BRAINTREE Town head into today's Vanarama National League South play-off final against Worthing with the meanest defence in the division this season having conceded just 42 goals, writes DAVID WARD.

But they take on the division’s best scoring side on Monday, with the Sussex team having netted on 72 occasions.

The Iron’s progress to the final has been down to an outstanding defence and, in particular, 25-year-old goalkeeper Jack Sims.

The Southend-born stopper, who began his career at the Shrimpers, is eagerly looking forward to the final, particularly as Worthing dumped the Iron out of last season’s play-off semi-final.

“We have a real score to settle over that one,” said Sims, who moved into the Football League with Blackpool but was released after only three first-team appearances and moved back South.

“Yes, we know it’s going to be harder this time around but confidence amongst the boys is good but we all know everyone has to turn up on the day and perform.”

Given his day time job as a project manager at a kitchen firm Sims, like the rest of the squad, trains twice a week but feels the overall team is much stronger this season.

“I feel we are much better as a compact unit and conceding only 42 goals testifies the strength and ability of the players in front of me,” he added.

“Also I’ve been really enjoying my football and I think there’s a different feel about the whole squad.”

Sims was out for eight weeks with an ACL shoulder injury, but he went on to play 41 matches and added: “I think I’ve been playing my best football so far and it helps when you have such a strong of line defence in front of you.

“Some games I’ve hardly anything to do at times, but there are other moments, like my two last-ditch saves late on Saturday, when you know you have to be sharp, on your toes and up to it.

“Yes it will be really tough final but we go there fully prepared - we’ll be training on 4G surfaces this week so know what to expect with their playing surface.”

Sims also praised the fans who have followed them home and away this season, adding: “They’ve really got behind us, travelling hundreds of miles to away games where they have made their voices heard.”