Braintree stay bullish over their play-off hopes

Braintree and Witham Times: Matt Paine. Picture: NEIL DADY Matt Paine. Picture: NEIL DADY

Braintree Town may have seen their Skrill Premier play-off hopes dented after being unable forge a way past Gateshead, but their players are remaining bullish that they can finish in the top five this season.

The Iron dominated the game against the north-east side on Tuesday, but after seeing a penalty saved, they had to settle for a goalless stalemate.

That left them sitting sixth and three points behind fifth-placed Gateshead in the Skrill Premier table with three games left to play, but the Iron are not going to give up the fight for the play-offs yet.

Midfielder Matt Paine said: “It’s still not unachieveable.

“There are three games left and we’ve got people coming to our place for two of them.

“It’s not an easy place to come and we have to just take it one at a time.

“Teams don’t really like coming to our ground.

“It’s not the most welcoming place – the pitch isn’t the best and the changing rooms aren’t the best – so people don’t come here and enjoy it.

“We take that as a positive and use it to our advantage.

“They’ll probably come for a draw and to make sure they don’t lose and it will be down to us to break them down starting on Friday against Dartford.”

With Luton already crowned as champions the league’s focus has turned to the race for the play-offs, with Cambridge, Grimsby, Halifax and Gateshead occupying the coveted positions heading into the last three games.

The race could go to the wire and may see more twists and turns over the next week, but defender Dean Wells feels the pressure is on the hunted rather than the hunters.

He added: “It’s a pressure situation.

“But I don’t see the pressure being on us because we’re not the ones in the top five.

“We know what we have to do, but the pressure is all on the sides above us.

“They know if they lose then we’re on their tails, so there’s no pressure on us.

“We knew at the start of the season that we had a good enough team to finish high up the league, but people wrote us off as little old Braintree.

“We know we are a good team, though, and the sky can be the limit.”

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