TUFC 1 V 5 Braintree Twn
Torquay manager Chris Hargreaves kept the dressing room door firmly closed for well over an hour last night, as the fall out from a very disappointing night at the Launa windows Stadium was felt by all. While the Braintree players celebrated their biggest win of the season, the Gulls tried to work out what has gone wrong and where to go from here.
On the night United fell behind after just 9 minutes, when Dan Sparkes finished well from 12 yards out after United had failed to clear the original diagonal cross the right. Sean Marks was able to guide his header back into the path of Sparkes who cut in well before finishing with his right foot into the bottom left hand corner of Rice’s net.
Braintree continued to put the pressure on the Torquay goal with Matt Paine going close with a curling effort from 25 yards before Marks himself had an effort sliding in and just putting the ball narrowly wide of the United post.
Hargreaves side then found some form. Luke Young put in a free kick from the left to the far post, where John Campbell saw his header cleared off the line before his right footed follow up shot found the back of the net in the 23rd minute from close range. It was the strikers first goal for the club and couldn’t have come at a better time.
United then had a strong spell with Richards seeing his right footed from strike from 25 yards just fly over the bar. Ajala then tried his luck from the edge of the box but his effort was deflected out for a corner. Campbell then went close to firing the Gulls ahead but his two separate efforts minutes apart where saved well.
But that 15 minute spell was as good as it got for Torquay as they showed their defensive issues when they fell behind in the 40th minute. Sparkes again firing in with his left foot, high into United’s top left hand corner. The trough ball to Sparkes from Bernard Mensah splitting the United central pairing.
After the break Ajala had a chance with a header from six yards out after another Young corner but the youngster saw his flick come back off the bar and away to safety.
Hargreaves then tactically took off Pearce and brought Jordan Chapell on in the 54 minute to try and create more opportunities for his side and the change nearly produced the equaliser when Chapell and Ajala combined well before Ives low cross was saved by the visitors keeper, with the impressive Campbell bering down on goal.
Liam Prynn was then brought on for his home senior debut in the 66 minute by Hargreaves, replacing Ryan Bowman who took his frustrations out on the dugout before taking his seat.
However things where about to start to get much worse for Hargreaves and his players when Sparkes left foot smashed his hat-trick hard into the United net after another pin point pass from sub Simeon Akinola put United’s back line in all sorts of trouble. It was however, a fantastic finish from the visitors forward who deserved his standing ovation from the United fans when he was substituted late on.
Braintree 4th came from the right foot of Matt Paine in the 76th minute, before the final nail was hit 8 minutes from the end by another sub Ryan Peters.
The devastation defeat leaves United without a win in the league at home since the 9th December and drops them to 17th in the table. United will now face Kidderminster on Saturday afternoon 3pm KO.
TUFC: Rice, Dawson, Pearce (Chapell 54), Downs, Ives, Gueguen, Richards, Young (Capt), Ajala, Campbell (Briscoe 84), Bowman (Prynn 67)
Subs Not Used: Cameron, McQuilkin
Braintree: Hamann, Brundle, Massey, Paine, Habergham, Clerima, Isaac, Davis, Sparkes (Peters 76), Marks (Mulley 90), Mensah (Akinola 66)
Subs Not Used: Maybanks, Pentney
Attendance: 1,103 (15 Away)