Vanarama National League

A late penalty proved the difference as Braintree Town were unable to halt the Vanarama National League promotion charge of Solihull Moors.

It was a valiant display by the Iron in a battle between two sides at very different ends of the table.

The visitors held the lead in the first half after a goal by Korrey Henry but Solihull struck back before the break and Adi Yussuf fired home a late penalty to boost the home side's promotion push as they moved level on points at the top with leaders Leyton Orient.

Braintree made two changes from the side that won so well in the 3-0 victory at Sutton United in midweek, one of which was enforced by injury.

Kodi Lyons-Foster was ruled out after coming off at Sutton with an ankle problem and he was replaced in the starting line-up by Dan Matsuzaka.

There was also a place at the start for Ifeanyi Allen as Sam Kelly, who had scored in midweek, was unavailable.

There were also a couple of changes on the bench with Ricky Gabriel back involved after serving a three-match suspension and Ikechi Eze was handed a place after becoming the latest player to step up from the Iron’s academy ranks.

Braintree were looking to pick up where they had left off on Tuesday, but it was the high-flying hosts who had the first sight of goal in the sixth minute.

Solihull’s Darren Carter swung a corner in which found the head of team-mate Nathan Blissett at the front post, however, Courtney Richards was well-placed to clear off the line for the Iron.

Moors stayed a threat and it took a good save by Iron keeper Ben Killip with his legs to deny an effort by Jermaine Hylton after the midfielder had beaten the Iron’s offside trap to get clear.

Having survived these early scares, though, it was the Iron who proved the more clinical as they went ahead in the 22nd minute.

The goal came after a superb run by Richards saw him get past a couple of challenges and although he was eventually stopped by a foul, he managed to get the ball away to Korrey Henry.

With the referee’s assistant flagging for the foul, referee Leigh Doughty played the advantage and Henry calmed rounded home keeper Ryan Boot and placed the ball in the empty net for his second goal in as many games.

After the setback, Solihull tried to re-establish their dominance and Blissett went close at a corner with an effort that was deflected just wide of the target.

And Braintree continued to live dangerously on 35 minutes when Lee Vaughan crossed from the right and a header by Danny Wright clipped the top of the crossbar.

The pressure was building on the Iron goal and that told before half-time as the hosts pulled level in the 38th minute.

The equaliser came from a free-kick by Carter that was fired into the Braintree box and Liam Daly powered a header in at the back post to make sure the teams turned around level at the break.

In the reveres fixture at Cressing Road in November, the opening spell of the second half had been Braintree’s downfall as they were blown away by a muscular charge from Solihull.

Moors took a decisive lead in that period in the earlier meeting and they looked to assert their authority this time as well as Carter, Hylton and Wright all had efforts that were just off target.

However, Iron made sure the home goal didn’t go untroubled on this occasion and after Aaron Eyoma had done well to win possession, he laid the ball off to Cameron James, who fired a shot from distance that just veered away from finding the top corner of the goal.

However, just as Braintree had got through the 20-minute spell that had been so poor at home, they fell behind to a 79th minute penalty.

It came when Killip tangled in the area with Moors substitute Yussuf, who picked himself up and sent the Iron keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.

It meant the home side had a lead to defend and with Braintree unable to find a way through for a second time, they ended up losing 2-1 as the threat of relegation loomed ever closer for them.

Braintree Town: Ben Killip, Andrew Eleftheriou, Rob Atkinson, Cameron James, Dan Matsuzaka, Ifeanyi Allen (Ikechi Eze 90), Aaron Eyoma, Oscar Borg (Ricky Gabriel 54), Courtney Richards, Luke Allen (Mo Sagaf 84), Korrey Henry. Subs not used: Jayden Gibson, Dave Blackmore.

Referee: Leigh Doughty.