Daniel Sparkes earned Braintree victory in their first home game since December with the only goal against high-flying Cambridge United.

Bernard Mensah fired the best first-half chance across goal for the Iron.

Ryan Bird poked narrowly wide for the visitors before substitute Sparkes side-footed the winner after some good work by Mensah.

Liam Hughes curled a corner kick onto the bar for the U's and James Mulley hit the post for Braintree late on.

Angry Money fumes at Cambridge

The match was originally planned for New Year's Day but, after a 55-day wait, the Iron finally managed to host Cambridge at the third attempt.

Braintree's last match at the Amlin Stadium was a 2-0 win against Tamworth on 28 December.

While they have played just 27 games so far this term, the Essex side move to 16th place in the Conference Premier, equal on points with Woking who have played seven games more.

Cambridge remain second despite their winless run extending to five league matches, but they slip 14 points behind Luton after the leaders beat Wrexham 5-0.

Cambridge United boss Richard Money told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

"I think for the first time this season I need to apologise to every single Cambridge supporter.

"That wasn't good enough. And it wasn't good enough by quite a long way. Worryingly so.

"I'm looking at people talking about the play-offs. We ain't in the play-offs. We're a mile away from being in the play-offs.

"We need 24 more points to be in the play-offs. That's a long, long way.

"As a club we have to get our act together very quickly otherwise a good season is going to go down the drain."

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (4)

Braintree Town

  • 20 Hamann
  • 05 Paine Booked
  • 19 Wells
  • 15 Massey
  • 03 Habergham Booked
  • 02 Peters Booked
  • 23 Laurent
  • 26 Mulley
  • 08 Davis (Sparkes - 46' )
  • 17 Mensah Booked
  • 09 Marks Booked

Substitutes

  • 10 Holman
  • 11 Sparkes
  • 12 Daley
  • 01 McDonald
  • 07 Long

Cambridge United

  • 13 Norris
  • 05 Bonner Booked
  • 02 Roberts
  • 04 Coulson
  • 03 Taylor
  • 08 Champion
  • 18 Berry (Gillies - 57' )
  • 15 Pugh (Chambers - 51' )
  • 39 Barnes-Homer (Arnold - 65' )
  • 17 Hughes
  • 25 Bird

Substitutes

  • 14 Tait
  • 29 Gillies
  • 23 Chambers
  • 24 Arnold
  • 01 Sullivan
Ref: Dean Treleaven
Att: 1,016

Match Stats

Shots

9 4

On target

3 0

Corners

0 0

Fouls

12 15

Live Text Commentary

+8:00 Full time

Full Time Match ends, Braintree Town 1, Cambridge United 0.

90:00 +7:00 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Braintree Town 1, Cambridge United 0.

90:00 +6:17 Booking

Booking Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +5:45

Attempt missed. Sean Marks (Braintree Town) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left.

90:00 +4:11

Foul by Tom Bonner (Cambridge United).

90:00 +4:11

Matthew Paine (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

90:00 +3:37

Corner, Cambridge United.

90:00 +0:49

Foul by Liam Hughes (Cambridge United).

90:00 +0:49

Matthew Paine (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

90:00 +0:08

Attempt saved. Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town) left footed shot from outside the box is saved.

89:38

Corner, Braintree Town.

89:07

Attempt saved. James Mulley (Braintree Town) header from the right side of the box is saved. Assisted by Daniel Sparkes.

88:39

Corner, Braintree Town.

87:22 Booking

Booking Sean Marks (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

86:52 Booking

Booking Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

86:46

Foul by Tom Bonner (Cambridge United).

86:46

Sean Marks (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

84:48

Corner, Cambridge United.

81:48 Booking

Booking Ryan Peters (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

81:40

Foul by Ryan Peters (Braintree Town).

81:40

Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

81:03 Booking

Booking Samuel Habergham (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card.

78:05

Foul by Tom Champion (Cambridge United).

78:05

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

76:37

Foul by Nathan Arnold (Cambridge United).

76:37

Matthew Paine (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

70:24

Foul by Ryan Bird (Cambridge United).

70:24

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

69:15

Corner, Cambridge United.

66:57 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Braintree Town 1, Cambridge United 0. Daniel Sparkes (Braintree Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bernard Mensah.

64:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Nathan Arnold replaces Matthew Barnes-Homer.

63:36

Foul by Tom Bonner (Cambridge United).

63:36

Sean Marks (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

62:42

Foul by Matthew Paine (Braintree Town).

62:42

Ashley Chambers (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

60:19

Foul by Tom Bonner (Cambridge United).

60:19

Matthew Paine (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

59:16

Foul by Kevin Roberts (Cambridge United).

59:16

Daniel Sparkes (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

56:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Josh Gillies replaces Luke Berry.

55:56

Attempt missed. Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left.

55:22

Attempt blocked. Luke Berry (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

54:44

Corner, Cambridge United.

53:09

Foul by Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town).

53:09

Josh Coulson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

50:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cambridge United. Ashley Chambers replaces Andy Pugh.

48:47

Foul by Ryan Bird (Cambridge United).

48:47

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

47:17

Corner, Cambridge United.

45:31

Foul by Sean Marks (Braintree Town).

45:31

Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Braintree Town. Daniel Sparkes replaces Kenny Davis.

45:00

Second Half begins Braintree Town 0, Cambridge United 0.

45:00 +0:58 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Braintree Town 0, Cambridge United 0.

34:55 Booking

Booking Matthew Paine (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

34:49

Foul by Matthew Paine (Braintree Town).

34:49

Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

33:52

Corner, Braintree Town.

33:00

Foul by Kevin Roberts (Cambridge United).

33:00

Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

29:35

Attempt blocked. James Mulley (Braintree Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joshua Laurent with a cross.

26:48

Hand ball by Andy Pugh (Cambridge United).

25:27

Hand ball by Matthew Paine (Braintree Town).

25:08

Attempt blocked. Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

24:07

Foul by Sean Marks (Braintree Town).

24:07

Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

23:24

Corner, Braintree Town.

22:42

Offside, Cambridge United. Matthew Barnes-Homer tries a through ball, but Matthew Barnes-Homer is caught offside.

18:21

Attempt missed. Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

17:58

Foul by Matthew Paine (Braintree Town).

17:58

Andy Pugh (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

16:09

Foul by Samuel Habergham (Braintree Town).

16:09

Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

15:26

Offside, Cambridge United. Matthew Barnes-Homer tries a through ball, but Matthew Barnes-Homer is caught offside.

14:19

Attempt missed. Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

13:37

Foul by Alan Massey (Braintree Town).

13:37

Josh Coulson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

12:08

Foul by Matthew Barnes-Homer (Cambridge United).

12:08

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

11:13

Foul by Kenny Davis (Braintree Town).

11:13

Tom Champion (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

9:24

Foul by Matthew Barnes-Homer (Cambridge United).

9:24

Matthew Paine (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

8:40

Attempt missed. Bernard Mensah (Braintree Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

6:15

Corner, Cambridge United.

5:40

Attempt missed. Joshua Laurent (Braintree Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

3:25

Attempt missed. Andy Pugh (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

2:20

Foul by Sean Marks (Braintree Town).

2:20

Tom Bonner (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

1:32

Foul by Luke Berry (Cambridge United).

1:32

Sean Marks (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

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