’s reply echoed Dan Sparke’s winner against Dover Athletic on Saturday.
A scramble inside Braintree’s penalty box resulted to defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco prodding past Braintree ‘keeper Jamie Butler. United were back in front.
After the half-time break Braintree took the game to United but the Gulls kept their composure and manufactured the perfect 45 minutes to take the game even further away from the Iron.
The introductions of Brett Williams and Chay Scrivens came at ideal times for the Gulls. They helped to stretch the game and relieve some of the pressure that Braintree had built up on United’s goal.
Luke Young scored United’s third and final goal in the 75th minute.
The midfielder hasn’t scored one of his ‘specials’ in a while but produced a lovely strike to reward the hundred or so members of the Yellow Army that had made the trip.
Braham-Barrett threatened to score his second of the day but a combination of Aman Verma and Brendan Moore kept the ball out.
Chay Scrivens was unlucky not to score on the break to make it 4-1.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson will be asking his players for more of the same when they take on Lincoln City at Plainmoor on Saturday, kick-off 5:30pm.
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