AFTER shipping eight goals in their last two games, Braintree Town can regard this 1-1 home draw with Maidstone United as the first step on the road to redemption, writes RON FOSKER.

But Iron needed a last-second goal to salvage a point, in the Vanarama National League South clash.

Maidstone had been ahead since the 30th minute when Ibby Akanbi exposed Iron’s right flank with a powerful run and cross that ex-Iron Iffy Allen converted with a shot on the turn.

From that point Braintree had the majority of the possession, even more so when Ross Marshall was sent off for a second yellow card in the 65th minute but for all their efforts, they could not break down a resolute defence expertly marshalled by another ex-Iron George Elokobi.

Then in the fourth of the three additional minutes and with goalkeeper Michael Johnson up in the attack, Braintree’s seventh corner of the half passed over the heads of everybody except Josh Urquhart, who was lurking at the back post to nod the ball into the net.

Referee Wayne Cartmel blew for time two seconds after the restart.

The corner had resulted from a deflected Ade Cole shot from the edge of the area, one of many attempts in the final half hour that didn’t quite make it.

Cole himself had come closest shortly before when he connected with a superb volley that sent the ball on to the bar from 25 yards.

But mostly the attacking forays were laboured and uncertain. Too often more passes than appeared to be strictly necessary were sprayed around when a more incisive movement was called for.

Sometimes they played with an almost exaggerated calmness, particularly at the back where one slightly misplaced pass could have proved fatal. It led to the Kent radio station commentator comparing them with Manchester City.

There were a few misdirected passes in the middle of the field, one of which almost led to a second Maidstone goal.

It produced a two-on-two situation with the visitors seemingly in the ascendant but fortuitously, Saidou Khan lost control at a vital moment, tripped over the ball and the danger evaporated.

It was a game that held the attention throughout with both attacks looking threatening but both defences looking solid.

Braintree had looked as if they might be overrun in the first ten minutes when the visitors mounted attack after attack but none of their shots caused Johnson any palpitations.

Play evened out after that opening spell and Iron came closest to opening the scoring when a Femi Akinwande shot was pushed on to the bar by keeper Jake Cole.

The visitors had the better chances at the beginning of the second half, but once they lost the services of Marshall, they retrenched and had to withstand a steady bombardment, with recent signing Lucas Kirkpatrick orchestrating many of the attacks.

It had all appeared to be in vain until Urquhart popped up at the far post.

Braintree: Michael Johnson; Josh Urquhart, Michael Clark, Jake Hutchings, Cameron Green; Lucas Kirkpatrick; Jack James, Tyler Christian-Law (Alfie Cerulli 79), Ade Cole, Adam Mills (Rhys Murrell-Williamson 73); Femi Akinwande.