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Braintree make hard work of securing FA Cup progress
BRAINTREE TOWN 3 LOWESTOFT TOWN 2
FA Cup fourth qualifying round
Braintree Town placed themselves in the FA Cup first round proper for only the second time in their history, but it was far from plain sailing for the Iron.
Having taken a 2-0 lead with strikes by Sean Marks in the opening 15 minutes and seeing Lowestoft reduced to ten men after the sending off of Jack Defty for a foul on Ryan Peters, progress looked a formality for the Iron.
However, the sending-off appeared to galvanise the Suffolk visitors and Braintree allowed themselves to get embroiled in a scrappy game.
Lowestoft carried the game to their hosts and the Ryman League premier division side halved the deficit on 29 minutes when Sam Gaughran headed in from close-range from a free-kick.
The tem men had a gilt-edged chance to draw level before half-time when referee Daniel Cook spotted a push by Marks at a corner and awarded Lowestoft a penalty.
Joe Francis stepped forward to take the kick, but Braintree keeper Danny Naisbitt saved low to his right and it proved to be a pivotal moment in the game.
With their lead intact at the break, Braintree looked to regroup and a goal by Pat O’Connor steadied nerves four minutes after the restart.
However, the Iron proved to be their own worst enemies once more as the half wore on.
Within seconds of Marks hitting the post with an open goal at his mercy, sloppy defending at the other end opened a clear run on goal for Michael Frew and he drilled a low shot past Naisbitt.
Home nerves were jangling once more and it was a tense final ten minutes as Lowestoft threw everything at Braintree, but their brave attempt came to nothing and the Iron were afforded a sigh of relief at the end.
See the Braintree and Witham Times this week for a full match report, pictures and reaction to the Iron's FA Cup victory and all the latest news and exclusive views from the Amlin Stadium.