FA Trophy first round replay

Just as had been the case in the FA Cup, a trip to Brackley Town brought little joy for Braintree Town as they repeated the journey in the FA Trophy first round.

The Iron had lost 4-1 at the Vanarama National League North side in the FA Cup earlier in the season and while it wasn’t quite as heavy a loss in the Trophy, there was no solace to be found in a 2-0 defeat.

It was the third time that the two sides had met this year and the second in quick succession after they drew 0-0 at Braintree last weekend.

Both sides headed into the replay knowing that a visit by National League side Barrow AFC was the reward that awaited them in the second round if they could progress.

However, it will be to Brackley’s St James’ Park that the Cumbrians head rather than to Essex.

Braintree manager Brad Quinton said after Saturday’s game that he had changes in mind for the replay, but chose not to enforce them and instead kept faith with the side that started the first encounter.

It proved a wise decision in the early stages of the game as Braintree made a solid start and went close to opening the scoring after quarter of an hour.

A superb tackle in midfield by Ben Wyatt started an attack that saw Karl Oliyide power in a cross that dipped over Brackley keeper Danny Lewis and hit the home crossbar.

Phil Roberts then had the ball in the net as he curled in a shot only to be frustrated by a raised offside flag and the Iron striker then saw a goalbound effort deflected just wide of the target.

However, it wasn’t one-way traffic and the hosts showed they were a threat in front of goal as well.

Aaron Williams would have hoped to do better with a close-range header rather than sending it over the Iron bar and another effort found the side netting of Braintree’s goal as they hit the Iron on a dangerous break.

As it was, though, neither side was able to find the clinical edge required and half-time came with still nothing to separate the two teams.

It was a situation that remained for only six of the second-half minutes, though, as Braintree were punished for making a sluggish start after the break.

Having had Nathan McDonald already make one save to maintain parity, they fell behind when Matt Lowe rolled the ball in for an opening goal to break the deadlock and put Brackley ahead.

It was almost 2-0 but for a clearance off the line to deny Ben Tilney five minutes later but with Braintree unable to battle back, a second goal did eventually come for the hosts.

It came with 11 minutes left from a free-kick that saw Shane Byrne place the ball in the back of the net to double the hosts’ advantage and kill off Braintree’s hopes of progressing further in this year’s competition.

Braintree Town: Nathan McDonald; Mahrez Bettache (Dernell Wynter 81), Marc Okoye, Christian Frimpong, Ricky Gabriel, Ben Wyatt, Jon Muleba, Billy Crook; Phil Roberts, Roman Michael-Percil (Luke Allen 74), Karl Oliyide (Marcel Barrington 59). Subs not used: Osa Obamwonyi, Samir Bihmoutine.