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Wembley Here We Come! - Braintree Second Leg Reaction

8 May 2016

Town will be heading to Wembley Stadium to take on Forest Green Rovers in the National League Promotion Final next Sunday, and manager Paul Hurst couldn't be more delighted with that fact.


A dramatic afternoon at Cressing Road saw the Mariners turn around a 1-0 deficit in their play-off semi-final against Braintree Town, first through a penalty from Padraig Amond that sent the tie into extra time, before Omar Bogle headed home with ten minutes left to complete a memorable comeback, and the Town boss is understandably thrilled with the response he got from his players.


Speaking after the game, which also saw Braintree's Mark Phillips sent off for a second bookable defence just before extra time, and after being congratulated on the victory, the Town boss said: ''Thank you, I'm delighted.


''There was obviously a good following and its good to send them away happy but I'm delighted with the players because I think there were a lot of doubts going into it and its nice to show that despite that, we stuck together.


''We gave everything against what is a very difficult team to play against and have had an excellent season.


''I've said before that I don't think people have given them credit, it's a hard place to come but we've got the job done and got two trips to Wembley to look forward to.''


Town made three changes to the team that went down 1-0 at Blundell Park on Thursday night, with Craig Clay, Jon-Paul Pittman and Gregor Robertson for Nathan Arnold, Andy Monkhouse and Evan Horwood, which also resulted in the shape of the team changing, and Hurst said that he decided on that based on previous results against the Iron.


''We'd sort of lined up 4-4-2 against them three times and hadn't managed to score'', said the Town boss.


''There was a thought particularly with (midfielder Josh) Payne in there about trying to move him about and not letting him give the protection he had done, and I think that worked.


''There were times in the first half when we picked it in to Craig Disley and Craig Clay, drove forward and gave them a problem that they struggled to get to terms with.


''But the longer the game went on, I thought we needed to stretch the pitch again, first with Nathan (Arnold) and then Marshy (Marcus Marshall), and I think again we caused them problems with that.


''Going into extra time we'd actually spoken about that and felt it would suit us with the weather. Naturally we should be fitter across the team at least and then as daft as it sounds, with the sending off, I kinda didn't want him to get sent off because we were on top.


''Then for the first period, we spoke about moving the ball quickly and side to side looking for the strikers' feet but we suddenly had a bit of life drained out of us and then wondered how we gonna get that breakthrough.''


The Mariners now head to the National Stadium for a chance to win promotion to the Football League, and although Hurst is delighted with today, he knows that the Mariners will face a tough test when they meet Forest Green Rovers next weekend, who are currently managed by caretaker manager Scott Bartlett after parting company with manager Adie Pennock before the end of the season.


Hurst said: ''It's far from over, we've got to go Wembley next week and take on a Forest Green side that have basically finished second in the league and ran Cheltenham close for a long time.


''I think naturally when the title's gone, there's an element of taking the foot off the gas slightly and I did feel for Adie.


'He's done fantastic for them and the change at the minute its working but who's to say that wouldn't have happened if Adie had've been in charge.


''But we know they've got some dangerous players, we saw that last night - particularly with the winning goal from Marsh Brown and a lot of hard work has got to go into preparing for next week.


''But first and foremost we'll enjoy today and start our recovery process and planning.''


Asked what the preparation will be for one the Play-Off Final, Hurst said: ''I think we'll probably look at three days training.


'We'll have a couple of days off to start with, particularly after playing extra time in that heat.


''That's another thing about today, that wasn't easy and the conditions were very difficult when you're really wanting to push the tempo of the game which you have to do at times.


''We knew they'd take their time with free-kicks and throw-in's, which I don't blame them because that's natural but you know, now, we've got a few days rest.


''There's some work for me to do in terms of Forest Green but we've had games watched recently and we look forward to Sunday.''


Click here to listen to Paul's post match comments. 



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