BRAINTREE TOWN v HAYES & YEADING ( Blue Square Premier )
Tuesday 6th December 2011 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Braintree Town take on struggling Hayes & Yeading at the Cressing Road Stadium on Tuesday night with both teams looking to revive their ailing Blue Square Premier seasons with a much-needed win.
It seems an age ago when Braintree were on the crest of a wave having won all six of their league matches back in September, disposing of teams like Southport 4-0 away and Tamworth 3-1 at home, but since then, The Iron have won just once in their last eleven matches which was a 3-1 win over Darlington at home. However, they did manage to hold leaders Wrexham to a 0-0 draw at home weekend before last.
This miserable run of form has seen them slide down the table to their current position of 14th, but they have an excellent opportunity to get back to winning ways with the visit of relegation-haunted Hayes & Yeading. Braintree’s home record is still a respectable 5-3-3 21/16 despite their poor streak, and I guess the one thing in their favour is their ability to continue to score goals.
Braintree have scored in all of their Blue Square matches but three, and this could well be the difference between two poor sides in Tuesday night’s clash. Striker Sean Marks (8 goals, 5 assists) and midfielders Andy Yiadom (7 goals, 1 assist), former Cambridge United Jai Reason (7 goals, 1 assist) and Ben Wright (7 goals, 12 assists) are the main goal threats. If manager Alan Devonshire’s style is anything to go by when he was a player, I expect Braintree to control the midfield here and display neat, attacking football – Devonshire was part of the West Ham team that won the FA Cup back in 1980 when Trevor Brooking scored with a diving header (a collector’s item which is probably why I remember it so vividly!)
It’s just one win in the last ten league matches for Hayes & Yeading who are also experiencing a tough season, and Blue Square survival is their main focus now having been bundled out of the FA Cup by Cambridge United with a crushing 2-6 defeat at home.
Hayes currently occupy 22nd place in the division and their away record stands at 1-3-7 15/26, their one success was at Kettering Town prior to The Roses’s financial dramas when they won 5-3 in a high-scoring encounter. Their defence and the goals they leak will be cause for grave concern when they go to Braintree and if they stand any chance at all, they must aim to keep a clean sheet.
This will be easier said than done though as they’ve conceded in every single away match so far, but they too are capable of scoring; attacking former Southend United midfielder Louis Soares (12 goals, 2 assists) leads their goal threat, along with former QPR forward Richard Pacquette (4 goals, 1 assist) and Tom Collins (4 goals). The ammunition has been provided in the main by Luke Williams and forward Pierre Joseph-Dubois (3 assists each).
With these attacking personnel on both sides, I’m expecting a high scoring affair but will take Braintree to just about edge it in a 3-2 thriller.
Pick: Braintree Town straight win @ 1.76 Pinnacle