Match Report by Allan Mitchell
After Saturdays 0-3 reverse against play off chasing Oxford City, Hemel fans could have been forgiven for being slightly apprehensive facing another promotion chasing side just three days later but it was a much better performance with Manager Brad Quinton shuffling his squad, playing two up front with new signing Reece Grant making his debut alongside Charlee Hughes.
The first half saw the The Tudors start well and they deservedly took the lead on 19 minutes.
Charlee Hughes did superbly well to hold off his marker on the halfway line before sending Reece Grant away down the left, he raced into the penalty box before unselfishly laying the ball back across to Hughes who took it in his stride, driving it into the bottom corner.
George Williams almost caught Braintree keeper Jack Sims out with a dipping and in swinging corner that the Iron goal-minder did well to clear from right under his crossbar. Sims was called into action moments later when Williams tried his luck from range, Sims spilling the shot before recovering enough to grab it at the second attempt.
Braintree had been relatively quiet up until this point but they slowly started to get some possession as the half drew to a close. They were awarded a somewhat fortuitous corner in the 39th minute after a Braintree forward had looked very much offside as they broke into Hemel’s half. The linesman was clearly behind play and failed to raise his flag and from the resulting corner they almost inevitably equalised. There was a lot of pushing and pulling in the box and Tudors keeper Craig King looked to have been blocked as he tried to get to the ball, it found its way to Alfie Pavey at the back post and he headed back across the face of the six yard box where Ansu Janneh was waiting and he powered his header home, despite the best efforts of King who got a hand on the ball but could only push it into the roof of the net.
The visitors were clearly buoyed by the equaliser and they came close again just before half time but the Tudors held firm and they both sides went in at the break level.
Braintree had an early chance in the second half when a well struck shot was deflected wide but up the other end Montel McKenzie deserved better when he twisted and turned the Iron back line before firing in a shot that just swerved away from the far post with Sims beaten.
A couple of minutes later McKenzie popped up in the penalty area again and once more sent a couple of defenders in the wrong direction, this time his shot went wide of the near post.
Both sides cancelled each other out as the game drew to a close with chance few and far between although Jack Turner almost won the game for The Iron when his powerful shot from the edge of the box beat King, hitting the inside of the post before bouncing out.
After Saturdays set back it was a welcome and hard earned point for The Tudors and it has to be said that a draw was a fair reflection on the game.
Hemel: Craig King; Montel McKenzie, Josh Williams, Kory Roberts, Jack Westbrook © Kyle O’Connor- Ajayi; George Williams (Myles Bright 74) Dominic Morgan-Griffiths, Kane Lewis (Josh Castiglione 45); Reece Grant, Charlee Hughes (Luke Holness 78) Subs not used: Nana Owusu, Josh Hill.