A goal from Michael Gash 18 minutes from time ensured Cambridge United started 2013 on a winning note.
Gash's fine finish settled a scrappy encounter with Braintree Town. After laying the ball off to Rossi Jarvis, the striker found some space on the edge of the area, and after receiving a return pass he beat Danny Naisbitt with a powerful effort.
Earlier Naisbitt had saved well from Andy Pugh, while Craig Ross was called into action only once, making a fine save to deny Matt Paine. Lively substitute Curtis Haynes-Brown could've made it 2-0, but saw his shot rebound off the crossbar.
More to follow...
16.55: That's full-time. It wasn't pretty, but United worked hard and got the victory thanks to Michael Gash's goal. That's eight unbeaten in the league for Money's men.
16.54: Another chance for Braintree to chuck the ball into the box, Ross gets some contact with a punch, a shot is blocked and Braintree appeal furiously for a penalty. They want handball but the ref is unmoved. More hope than expectation from the visitors I think.
16.51: Four minutes to be added, Haynes-Brown sends in the cross, Hughes climbs, and his header flashes past the post, so close to a second with Naisbitt flat-footed.
16.48: YELLOW CARD. Paine in the book for a late tackle on Haynes-Brown, he's been a booking waiting to happen since the first half. Haynes-Brown involved again now, taken down right on the edge of the box, a free kick. Gash takes, it's charged down and Willmott smashes the rebound into the South Stand.
16.46: Braintree with the corner, Paine meets it and Ross flings himself to his left to parry the ball round the post, good save. The second corner causes a big scramble, but United survive and come out of it with a goal kick.
16.43: So close there, Haynes-Brown meets the corner and flicks a shot against the bar. Dan Sparkes replaces Davis as Braintree complete their quota of subs.
16.41: United have a corner now won by Liam Hughes. The delivery from Jarvis isn't the best, but works out as Josh Coulson is fouled right on the edge of the area. Free kick, good position for Gash or Jennings, but Gash's effort clips the wall and goes behind for a corner.
16.39: United living on their nerves a bit at the moment, a free kick from Davis is flighted into the box but its headed behind, corner. United half clear with Gash, back it comes but there's an offside flag and Craig Ross will be able to take his time with the free kick.
16.33: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1-0 BRAINTREE. United make the breakthrough and it's that man MICHAEL GASH again. He shows good strength on the edge of the box to hold the ball up and roll it in to Rossi Jarvis in the box. The midfielder picked out Gash with a return pass and he made no mistake with a powerful shot from 13 yards. Naisbitt got hands to the ball I think but couldn't keep it out.
16.26: Richard Money rolls the dice for a final time, Ricky Wellard on to replace Andy Pugh. Liam Hughes will join Gash up front. Today's attendance is 2,706 (away 121).
16.21: Chances at both ends, Holman turning brilliantly and arrowing a shot over the bar, then Harrison Dunk finding a rare bit of space on the flank, cutting inside but shooting just wide of the post. That'll be Dunk's last contribution, as he's replaced by Curtis Haynes-Brown.
16.13: United with a corner, but Naisbitt claims it and Braintree break with Holman, then Mulley. But he's held up by Kevin Roberts at the expense of a corner. Braintree take but there's some pushing, United free kick. United will make their first change now, with Robbie Willmott coming on for Sam Smith. Willmott is stationed wide right, with Andy Pugh joining Gash up front.
16.09: First change for Braintree, Habergham off, Mulley on. I think Mulley is a midfielder by trade so the visitors might have to do some shuffling.
16.06: Second half underway, U's 0-0 Braintree.
HALF TIME: Cambridge United 0-0 Braintree Town
15.49: United going forward as the half ends, but a passing move on the edge of the box ends with a Dunk shot well over. Naisbitt taking his time with this goal kick, and there goes the whistle. It was a half which started well for the U's, but swiftly went downhill, and Braintree have done a good smothering job on us for the last 20 minutes or so. The U's will need to be patient in the second half.
15.45: The visitors are finishing the half strongly, they're doing a good job of making the pitch small and closing United down at every stage. Watts finds space in the box to meet a cross but his volley is disappointingly over the bar. Two minutes stoppage time to be added.
15.35: Braintree corner met by the head of Dean Wells, but he can't get a clean connection on the ball and heads well wide.
15.25: YELLOW CARD. Now Kenny Davis follows his team mate into the book for a lunge on Smith. The Habbin were baying for red there, but that was always going to be a yellow.
15.25: YELLOW CARD. Dunk goes the long way round Habergham, who brings him down. That'll be a booking for the Braintree left back and a free kick to United in the corner. In it comes from Jarvis, Naisbitt gets an unconvincing punch on the ball but Pugh is crowded out as he attempts to follow up.
15.22: First sight of goal for Dan Holman, who finds some space on the edge of the are but can only shoot wide of Ross's left post. Very nigglely out there at present, the ref needs to get a grip on things, am surprised no one has been booked yet.
15.15: United enjoying the majority of possession here, Gash gets Pugh away down the right but his cross is headed wide by Liam Hughes. Hughesy was in a good position and perhaps should have made better contact, the ball somewhat skidded off his head and comfortably wide of the goal.
15.10: Good save from Danny Naisbitt, a United corner half cleared to Andy Pugh, who strikes a first time effort from 25 yards which the keeper does well to touch around the post. Naisbitt claims the resulting corner kick from Rossi Jarvis too.
15.08: Smith back on his feet as the free kick is pumped into the box, but Braintree clear relatively easily after some head tennis. United attack again though, Dunk trying to pick his way through but he can only poke a shot over the crossbar.
15.05: Kevin Roberts with the first shot of the day, but that's well over the crossbar following good work from Rossi Jarvis. United have a free kick now just inside Braintree territory, Massey flattening Sam Smith with a muscular challenge.
15.02: Following a change of ends, United will attack the Newmarket Road End in the first half, and get us underway.
14.58: Not wishing to be a harbinger of doom, but United's record on New Year's Day of late isn't amazing. The best(!) result I can remember is a 0-0 draw with Histon on January 1st 2011. Other recent NYD results have seen us lose 3-2 to today's visitors at Cressing Road last year, and take a tonking at the hands of Stevenage. Here come the teams.
Cambridge United: Ross, Roberts, Jennings, Coulson, McAuley, Pugh (Wellard 66), Dunk (Haynes-Brown 61), Jarvis, Hughes, Gash, Smith (Willmott 52). Subs: Hedge, Gibson, Wellard, Willmott, Haynes-Brown.
Braintree Town: Naisbitt, Peters, Habergham (Mulley 48), Massey, Wells, Daley, Watts, Davis (Sparkes 85), Paine, Holman, Marks. Subs: Symons, Sparkes, Sheppard, Mulley, Hunt.
14.46: TEAM NEWS. Two changes to the United side that drew 1-1 at Dartford. Craig Ross returns from injury in goal, with Jonathan Hedge dropping to the bench. The suspension-free James Jennings is also handed a recall, with Curtis Haynes-Brown named among the substitutes. Tom Elliott is out warming up with the substitutes, but is not deemed fit enough to be part of the 16, hopefully we'll see him back for Saturday's game against his former club Stockport.
Braintree have former United goalkeeper Danny Naisbitt between the sticks, while ex-Histon man Dan Holman starts up front, and another two old Stutes - Dan Sparkes and Kaine Sheppard - are on the bench.
14.30: Happy New Year everyone, welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for the first match of 2013, which sees United host Braintree. The U's continued their unbeaten run in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Dartford, but will have to be on their mettle today against a Braintree side gunning for revenge after the Boxing Day match at Cressing Road, which finished 3-0 in favour of Richard Money's men.