AARON Blair's last-gasp winner booked Braintree Town a place in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round for the first time in five years, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron beat Brackley Town 3-2 after coming back from being two goals and seemingly on their way out of the competition.

Braintree manager Angelo Harrop said: "I'm really proud of the boys because we knew we were up against a well-drilled, organised side with experience and then going two goals down could have been a heartbreaker.

"It just shows the spirit and commitment of the players and what a great football club we have at this high level of non-league football.

"Going two down through what was sloppy defending early in the second half meant we had to change tactics and go for all out attacking against what was a strong defence.

"I felt once we had pulled one goal back which would give us confidence to really take the game to them and we did and I knew then we could win.

"The first half was a little flat as each side cancelled one another out although we had the better chances and then I felt we started the second half on the front foot but then we gave away two poor goals.

"But the players, with great support from the fans, bucked themselves up and we began to look threatening every time we pushed forward.

"I felt we made the right substitutions at the right time and that helped us and I was so pleased to see Aaron's terrific volley go in to seal the victory for us.

"Teams know we are particularly hard to beat at home and they came here with a game plan to stop us but thankfully we kept persevering, never giving up and the longer the match went on I was sure we could win without the need for a replay."

Braintree and Witham Times:

Braintree had a new face on the bench in 20 year-old midfielder Marvin Herschel from Dartford.

Prior to kick-off, Iron also confirmed that central defender Kyran Clements had left the club after five years to join neighbours Bishop's Stortford.

Clements, who played 114 matches plus five as a substitute and scored 16 goals during his stay at Cressing Road, made his Blues debut in their friendly against a Luton XI, on Friday evening.

Braintree and Witham Times:

With defender Joe Grimwood serving a one-match ban for his bizarre sending off at Aveley, manager Harrop shuffled his defence with left-back Toby Stevenson returning.

The Iron certainly had the better of the first half with both Blair and Tom Blackwell both going close.

But Dan Turner put Brackley ahead in the 57th minute thanks to schoolboy defending at the back.

Six minutes later, the visitors added a second goal through Alex Gudger in a goalmouth scramble and it began to look as if there was no way back for the Iron.

But Blackwell's creativity on two occasions set up goals for new boy Herschel on 71 minutes and six minutes later, Davies deservedly scored his goal from close range to set up a close finish.

In the dying minutes of normal time the Iron kept plugging away forcing several corners.

And from one such set-piece on the right, the ball was headed out into the path of the unmarked Blair who volleyed home a first-time shot worthy of the goal of the season in any competition.

"I'm really pleased we won and in such a dramatic fashion," added Harrop.

"With no replay we now have a good week to work on and prepare for the visit of league leaders Bath City which will be another tough game but realistically all game are tough at this level."

Braintree's game against Bath City kicks off on Saturday at 3pm.