BRAINTREE Town negotiated a potentially tricky hurdle when they overcame Isthmian League side Potters Bar Town 3-1 in the FA Trophy on Saturday, writes RON FOSKER.

The writing appeared to be on the wall when the visitors equalised with almost the last kick of the first half after a lacklustre display from their hosts with a fierce wind in their favour.

With the wind behind them in the second half, it was reasoned, Potters Bar, a skilful, ball-playing side, would be a different proposition.

But it didn’t turn out like that.

Iron knuckled down to subduing their opponents and after a couple of early scares, they restricted them to very few opportunities.

The afternoon could have had a different ending if either of the Scholars’ early second half efforts had gone in but Samuel Esan shot wide after a classy multi-man move and Ben Ward-Cochrane’s shot on the turn also ended just the wrong side of the post.

Immediately afterwards Correy Davidson charged down the left wing and although his cross was missed by everyone in the immediate vicinity of the goal, Arjan Krasniqi was lurking beyond the far post to slam the ball into the net.

A minute later Ward-Cochrane broke free but the Iron back line recovered to block his shot – and that was virtually the last time the visitors looked dangerous.

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Instead it was Braintree who grew in confidence and offered more effective thrust.

Nathan Bertram-Cooper’s header from a free kick narrowly missed the target, Tom Derry’s header from a corner was scrambled clear and a cross from substitute Luke Holness was only just out of Femi Akinwande’s reach.

It was Holness who enabled home fans to relax when he headed in Matt Johnson’s cross in the 87th minute to ensure his side were in the hat for the third round draw.

But in the first half a different outcome had looked very likely.

Iron ignored the fact that the wind made their usual long-ball game even less effective than it is normally and a number of punts upfield sailed harmlessly into touch.

Potters Bar on the other hand kept the ball on the ground, played it to feet and showed trust in each other’s abilities. Frequently they lived dangerously with the ball close to their own goal but they would have been the more confident side going in to the interval.

They had overcome the setback of a 19th minute goal when keeper Hafed Al Droubi could only weakly punch Davidson’s free kick and Krasniqi struck it cleanly through the defence.

Krasniqi came close to a second when he twisted neatly in the area and saw his shot deflected just inches past the post.

Otherwise the visitors’ forays looked the more likely to bear fruit.

They were rewarded when Esan broke through the middle and although he appeared to have been policed sufficiently by two defenders, he managed to get in a shot that evaded Billy Johnson.

It was almost the last that was seen of their attack as Braintree effectively closed them down in the second 45 minutes.

Braintree: Billy Johnson; Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Nathan Bertram-Cooper, Luke Pennell, Kyran Clements, Correy Davidson; Alfie Payne (Harry Hope 81), Matt Johnson, Arjan Krasniqi; Tom Derry (Luke Holness 70), Femi Akinwande