WHILE he knew they were far from back to their best, Braintree Town captain Jake Hutchings hoped their win against Oxford City would have silenced any thoughts that the Iron may have reached the zenith of their season already.

Braintree have been on a superb run of Vanarama National League South form in recent weeks, but a woeful display in a 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Enfield Town two weeks ago was a setback.

Coming back from an upset against a lower-placed team was a test of their character, so a 1-0 win against Oxford - that moved the Iron up to fifth in the league table - was an important result.

It may not have been the most convincing of performances in beating City, but the result was what mattered and Hutchings felt it would have laid to rest any doubts about Braintree’s ability to continue fighting around the play-off zone.

The Iron skipper said: “We needed a reaction after the Enfield game in the FA Cup.

“It wasn’t our best performance at all but sometimes you can end up getting the result even when it’s not pretty.

“The main thing was putting three points on the board.

“It wasn’t convincing but we will go into training this week, work on the things we didn’t do so well and carry on.

“What was important was getting a result – that was massive.

“Had we lost again, then people may have started looking at us and wondered if we’d peaked too early already.

“Hopefully we’ve put any doubts there to bed and we can still bounce back and get a result.

“It may not have been the most convincing, but we got the three points and we can now move on again.”

Braintree got the win against Oxford City thanks to Ade Cole’s first-half penalty and a resolute defensive show after the break that shut out the visitors.

As a key part of the Iron’s defensive unit centre-half Hutchings was delighted to record a third clean sheet and the discipline they showed at the back and he was quick to praise the part goalkeeper Michael Johnson played in their success.

“Having MJ – Michael Johnson – in goal, I think he can be one of the best at this level and he’ll play higher,” added Hutchings.

“When you have someone like him behind you, talking to you, it makes you comfortable and it’s coming together for us defensively.”