Sammie helps Braintree to away day draw.
20-year-old U's midfielder Sammie Szmodics joined our local neighbours Braintree on a month's loan earlier this month and, on Tuesday, our intrepid reporter George Haberman went to The Kingfield Stadium to take note's on his performance against 16th place Woking.
1 min: Sammie was straight into action from referee Derek Eaton's first blow of the whistle and was involved in some eye-catching exchanges with Braintree striker Sean Marks.
4 mins: Mitch Brundle plays a hard pass into Sammie's feet which he intelligently dummies, because he’s aware Sean Marks is positioned behind him. Szmodics carries on his run and the first time pass from Marks is behind him however Sammie looks lively in the opening phases of the game.
10 mins: Again it's the final ball that lets Sammie down; he peels off his man and Taylor Miles can't quite find him with the through ball, allowing Woking goalie Jake Cole pounces on it.
13 mins: Sammie shows fantastic skill with a couple of stepovers and a drop of the shoulder to get past Mark Ricketts and is fouled by the Woking captain on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick is taken by Taylor Miles and is tipped over for a Braintree corner.
17 mins: After misplacing a cushioned header for Sean Marks and the ball ending up with Woking, Sammie tracks back a good 40 yards to make a perfect tackle on Chris Arthur and stop any oncoming Woking attack.
21 mins: GOAL! Braintree takes the lead through a Sean Marks goal. Sammie picks the ball up on the left hand side of the pitch and switches play with an excellent cross-field ball that lands perfectly at Mitch Brundle’s feet, he has the simplest of crosses for Sean Marks who bundles the ball past Jake Cole and The Iron take the lead.
31 mins: After some Woking pressure, Chez Isaac puts Sammie through on goal but he is narrowly beaten to the ball by goalkeeper Cole who clears any danger by smashing the ball out of play.
34 mins: Sammie has moved to the right hand side and easily beats Woking defender Cameron Norman for pace and whips in a dangerous ball across the six yard box which is poked agonizingly wide by Sean Marks.
First Half Analysis
That was a really good half for Sammie. He looks the most dangerous player on the pitch and every time he gets the ball it looks like something could happen. He played an exquisite ball in the lead up to the Braintree goal and looks to be relishing playing with this freedom in the Braintree attack.
48 mins: Alex Woodyard fizzes a pass in Sammie's direction and with a deft touch he lays the ball off Taylor Miles, unfortunately his shot is wide of the Woking goal.
49 mins: Sammie beats Cameron Norman for a mixture of pace and strength and goes through on goal but Jake Cole makes an excellent save down to his left hand side to deny Szmodics. That shot was nestling nicely into the far corner.
53 mins: Another stunning save from Cole is the only reason Sammie isn't on the scoresheet tonight. He does everything right when controlling a lofted through ball from Miles on his chest and audaciously trying to lob him first time. Cole makes up his ground and with a diving save he tips the ball onto the roof of the net. A great attempt and a great save.
65 mins: After taking a knock to the foot, Sammie goes down and has to receive some treatment from the physio on the sidelines.
73 mins: Some good intricate passing with Sam Habergham down the left hand side is enough to earn a corner from Braintree. It results in nothing but its good to see that knock hasn't affected Sammie and he seems fine to continue.
77 mins: GOAL! Woking draws the game level at 1-1 with a goal through John Goddard. Some good work down the right hand side from Bruno Andrade saw him centre the ball for Goddard to stroke past Norris.
80 mins: Braintree attack in search of retaking the lead. Sammie spreads the play with an inch perfect ball to Ibra Sekassa who charges forward but he fails to deliver the cross for Marks at the back post.
90 mins: Woking go desperately close. A corner is whipped in and Joey Jones sees his header destined for goal net cleared superbly by Sammie throwing his body in the way of it, great defending.
94 mins: Szmodics almost nicks the game winner with a 25 yard effort that is deflected into the side netting with Cole well beaten. With that referee Mr Eaton blows his whistle and signals the end of the game.
Second Half Analysis
Sammie had two great chances that half and if it wasn't for some spectacular saves from Cole, Braintree would have been out of sight. Similar to the first half, all of the Braintree danger was coming through Sammie whether it was he creating it or being the man on the end of it. Some brilliant defending in the dying moments of the game was appreciated by the travelling Braintree fans and appears to have saved a point for The Iron.
Full Time Analysis
Overall Sammie was one of the best players on the pitch. He showed great flair and determination throughout the 90 minutes and was vital for Braintree when going forward. He was influential in the build up for the Braintree goal and really put in a shift over the course of the game.
After the game, George caught up with Sammie to find out about his time at Braintree so far:-
How are you enjoying life at Braintree so far Sammie?
"It's really good. The gaffer (Tony Humes) has sent me here to get minutes and it feels great to be playing a full 90 again."
Have you settled in well to the Braintree team?
"Yeah, I feel like I’ve settled well. A lot of the boys are around the same age and we all love football so its not been that hard to settle in. It helps as well that I know a couple of the lads already; Michael Cheek went to the same school as me, although he was a few years older and I’m mates with Alex Woodyard."
How good does it feel to be playing football again?
"Its unreal and a great feeling to be back amongst it. I'm working hard on and off the pitch to regain my fitness and sharpness and I'm not taking it for granted; I have 3 games left here at Braintree and when I go back to Colchester at the end of the month I want to be back at my best and get back into the starting XI."
How does the football differ to that of League One?
"It’s more physical than League One, you get booted around a little bit but that doesn't bother me really, as long as I’m playing well and giving my all for the team."
What do you hope will be the outcome of this loan spell?
"More minutes, more goals and as I said before just getting back into it. It's amazing to be playing and I'm enjoying my football again so I hope when I get back to Colchester I will have impressed the gaffer and shown him what I can do and get a chance to perform for Colchester."