Nuneaton Town 0 Braintree Town 1
Monday 6th April, 2015
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
Nuneaton Town have been all-but relegated from the Vanarama Conference Premier after a home defeat to Braintree on Bank Holiday Monday left them with an almost-impossible task to avoid the drop this season.
Defeats for fellow strugglers Alfreton and Welling meant that Boro had the chance to close the gap at the bottom of the table – but they failed to take that opportunity as they let a relaxed Braintree outfit take all three points at the James Parnell Stadium.
The defeat means Boro are currently six points inside the relegation zone, but have only three games left to turn that situation round.
In truth it was always going to be hard, especially after the start they had to the season but after a recent revival, hope was on the up.
Three defeats on the spin have now put paid to that as the Boro are set to lock horns with the likes of Hednesford and Tamworth in the Conference North next season.
Despite the stakes going into this game yesterday, it was an open start as both sides had early efforts on goal inside the first ten minutes. Dan Sparkes saw his free-kick from distance well saved by Max Crocombe in the Nuneaton goal, while at the other end, Rob Ogleby saw his tame side-footed effort gratefully gathered by Nick Hamann in the Braintree goal.
Crocombe was needed again on 27 minutes as he got down low to use his feet to divert a close-range effort from Bernard Mensah onto the crossbar, but not much had happened in-between the chances as both sides lulled into a stale period of play.
That stale feel continued deep into the second half as it took 20 minutes after the restart for either keeper to be tested.
Hamann made a save to deny Josh Rees, but from inside the area, he should have been left with no chance.
That miss was made to look all the more significant as ten minutes from the end Braintree netted the all -important opening goal.
It was the danger man Dan Sparkes who got it, with a well placed shot from just inside the box after he was allowed far too much room.
The Boro failed to muster a response of note after the goal as the game ended like their season....with a whimper.
NUNEATON: Crocombe, Wheeler, Streete, Cowan, Franklin, Rees, Smith (Gordon 69), Ogleby (Sodje 75), Dawson, Walker, Andy Brown.
Subs not used: Dean, Wren.
BRAINTREE: Hamann, Habergham, Isaac, Paine, Massey, Davis, Sparkes, Akinola, Mensah (Mulley 71), Cox (Brundle 30), Peters.
Subs not used: Maybanks, Moore, Pentley.