Vanarama National League South

For the fourth time in their last five Vanarama National League South games, Braintree Town were forced to settle for a point on their trip to Chippenham Town.

Apart from a sloppy opening minute, when they allowed their hosts to take the lead, the Iron dominated the game and looked set to build on their 4-0 win against East Thurrock United.

However, they were only able to record Reece Grant’s tenth minute effort in the ‘goals for’ column on this occasion as they had to settle for a point on the road.

There were no changes for the Iron’s starting line-up from the side that had seen off East Thurrock 4-0 seven days previously.

However, there was one alteration on the teamsheet, as Christian Frimpong was back on the bench, while Samir Bihmoutine was omitted after heading to Enfield Town on a loan deal.

Having kept a clean sheet against Thurrock, it was little surprise that the back line was unchanged and it was notable for being the fifth game in a row that the defensive unit had remained the same.

But it was quickly established that there would be no clean sheet on this occasion as Chippenham took the lead in the first minute of the game.

The Iron were caught napping as Jake Jackson capitalised on a loss of concentration to put the hosts ahead, but their lead lasted just nine minutes as parity was restored on ten minutes.

The equaliser came when Joe Ellul played a long ball forward that was misjudged by Chippenham keeper Jared Thompson and Grant was able to pounce and tap the ball into an empty net.

It was the response Braintree wanted to the early setback and they had chances to build on that as they became more dominant as the half moved on.

Some neat play between Marcel Barrington and Phil Roberts followed by a ball fired low across the home box almost gave Grant a chance to add to his and the Iron’s tally and a Billy Crook lobbed effort on 33 minutes went just over the bar.

Five minutes later, there was a shout for a Braintree penalty as Roberts went over in the home box, but referee Marc Whaley was unmoved and half-time came with the sides locked together at 1-1.

The second half began with both sides looking to get ahead and both keepers were in action to keep parity in place, with Nathan McDonald saving from close range from Chippenham’s Matt Smith.

It was Braintree who had the better of the chances, though.

On 57 minutes, Grant was just unable to control a ball into the centre by Roberts and fired over the bar and just past the hour mark, Ricky Gabriel’s cross forced Thompson into a save to prevent it finding the top corner of the goal.

Roberts then fired agonisingly wide with a shot from outside the box on 79 minutes and two minutes later, Luke Allen sent a free-kick was just off target as Braintree kept pushing for a winner.

Grant then forced Thompson into a great stop as the Iron kept pressing until the end and the home keeper was in equally fine form to save from Karl Oliyide as Braintree were denied a full three-point haul from their trip.

Braintree Town: Nathan McDonald, Ricky Gabriel, Jon Muleba, Joe Ellul, Marc-Anthony Okoye, Luke Allen, Billy Crook, Phil Robert, Reece Grant, Marcel Barrington, Roman Michael-Percil (Karl Oliyide 73).

Subs not used: Matt Baxter, Mahrez Bettache, Christian Frimpong, Ben Wyatt.

Referee: Marc Whaley.