Mitch Brundle’s second goal in as many games and a late second from Michael Bakare saw Braintree Town record their second home win of the season with a 2-0 victory against Nuneaton.
The visitors came into the game without having scored in four Conference Premier games so far this term and they extended that run to five as they ended the game goalless and down to ten men after the sending off of Ben Hutchinson after the break.
Braintree, meanwhile, had Brudle’s excellent free-kick to thank for their win and a low drilled effort from Bakare as they bounced back from the disappointment of defeats by Chester and Lincoln.
Braintree made two changes from the side that lost at Lincoln on Saturday with James Mulley out injured and Michael Bakare dropping to the bench.
It meant Dan Walker returned to the attack, while Remy Clerima came into the back line and a tinkering in the formation by Devonshire saw Brundle in a holding midfield position just in front of the defence.
The game started in heavy rain that continued pretty much throughout the 90 minutes and puddles formed on the playing surface from early on.
They weren’t bad enough to stop play, though, and Braintree had the first of the early chances when Dan Walker raced clear from Ryan Peters’ excellent ball forward, but he was pushed wide as he rounded Nuneaton keeper Reice Charles-Cook.
However, a combination of former Braintree player Exodus Geohaghan and Delroy Gordon got back to clear the ball off the line from Walker’s eventual shot.
It helped set the tone, though, as the Iron made an encouraging start and they bossed the opening stages.
Cox’s effort was denied by the boot of Geohaghan and Brundle headed over from a great cross by Walker.
Only the heroics of Nuneaton keeper Charles-Cook kept it goalless just after the half-hour mark as he firstly parried Brundle’s long-range thunderbolt effort and then got up to keep out follow-ups by Dan Sparkes and Cox.
The 33rd minute of the game made it seven hours since Nuneaton had scored a Conference Premier goal stretching back to last season but James Armson came close to ending that just before the break with a driven shot from 35 yards.
However, Nick Hamann was up to the task in the home goal and clawed the effort round the post as it stayed goalless at half-time.
Having seen so many chances before the break, it was markedly quieter after it.
Clear-cut opportunities were frustratingly rare as both sets of defences nullified the opposing attacks.
The game reignited in the 73rd minute, though, when Ben Hutchinson’s crunching tackle earned him a straight red card and it was further enlivened six minutes later when Braintree took the lead.
A free-kick on the edge of the box saw Mitch Brundle step up and bend a low shot around the Nuneaton wall and into the bottom corner of the goal.
And the Iron wrapped up the win with five minutes to go when substitute Bakare was afforded too much room on the edge of the box and he slammed in a shot to make the points safe.