FT: Imps 3 Braintree 0

City cruised to a 3-0 home success over Braintree Town on Tuesday evening with goals early in each half doing the damage at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium.

The game was just four minutes old when the deadlock was broken; Jake Sheridan seeing his right-footed effort deflect off Alan Massey for his first league goal of the season but it was a double strike shortly after the restart that put the game beyond the reach of the visiting Iron.

Andrew Boyce doubled matters from a Jamie Taylor cross after the Imps had won a corner less than two minutes into the second half and within 60 seconds Taylor kept up his recent run of form in front of goal, latching on to a weak header before rolling home past a stranded Danny Naisbitt for his 10th of the campaign.

Match report:-

City boss David Holdsworth had the luxury of naming an unchanged starting line-up for this Blue Square Bet Premier game against Braintree Town at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium whilst new signing Scott Garner found himself on the bench having joined on loan from Cambridge United.

The visitors kicked off on what was a greasy surface following a rainy day and the difficulty posed was quickly evident when Dan Holman slid in on Mamadou Fofana in the third minute for an early free-kick.

A minute later City pieced together their first move of note and with it the opening goal. Jake Sheridan will almost certainly be credited with the goal as, after he picked up possession 25 yards out, he cut inside before firing goalwards. His effort duly clipped the head of Alan Massey with 'keeper Danny Naisbitt completely wrong-footed as the ball flew past him and into the back of the net.

City quickly pushed for a second with their first corner being cleared by Dean Wells whilst Braintree's frustrations at their poor start saw Sean Marks lead with an arm on Andrew Boyce but escaped punishment as referee Jason Whiteley was happy just to award a free-kick.

Jamie Taylor warmed Naisbitt's hands with a 12th minute snap-shot following good work by Sheridan before an inswinging Adam Smith centre just evaded the onrushing Alan Power in the box.

Braintree's first foray forward saw Paul Farman superbly deny Holman at full stretch after the visiting striker was set up by Marks who showed good strength to hold off Tom Miller. City's response saw Smith cut in from the left only to drill wide of the target.

A quiet spell followed before Taylor was picked out by skipper Gary Mills only for Naisbitt to sprint off his line and deny the Imps' leading scorer at the edge of his area. Mills was then harshly penalised for a foul as he pushed forward in support of his attacking colleagues.

Things soon became scrappy again as the half-hour mark came and went with a low Holman effort which went well wide being the only attempt at goal before Smith twisted and turned at the other end before forcing Naisbitt to push behind for a corner, which ended up seeing Gray volley over.

The opening period approached one added minute with City enjoying the better of the play but were forced to settle for the single-goal advantage at the break.

HT: Imps 1 Braintree 0

Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and it was the Imps who were quickly out of the traps with Smith winning a corner. This ended up being half-cleared as far as the City winger who saw his sliced shot kept in by Taylor; he duly got the ball under control, looked up and picked out Andrew Boyce who powered a header past an exposed Naisbitt to double the advantage.

The City fans hardly had time to sit down before it was 3-0 when a poor header back to Naisbitt by his central defender saw Taylor nip in before rolling the ball into an empty net for his 10th of the season.

It was just the start to the second period that manager David Holdsworth would have wanted with the confidence starting to ooze from the men in red and white as they went in search of more; Smith and Taylor certainly the two causing the most problems for the visiting defence, who saw Pat O'Connor require treatment after going down following an attempted challenge on the former.

Braintree looked for a reponse with the referee's assistant spotting a foul on James Mulley as the Town man broke forward but Farman easily gathered Kenny Davis' free-kick. Daniel Sparkes then replaced Nicky Symons for the Iron with 61 minutes on the clock.

City's first changes, meanwhile, saw Vadaine Oliver and Colin Larkin come on for Alan Power and Jamie Taylor in a double switch up front three minutes later. The substitutes were quickly in the action, combining before Larkin won a free-kick.

A Braintree corner was then defended well by Miller before Farman claimed another. Sparkes then drilled a low centre across the face of goal as the visitors enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Kaine Sheppard replaced Sean Marks for Town with 20 minutes remaining and his first touch saw him have a shot deflect behind for a corner as the Imps were pushed on the defensive again.

David Morgan returned from suspension to replace Adam Smith in the 79th minute after Oliver was spoken to by referee Whiteley for a mistimed challenge on Sam Habergham.

Having withstood a brief spell of Braintree pressure City pressed forward with Sheridan having a shot blocked by Massey before he saw his appeals for a penalty after he went down under a couple of challenges waved away by the officials.

Peter Gilbert picked up an 85th minute caution for dissent after he was penalised for a foul whilst Matt Paine for Kenny Davis was Braintree's final change two minutes later.

The game trickled towards four additional minutes, which saw Gary Mills need treatment after taking a blow to the face before Mulley dragged a low shot across the six-yard box for the last attempt at goal.

FT: Imps 3 Braintree 0

City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Peter Gilbert, Gary Mills, Mamadou Fofana, Jake Sheridan, Adam Smith, Alan Power, Jamie Taylor.

subs: Scott Garner, Vadaine Oliver (for Power 64), Colin Larkin (for Taylor 64), David Morgan (for Smith 79), Jake Turner.

goals: Sheridan (4), Boyce (47), Taylor (48)

bookings: Gilbert (85)

Braintree: Danny Naisbitt, Sam Habergham, Dean Wells, Alan Massey, Pat O’Connor, Bradley Quinton, Nicky Symons, Kenny Davis, James Mulley, Sean Marks, Dan Holman.

subs: Adam Bailey-Dennis, Matt Paine (for Davis 87), Daniel Sparkes (for Symons 61), Kaine Sheppard (for Marks 70), Nathan McDonald.

Referee: Jason Whiteley
Assistants: Tom Nield & Ian Johnston
Fourth Official: Luke Watson

Attendance: 1,455 (30 visiting supporters)