BRAINTREE Town battled back from conceding a penalty less than 60 seconds after the first whistle to gain a well-earned 1-1 draw against a Farnborough side five places above them in the National League South table, writes RON FOSKER.

In the barbecue-level heat of the Rare Breed Meat Co stadium it was not an afternoon for hard yards, more for the ancient tradition of making the ball do the work and Braintree again concocted a number of attractive moves in their build-up play but the cutting edge, as in their recent 0-0 draws with Chippenham and Tonbridge, was not to be found.

The start could hardly have been worse. Farnborough’s tricky winger Reggie Young made his way into the penalty area where Wimbledon loanee Ben Mason, showing all the inexperience of his 19 years, lunged into an ill-advised tackle that got nowhere near the ball.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Pointing at the spot was one of referee Charles Martland’s easier decisions of the afternoon.

Ex-Iron Alfie Pavey’s kick was saved by Jack Sims, diving to his right but he could not prevent Pavey nodding the rebound into the net.

Commendably no Braintree heads went down and within three minutes they were level – and it was a relieved Mason who was responsible.

A well-executed three-man move set George Quantrell in on goal. His shot was parried as was Matt Carson’s follow-up but the rebound fell nicely for Mason to slam it past a stranded keeper.

Braintree and Witham Times:

For much of the rest of the match the two teams cancelled each other out with Farnborough’s tall pairing of Jack Ball and Ollie Robinson letting little past them at one end while Iron’s Joe Grimwood and 17-year-old Ben Tompkins, who showed why parent club Luton rate him so highly, blocked up the other end.

The visitors’ main weapon was Robinson’s long throws that reached the penalty area from almost anywhere in the Iron half. But in 17 attempts, there were only a couple of occasions when they caused much concern, notably when Sid Nelson’s header shaved the post towards the end of the first half.

Pavey came close to scoring when he turned in the area and appeared to have the goal at his mercy but Sims brought off an excellent block Iron’s best chance came from a breakaway when George Quantrell ran clear of the defence but could only hit his shot at keeper Jack Turner, who saved with his legs.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Just before the end a goalmouth scramble led to several Braintree players trying to get the decisive touch but eventually Turner fell on the ball and the two teams headed off for a welcome shower.

Braintree; Jack Sims; Ben Mason (Ben Watt 59), Joe Grimwood, Ben Tompkins, Matt Carson; George Quantrell (Toby Stevenson 69), Leon Davies, Alfie Payne, Tom Blackwell; Aaron Blair, Will Davies (Arnold Matshazi 88)