Long Melford 0
Braintree Town 6
Jamie Bradbury’s first game in charge may have ended in a heavy defeat, but he insisted it was perfect preparation to begin developing his ‘hard to beat’ mantra at Stoneylands.
Against a Braintree side who will be playing three leagues higher than them following their relegation from the National League’s top tier last season, his side saw precious little of the ball in their opponent’s half.
But that was said to be the purpose of the exercise as a new era began at Melford, with Bradbury stepping up from first-team coach, to replace Jules Mumford after his five years in what will be The Villagers’ landmark 150th year.
“Today was all about fitness; giving lads an opportunity to get some minutes. It was a training session in many ways,” explained Bradbury.
“It was an opportunity to run about and work on what we look like without the football, which we didn’t have much of today.
“A few errors have crept in, but 6-0 probably flattered them a little bit. They had a lot of the ball but two or three of the goals could have been avoided, and that is what we can learn from it.
“I want us to be difficult to beat first and foremost.”
In contrast to Braintree club legend Brad Quinton’s choice to select only six contracted players amid a host of triallists, Bradbury only included three new players looking to win a deal.
They included holding midfielder Adam Sartini, who made 10 appearances for Thurlow Nunn League champions Mildenhall Town last season.
With some key men unavailable, including captain Steve Adams, linchpin Ashley Skeggs and goalkeeper Darren Moyes, ex- Basildon United and Braintree Town Reserves goalkeeper David Leader was given a baptism of fire between the posts.
And after a bright start in front of a 200-strong crowd, which saw Will Wingfield’s looping header find Nathan McDonald’s arms, it was the visitors who went on to monopolise the goalmouth action with a 2-0 lead at half-time courtesy of triallist Carl Oyide, formerly of Dulwich Hamlet.
Two quickfire goals shortly before the hour mark doubled the visitor’s advantage, with Christian Frimpong, ex-Swindon Town and brother of ex-Arsenal’s Emmanuel Frimpong, heading home a corner before a low deflected shot from Jonathan Muleba.
The goal of the game came in the 73rd minute when traillist Darnel Wynter hit a left-foot rocket into the top corner from all of 30 yards. And Wynter added his second to complete the rout two minutes from time after rounding Leader.
Bradbury confirmed Reece Clarke and Michael Runnicles have not trained with the club and look to be out of the picture, while he is happy to allow new reserves players to stake their claim and only supplement his squad with a few new additions. We have got a good crew.
“There are possibly a couple of positions that we would like to try and strengthen up, but overall I think we are okay as it stands.”
n Friday’s FA Cup draw saw Melford given a trip to Cherry Red Books Middlesex League Division One side Hackney Wick (7th/10 in 2016/17) in the extra-preliminary round on August 5. The winner will then play at home to either FC Romania or Waltham Forest on August 19.
Bradbury, who knows the area from his time playing for Basildon & East Thurrock, said: “I think it is a winnable fixture.”