Essex boys out to give ‘bigger’ teams like Chesterfield a nasty surprise

Gary Roberts in action for Chesterfield, the last time they faced Braintree
Gary Roberts in action for Chesterfield, the last time they faced Braintree

Should Saturday’s visitors to the Proact Stadium remain in the National League come the end of the season, it would be regarded as an achievement.

Newly promoted Braintree Town find themselves up against clubs with far greater resources, but they’re out to provide the bigger boys with a few nasty surprises.

Jon Waldron, sports writer for Essex County Newspapers , says Brad Quinton’s men acquitted themselves well in their first National League encounter last Saturday.

“A young side produced a hard-working performance in their opening game against FC Halifax Town but they were undone by two goals from set pieces, either side of half-time,” he said.

“The Iron offered promise but failed to seriously test the visitors’ defence throughout the 90 minutes and lacked punch in the final third.

“Manager Brad Quinton admitted afterwards that the match was a ‘learning curve’ for his players, following their promotion from National League South last season.”

Quinton has added four new faces to his squad this summer and brought a loan signing back for a second spell.

All five featured in the Halifax defeat.

“Braintree have brought in Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark, Dartford winger Lyle Della-Verde, Welling United midfielder Olu Durojaiye and goalkeeper Ben Killip, who has arrived on a free transfer from Grimsby Town,” said Waldron.

“Young defender Pat Webber, who spent time at Braintree on loan from Ipswich Town last season, has returned to the club for a second loan spell.”

The Essex club can view this season in two ways – with a dash of realism or with more lofty ambitions.

Waldron said: “Realistically, staying in the division will be viewed as an achievement for Braintree Town, given their resources and budget.

“They are still a part-time squad and competing against squads with far bigger purses.

“However, if they do manage to build some momentum, a mid-table finish at the least is something not entirely out of the question.”

The way they play could be key to punching above their weight.

“Quinton generally likes to see his side pass the ball and they could surprise teams in the National League with how they play,” added Waldron.

“They do like to get the ball down and play, but can also mix it when they need to and showed last year that they know when to play and when to go a bit longer.”

Nathan McDonald has now served his two-game suspension and could return in goal, but midfielder Billy Crook is still banned.

Braintree drew 1-1 with fellow National League new boys Barnet on Tuesday night.

Likely line-up (4-3-2-1): Kilip, Muleba, Hill, Clark, Webber, Durojaiye, Allen, Ochieng, Thompson, Della-Verde, Bettamer.