BRAINTREE TOWN 1 NORWICH CITY 6
Norwich City delivered a footballing masterclass as Braintree Town opened their pre-season games at the Amlin Stadium.
There will be more home games to come for Alan Devonshire’s team before the Conference Premier kicks-off on August 9, but few sides will come and play with the quality that the Canaries had. Both Braintree and Norwich named strong starting line-ups, with the Canaries packing their side with players who had been operating in the Premier League last season and their quality was evident throughout.
However, the Iron also had a strong side for the opening home game of their pre-season campaign as they looked to add to comfortable victories at Stanway Rovers and Long Melford on Saturday.
Manager Alan Devonshire named two triallists in his starting side, with former Tottenham Hotspur trainee Ronnie Hawkins on the right side of midfield and ex-Bournemouth youth teamer Ryan Case at right-back.
But apart from that, it was all players who had been instrumental in their Conference Premier campaign last year.
It was the visitors who drew first blood, though, as a neat move down the right in the seventh minute stretched the Braintree defence and Andrew Surman tucked the ball home past an exposed Nick Hamann.
The Iron responded well and Sean Marks struck the post as they tried to push forward, but a moment of quality saw Norwich go further ahead after 24 minutes.
It came thanks to striker Kyle Lafferty as he curled in a free-kick from 25 yards out that gave Hamann no chance.
The goal highlighted the class that oozed through the Norwich side and they were rarely too far out of their comfort zone as the first half ended with them holding a 2-0 lead.
But that was quickly stretched after the break and goals by Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond and Bradley Johnson made it 5-0 with a little over an hour played.
As the game wore on, both sides began to make changes, with Iron boss Devonshire taking a look at players having trials with his club.
However, it was established players who combined to open Braintree’s goal account in the 69th minute when a Kenny Davis free-kick was headed down by Jordan Cox and slammed home by Sean Marks.
The Canaries weren’t quite done, though, as Van Wolfswinkel made it 6-1 with five minutes to go as he side-footed the ball home from close range.
Braintree Town: Nick Hamann, Ryan Case, Sam Habergham, Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, James Mulley, Kenny Davis, Sean Marks, Dan Walker, Ronnie Hawkins.
Subs: Nathan McDonald, Carl Pentney, Emmanuel Monthe, Shaun Preddie, Cherno, Mendy, Jordan Cox, Michael Bakare, Elias Moses, Harrison Georgiou, Frank Murrayfield.
Norwich City (starting line-up): John Ruddy, Bradley Johnson, Russell Martin, Michael Turner, Jonny Howson, Kyle Lafferty, Gary Hooper, Wes Hoolahan, Elliott Bennett, Martin Olsson, Andrew Surman.