Braintree Town celebrated winning their second Essex Senior Cup in front of over 2,400 fans at Colchester United’s JobServe Community Stadium. Goals from Matt Rush and Alfie Pavey either side of halftime were enough to win the game and for Braintree to take the trophy home.
The first chance of the game fell to Matt Rush in the 6th minute, who fired a shot goalward from inside the box, but it was tipped over the bar by Concord Rangers ‘keeper Beeney. It wasn’t too long after in the 10th minute when Rush had his second chance and this time, he made no mistake. He broke the offside trap and ran through on goal before finishing coolly in the bottom left corner to make it 1-0 to Braintree Town.
Concord has their first real chance of the game in the 23rd minute after good work down the right-hand side by Bettamer, the ball fell to Thomas in the box, but he couldn’t connect well enough with his effort to trouble Sims in the Braintree net. Concord ‘keeper Beeney made another good save in the 28th minute, palming a headed effort up and then tipping over the bar. Concord had the last real chance of the first half as Thomas got his head on a corner at the near post, but it sailed wide of the post and at half time it was 1-0 to Braintree Town.
The first notable chance of the second half once again fell to Matt Rush, who bought a great save from Beeney as he tried to convert a cross from the left-hand side from close range. Just a minute later, Braintree would double their lead from the penalty spot. Alfie Pavey stepped up and confidently slotted home down low to the left, sending Beeney the wrong way.
The second goal bought on a spell of Concord pressure, with a couple of chances just past the hour mark. First Manor seeing his header back across goal loop on top of the net, followed by a dinked effort by Bettamer curling just wide of the post.
The next chance came in the 80th minute, as Jack Turner’s long-range shot was held well by Beeney in the Concord goal. Concord did have another chance to get back into the game, as Hernandez bought the ball down well just inside the box, but he saw his effort fly over the bar. That proved to be the final chance of the game and the final whistle confirmed Braintree Town as the 2022/23 BBC Essex Senior Cup Champions.
Goal scorer Matt Rush was delighted with the win. “It’s a great night and great occasion for us, winning something and for the first time for a few of the boys." He was also pleased with his goal to open the scoring. “It was a nicely timed run, and I had a chance before that so wanted to make sure the next one was low and hit the target and it was a great feeling in front of our fans.”
He also added how great it felt to score in front of so many of the travelling Braintree Town fans. “It was special. It was a really good turnout, and the fans were unbelievable as they have been this whole BBC Essex Senior Cup and a lot of my family are here tonight, so it was a really good moment.”
Braintree Assistant Manager Steve Pitt was also thrilled with the teams win and their performance. “We’re absolutely delighted. It was a competition we set out right at the start of the season where we felt we could do well, and it was feasible to win and our performance tonight merited that and deserved it.”
“I think we were in control of the game and we were delighted with the first goal with the through ball and the way that Matt Rush finished. I felt we could have been further in front at half time, but the art of winning games is to carry on where you left off, and I thought we did that second half.
Attention for Braintree will turn back to the league campaign after the celebrations have subsided, and Kevin was assured when asked what the aims were for the rest of the season. “Play-offs.”
Braintree Town Squad: Starting XI - Jack Sims, Chris Regis, Kyron Farrell, Baris Altintop, Leon Davies, Kyran Clements, Jack Turner, Alfred Pain, Alfie Pavey (56' pen), Lamar Reynolds, Matt Rush (10'). Subs - Alfie Matthews, Damian Niemczycki, Kai Myhill, Thomas Wager, Luke Papple
Concord Rangers Squad: Starting XI - Mitch Beeney, Tosan Popo, Jack Thomas, Aron Pollock, Harvey Beckett, Alex Hernandez, Mo Bettamer, Nana Kyei, Mo Kamara, Lewis Manor, Ricky Modeste. Subs - Jack Bruce, Harrison Day, Joe Burton, Callum Knwolden, Josh Tuansaam
Referee: Aaron Farmer
Assistant Referees: Ayrton Hursey and Jamie Pope
Fourth Official: Robert Claussen
Congratulations once again to Braintree Town for winning the BBC Essex Senior Cup! If you attended the game yesterday, make sure to share your photos and tag @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and use the hashtag #EssexSeniorCup.