A DEVASTATING first-half display helped Braintree Town thrash St Albans City in their latest National League South game, writes DAVID WARD.

Overall it was a convincing performance with a victory that moves the Iron up to ninth position in the league and just outside play-offs.

Playing without doubt their best football of the season they constantly kept pressing the City from the first whistle, chasing down players all over the park and with such flowing movements forward and cohesion throughout the side it left manager Angelo Harrop "absolutely delighted."

Harop said: "In all the time I've been at the club this was without doubt our best all round performance from start to finish and we played exciting, controlled and measured football which was a real delight.

"Even going 4-0 up by the interval the players continued in the same vein in the second half where again some of the football we played was outstanding and I'm really proud of all the players.


"The visitors are a good footballing side but I felt we totally controlled the game from start to finish and never let them into the game.

"To score four goals in successive games is tremendous and I'm pleased for the loyal fans who again gave such great vocal backing to the team. 

"But nobody is going to get carried away and we'll rest up, keep our feet on the ground and regroup for another tough away game at Eastbourne on Saturday."

Harrop made two changes from the previous game with Aaron Blair dropping to the bench replaced by Gio Critchlow and young keeper Josh Blunkell coming in to replace loanee Vincente Reyes, who has returned to Norwich City following his loan spell.

The Braintree defence was outstanding all evening and Joe Grimwood and Leon Davies were particularly outstanding while the midfield trio of Reggie Lambe, Alfie Payne and Ben Mason controlled most of the play, feeding their forwards with accurate through balls that all too often caused the visiting backline nightmares.


Up front, the irrepressible Shaquille Coulthirst showed his experience and both Will Davies and Tom Blackwell had their best games in an Iron shirt.

Harrop added: "The key was everyone worked hard and worked for each other and even when we made substitutions those players coming on joined in the fray with the same tempo and commitment to help maintain our overall control of the game which was equally as important.

"Yes, we should have scored with Shaquille unlucky to see his late shot cleared off the line and other chances that were so close only denied by some frantic defending and the woodwork. 

"Good teams have to keep winning.

"It was an outstanding performance, really electric from start to finish.


"It was a real credit to this football club."

The Iron took the lead on 18 minutes when the marauding Grimwood moved into the attack and stooped low to head home and two minutes later Coulhirst drove the ball home after a slick Iron move upfield.

Iron fans in the 603 crowd were left gasping on the half hour when their side went 3-0 thanks to a well-taken goal by Davies and right on half-time another slick, quick move upfield saw Coulhirst net his second goal of the evening.

In the second half, the Iron kept up the pressure and wasted further goal chances whilst the visitors did regroup and showed more resilience than in the first half.

But outstanding performances from Braintree's rearguard denied them every time they threatened.

On the hour Coulhirst was only denied his first club hat-trick when his goalbound shot was scooped off the goal line at the last minute.

And with the clock ticking to the final whistle, both Blair and Blackwell were so close to scoring themselves.

Next up for Braintree is a trip to play Eastbourne on Saturday following by another home game against Welling United next Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.