The Gulls suffered defeat to Braintree after striker Jack Midson struck two goals in the second half to earn progression for the team from Essex.
Kevin Nicholson made two changes to the side . On loan duo Paul Rooney and Shawn McCoulsky made their first starts for the club. Giancarlo Gallifuoco played at right-back while Aman Verma staid in midfield after his recent return to his natural position.
United had the first opportunity of a game that lacked quality and chances. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner crossed for captain Courtney Richards to connect with a downward header that struck the post.
The first chance for United landed in the 6th minute, the next was some time later in the 26th. Nathan Blissett’s run down the right allowed McCoulsky to try and find some space inside the box. Unfortunately the striking duo weren’t on the same wavelength and Blissett’s cutback went begging.
Five minutes from the break United had a flurry of chances inside Braintree’s penalty box. Courtney Richards had the best opportunity but Braintree stuck their bodies on the line and were able to survive.
Monty Patterson and Jack Midson allowed Braintree to go into the break with optimism. First Patterson tested Brendan Moore and then Midson nearly converted from close range after a corner fell for the front man.
In the second half the amount of corners that the home side forced took a larger hold on the game.
United created their best opportunity in the 69th minute on the counter attack. David Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick committed his man and cut the ball back for substitute Sam Chaney to fire a low shot that stretched Braintree’s goalkeeper Sam Beasant.
The corner count rose considerably for Braintree in the second half and then in the 73rd minute the pressure told. Jack Midson. A scrap for the ball following a corner fell for Jack Midson to convert from close range.
He struck again on the 76th minute after good work, firstly from Simeon Akinola, and then from Michael Cheek.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson was far from happy with the result and was disappointed that the team failed to follow the game planin the second half.
“We talk about it, we work on it and against Dagenham we executed it and got the right result. To be fair in the 1st half we executed it and should’ve been 3-0 up at half-time but didn’t take our chances. So what changes in the second half I don’t know? You have to go out and you just keep doing what you have been successful doing, relentlessly and eventually you will get your goal,” said Kevin.
“But in the second half and in the 1st half as well we gave away so many stupid free-kicks and so many stupid corners through a naivety and not quite being at it mentally. Overall we defended them brilliantly because we had that many [to defend]. I don’t think they had a chance bar the goal. That’s all they had in the first half particularly, in the second half really, until they scored; all they had was get a free-kick and stick in the box and see what happens.
“In the first half we were turning them, we were getting in behind them, and we were putting crosses in. We had numerous chances and decent chances as well. But if you don’t take them, then the old adage of ‘goals change games’ and they get theirs from a set-piece which shouldn’t have been given away. And then they hit you when one of them gets away from three of our lads which isn’t good enough. And they hit you on the break and 2-0. In the end t is comfortable for them.
“We should have been 2, 3, 4-0 up by the time it got to that. Obviously all the questions are going to ‘is it all about Kieffer Moore’ and it’s not. The lads had the chances there; they did the game plan in the 1st half. We were looking good. It’s tough when there’s no real atmosphere like there was today. The lads did their best to make that atmosphere but they have to realise that you can’t get away from doing the basics right. If you do that and you start thinking you are better than what you are then what’s just happened will happen to you.
“In some ways I’m glad it isn’t a League game and it’s not cost us three points. I hope they learn those lessons and we get on the training ground now and we work very, very hard ready to make sure we have a game plan."
“I said to them in there, you have a game plan that is formulated obviously by the staff, you go out and work on it which is coached by us. If they go and an execute it and they get the results like they did against Solihull, like they did against Dagenham, and they should’ve done in the 1st half today, it proves that it works."
UNITED: Moore; Rowe-Turner; Gallifuoco; Blissett (Reid 81’); Richards; Sparkes (Williams 74’); Verma; McGinty; Rooney; Fitzpatrick; McCoulsky (Chaney 62’)
Subs Not Used: Gerring; Ward
Referee: Dean Treleaven
United head to York City in their next National League fixture in seven days time.