A QUIRK of the fixture lists has meant that Braintree Town have had to face Billericay Town in four of their last 14 matches – and, apart from last year’s penalty shoot-out, they have yet to win, writes RON FOSKER.

Their latest disappointment, a 2-1 home defeat, ended their interest in the FA Cup at the first attempt on Saturday.

As at the New Lodge three weeks ago, it was a late goal that was decisive. An 89th-minute goal denied them three points then. This time the winning goal came in the 86th minute.

But it could have come a lot earlier.

Braintree’s goal after 15 minutes, a penalty won and scored by Femi Akinwande, came somewhat against the run of play, and the play continued to run in Billericay’s favour for much of the game.

They equalised in the 35th minute when Darren Foxley turned in a cross from Norman Wabo and came close to taking the lead when Preston Edwards made an excellent save from a blistering shot from Foxley ten minutes later.

Billericay also had three good chances to take the lead in the first ten minutes of the second half.

First the Iron defence failed to clear a cross, leaving George Wind with a free ball that he ballooned over the bar, a deflected cross was tipped over the bar by a wrong-footed Edwards, and then Anderson Pinto’s header from the resulting corner passed just past the post.

At the other end, Braintree had few chances. Kyran Clements’ header from a Matt Johnson long throw went narrowly wide and a neat move involving Alfie Payne and Femi Akinwande resulted in Correy Davidson driving the ball over the bar.

They appeared to have survived their tendency to give the ball away but they did so once too often, leaving Wind free on the right to blast the ball home for a merited victory.

Manager Ryan Maxwell had promised some changes after last week’s lacklustre display against Bath City and was true to his word, dropping three players, including Ezra Ikebuasi, for many fans Iron’s player of the season so far.

His replacement Jamal Balogun made an immediate impact by getting himself booked in the second minute for a rash challenge and was substituted for Ikebuasi at half-time.

Correy Davidson and Gianni Crichlow, the other two who had dropped out, were also given their chance towards the end of the match but could make little headway.

Billericay, it should be remembered, have just one point – from their draw with Braintree - after five league matches. It does not augur well.

Braintree Town: Preston Edwards; Jamal Balogun (Ezra Ikebuasi 46), Kyran Clements, Luke Pennell, Jay Porter; Femi Akinwande, Alfie Payne, Matt Johnson, Arjan Krasniqi (Gianni Crichlow 86), Harry Hope (Correy Davidson 59); Luke Holness