(Ryman League Division One)

Having suffered an 8-2 hammering at Cressing Road earlier in the season, Leyton Pennant looked determined to make amends by continuing their recent improvement under new managership.

But despite making it a better contest on Saturday, the London side were again well beaten as Braintree confirmed their current status at the top of Division One table with another impressive performance.

There were a couple of early problems for Iron with Wade Falana failing to arrive in time and having to be nominated as a substitute. Then as soon as the game got under way, John Cheesewright went down with a facial injury after colliding with an opponent.

The goalkeeper was making a quick return to his former club following his recent transfer but he was able to resume after treatment.

Braintree quickly got into their stride and took the lead after 12 minutes when John Bishop got up above the Leyton defence to head in an accurately placed free kick from Simon Milton.

It was then that Leyton showed their mettle, and for a time matched Iron in clamping down on movements out of the midfield territory where sharp tackling restricted the opportunity to get forward at either end. Braintree began making use of Paul Betson and Scott Forbes on the flanks and this proved a more profitable way of penetrating Leyton's blanket defence.

A number of crosses and corners put the home side under pressure. Finally, the tactic paid off when Forbes centred from the left to pave the way for Iron's second goal in the 38th minute.

Gary Bennett, who had been closely attended after getting a double hat-trick in the previous meeting, this time escaped his marker and set himself up to beat the goalkeeper just inside the post.

Five minutes later came Braintree's third goal when Bennett and Nicky Smith combined to find a way through with the latter applying the final touch.

So to be 3-0 up after a hard fought first half in which they had emerged the more constructive side put Iron in a strong position at the break.

Conceivably the platform had been built for another goal spree to develop in the second half but this time Leyton saw to it that they would not knuckle under quite so easily. There was seldom any threat of another runaway victory in what eventually proved to be a goalless 45 minutes.

Braintree remained pretty well in control with a confident display of possession football but just lacking that extra bite near goal that might have seen their advantage increased.

Falana appeared on the scene on the hour to replace Bennett and showed some useful touches, but if one man stood out above the rest it had to be Simon Milton.

The former Ipswich Town man's skill and vision were a treat to watch and certainly acted as an example to his team mates who responded accordingly.

At the back Braintree were again well served by a defence dominated by the twin towers of Peter Cawley and Bishop which has now gone over seven hours of league football since last conceding a goal.

Converted for the new archive on 19 November 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.