Marsh-Brown strikes to earn Braintree win
Keanu Marsh-Brown’s first half goal, and a Sam Russell penalty save, were enough to help Forest Green Rovers earn another National League victory at Braintree, writes Richard Joyce.
A tale of two halves saw Rovers dominate the first, but come under pressure more in the second, as Braintree almost sneaked a point, only for Russell to save the day with a penalty save from Chez Isaac.
Marsh-Brown’s terrific first half opener proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Mark Cooper’s men followed up last week’s narrow win over Bromley with another three points.
Christian Doidge almost put FGR ahead by exploiting space in the Braintree box from as early as the third minute, but a last ditch block denied the Welsh strikers shot.
Braintree’s best chance of the half came soon after from a free kick. On loan AFC Bournemouth midfielder Sam Matthews managed to direct his effort over the Rovers wall, but Sam Russell gathered comfortably.
A fairly uneventful opening 45 minutes was brought into life on 38 minutes when Marsh-Brown bagged the opener.
He received the ball 30 yards from goal and produced a sizzling right footed shot that flew past Braintree’s debutant keeper Will Puddy and into the bottom corner.
Rovers should have made it two just before half time. Elliott Frear had beaten Puddy to the ball, but saw his left footed effort go wide, although the winger appeared to have been dragged back by the goalkeeper just as he looked to get his strike away.
For the first time the Iron posed a real threat after the break. Matthews hit from outside the area whistled past the post, and Simeon Akinola blazed over after he had eventually gathered Michael Cheek’s loose square pass.
After Liam Noble had seen his low drive from distance saved, Braintree were offered a great chance to level, when they were given a penalty.
Russell ensured the hosts couldn’t draw parity though as he guessed right to deny Isaac’s strike to the right.
The FGR stopper was at it again when he saved Akinola’s attempt from inside the box, while the tricky attacker blazed over again for the hosts after Darren Carter had seen his low shot saved down the other end.
Akinola had a late opportunity to rescue a point after Ethan Pinnock had been penalised. However he failed to find the target with his free kick.
Rovers avoided any late scares to register another three points, and to remain second in the National League table.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images