Iron bounce back thanks to Blair’s strike

Dave Bishop
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St Albans City v Braintree Town – Vanarama National League South – Clarence Park – Report

St Albans City 0-1 Braintree Town 

Aaron Blair’s twenty-first-minute goal proved to be decisive as Braintree Town got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at St Albans in Vanarama National League South. 

Angelo Harrop made three changes to his starting line-up following the 1-0 defeat to leaders Yeovil Town last week, with Trent Rendall coming in for his first start since signing on loan from Queen’s Park Rangers in place of the injured Ben Tompkins, whilst Leon Davies and Jayden Davis replaced Lewis Miccio and Shaq Coulthirst – both of whom dropped to the bench.

Braintree took the lead after Freddie Sears’ shot was well saved by ex-Iron keeper Michael Johnson, only for the rebound to fall to Blair to nod the ball home into an empty net.

Jack Sims’ impressive save following former Coventry City striker Shaun Jeffers’ fierce drive from the edge of the box in first-half stoppage time allowed Iron to maintain their lead going in at half-time.  

With the visitors very much in the ascendency following the resumption, they were unable to further add to their tally despite Blair being presented with three good chances to put the result beyond all doubt in the last half hour of the match.

The victory keeps Braintree in third place, eight points behind local rivals Chelmsford City in second – with the Iron having played one game less.

Next up for Harrop’s men is a visit to the Rare Breeds Meat Co. Stadium by Hemel Hempstead on Easter Monday (3pm).    

St Albans City: Johnson, Bowry, Blackman (Hamid 88’) Rasulo, Jeffers, Banton, Weiss (Akinola 46’) Partington (Capt.) Hutchinson, Francis-Clarke, Burger (James 88’) Subs not used: Tripp, Wiltshire

Braintree Town: Sims, Davies (Miccio 88’) Altintop (Capt) Grimwood, Blackwell (Lambe 73’) Payne, Blair, Sears, Davis (Wakefield 73’) Rendall, Odusanya Subs not used: Coulthirst, Brothers

Referee: Nathan Oakes

Assistants: Mario Stetakovic and Alex Francioni

Attendance: 2,401