Half time 6 – 0
Full time 7 – 1
Upminster’s continued improvement took a bit of a setback as they came up against a very skilful and agile Braintree side. The backline of Ian Loman, Rob Fordham, John Beach and Stephen McLoughlin were under continuous strain as the home side attacked at will. With little time on the ball and very few options to push up from the back, Braintree netted their opening two goals from short corners. The continued pressure opened a few cracks in the U’s defence and unforced errors allowed the home side to put the ball away with ease. The half time whistle provided much needed respite with Braintree half a dozen goals to the good.
The team talk from skipper Dance was clear and concise – everyone had to up their game and cut out silly mistakes. The contrast in the second half was remarkable, the tempo, work rate and commitment was in abundance. Finally the U’s were in the game. Steve Pearce began to control things in midfield working well alongside Dan Harrison and Will Bonner. Ed Dawes (man of the match) made some telling runs out on the right wing. Goal a game – Ollie Peck made a mazy run from the halfway line into the D, a poor stick tackle resulted in a U’s penalty corner, which Peck despatched with clinical force. Upminster continued to push and for long periods were the better team, but for all their possession, they were unable to convert their chances. As the game moved on and legs began to tire on what was an unseasonably warm day, Braintree nabbed their 7th of the match. Dance (defender of the match) had a very busy day between the sticks and pulled off some fine saves to prevent the score-line being even greater.
Despite the loss, Upminster 4’s have developed a cohesive and spirited bond, which will be an asset as they face what seems to be a very tough season ahead.
Defender of the Match – Tony Dance
Man of the Match – Ed Dawes