FA Trophy third qualifying round

Just had been the case in the FA Cup, a lower-placed team ensured Braintree Town’s involvement in the FA Trophy would be short-lived this year.

As they had lost to Enfield Town in their first FA Cup outing in September, the Iron were beaten 2-1 by another step-three side – Yate Town – in the Trophy’s third qualifying round.

It had looked a different story for the Iron early on as they went ahead after just 35 seconds, but their visitors, who play in the Southern League premier division south, were undaunted.

They took the game to Braintree and took advantage of errors at the back as they scored twice after the break to make their long trip back to the West Country considerably more enjoyable than it may have otherwise been.

There were three changes for Braintree from the side that started the 6-2 Vanarama National League South defeat at Welling United seven days before.

They saw new signing Dipo Akinyemi come into the line-up and a return from an injury layoff for Tom Richardson, while there was also a first starting berth for Charley Barker.

Coming out of the side were the suspended Tyler Christian-Law and Femi Akinwande, who had left the club the day before to join Billericay Town, while Rhys Murrell-Williamson dropped to the bench.

There was a dramatic opening to the tie as Braintree took the lead with just 35 seconds on the clock.

It came from a lovely move out from the back as Hutchings fed the ball to Barker, who turned it on to Richardson and he released Banton with a beautifully-weighted flick.

With Yate keeper Adam Forster coming out of his area, Banton worked the ball past him and rolled it into the open goal to give Braintree the start they were hoping for.

However, there were soon danger signs at the other end, when, in the third minute, the Iron defence was cut open.

That allowed Louis Britton to get clear, but the Yate striker slammed his shot against the post for a huge let-off for the home side.

After the dramatic start, the game settled down with both teams looking to press where they could but without too much in the way of clear-cut chances

That changed on 28 minutes, though, when there were quickfire opportunities at both ends.

The first fell to Braintree as Akinyemi carried the ball strongly into the Yate area and forced Forster into a smart stop from a narrow angle and there was then an opening for Britton as play switched to the other end but he fluffed his lines and fired wide from a good position.

Luke Spokes then did considerably better for the visitors three minutes later, but like his opposite number, Braintree keeper Michael Johnson was up to the task with a good save of a shot from an acute angle.

The half ended with Yate on the front foot far more than their hosts and captain Nicholas Peare fired a low effort inches wide of the target as Braintree managed to hold on to their slender lead at the break.

That continued after the restart, but the main threat was targeted towards the visitors’ goal in the opening 15 minutes of the half as Iron enjoyed far more of the possession.

They were unable to add to their tally, though, and that gave Yate a chance to come more into the tie and Johnson had to be alert to keep out a couple of efforts from Britton.

But the hosts were undone in the 71st minute when a fast break down the left by Yate was ended by Michael Clark bringing down Britton while in full flow.

While the home players felt it was a foul outside the box, referee Tom Danaher pointed to the penalty spot and Britton took full advantage by firing the ball into the bottom corner past the dive of Johnson to pull the visitors level.

It was a setback for Braintree, but Banton almost put them back in front with a fierce shot from the edge of the box only for the ball to find the arms of Forster.

However, the greater clinical edge was shown at the other end as Yate took the lead on 81 minutes after a slip at the back by Cameron Green gave Britton a clear run at goal and he confidently finished past Johnson.

With ten minutes to go, the Iron were now desperately chasing the game, but, even with an extra four added on at the end, they were unable to engineer a response as they bowed out of the Trophy at the first hurdle.

Braintree Town: Michael Johnson, Jack James, Cameron Green, Lucas Kirkpatrick, Michael Clark, Jake Hutchings, Charley Barker, Ade Cole (Rhys Murrell-Williamson 85), Dipo Akinyemi, Jason Banton, Tom Richardson (Alfie Cerulli 77). Subs not used: Isaac Skubich.

Referee: Tom Danaher.