Ten-man Iron send Gulls spinning

Braintree Town v Torquay United – Vanarama National League South – Rare Breeds Meat Co. Stadium – Report

Braintree Town 1-0 Torquay United  

Despite having striker Alfie Pavey sent off just prior to the half-hour mark, Tom Blackwell’s strike ten minutes after the break saw ten-man Braintree Town through to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Torquay United at the Rare Breeds Meat Co. Stadium – a victory that now sees the Iron move up into the Vanarama National League South play-off places. 

Angelo Harrop named an unchanged starting line-up following Braintree’s 1-0 win at Chippenham Town last Saturday, with Charlie Wakefield – signed on loan from Woking last week, taking his place on the substitutes bench for the first time.

With the Iron starting confidently, Baris Altintop nodded Tom Blackwell’s corner just wide of the upright in the eighth minute before Blackwell himself went close just after with a shot that was drilled low across the area before being scrambled to safety by the Gulls defence. 

Woking loanee Pavey was shown a straight red card in the twenty-fifth minute after lashing out at Torquay’s Ross Marshall but despite Iron being forced to play the remainder of the match one man down, they showed great character and resilience to overcome the numerical disadvantage to match and indeed outplay the visitors at almost every turn thereafter.

Torquay’s best chance of the half came in stoppage time when Brad Ash’s curling effort deflected away off skipper Altintop for a corner.

With Braintree pushing forward and looking to dominate following the break, Blackwell and Aaron Blair combined well from a short corner with Blackwell striding forward to smash the ball high into the roof of Mark Halstead’s net and make it 1-0 to the Iron.

The visitors, despite creating several half chances for themselves thereafter were unable to make any inroads past the rock solid Braintree back line and somewhat bizarrely, despite having been substituted twenty minutes from the end, just after Gulls Tom Lapslie was shown a second yellow card following an incident on the touchline and sent to the dressing room by referee Matthew Jackson.

Torquay had a wonderful opportunity to draw level in stoppage time at the end of the match after Dean Moxey’s header set up Dan Martin – only for the substitute to sky the ball high over the crossbar.

A top class win for the Iron and one they will be looking to build on when Tonbridge Angels are the visitors to Cressing Road on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Braintree Town: Sims, Davies, Altintop (Capt) Grimwood, Tompkins, Blackwell (Miccio, 90+4′) Payne, Blair (Wakefield 81′) Davis (Coulthirst 66′) Lambe, Pavey Sub not used: Roberts

Torquay United: Halstead, Jude-Boyd, Lapslie (Dawson 70′) Booth, Marshall, Ash (De Silva 57′) McGavin, Jenkins Davies, Ofori-Acheampong, Moxey (Capt) Archer (Martin 82′) Subs not used: Nelson, Lovett

Referee: Matthew Jackson

Assistants: Jeffrey Aldous and Steven Parmenter

Attendance: 800