Thurlow Nunn League division one

Braintree Town Reserves stretched their unbeaten run into double figures as they drew 3-3 with Wisbech St Mary.

The Young Irons had won eight and drawn one of the previous nine games in Thurlow Nunn League division one, but while they stayed unbeaten, there was an air of frustration about this result.

They held a 2-0 lead at half-time after strikes from Alfie Cleal and Lewis Stantiall and held a two-goal lead at 3-1 after the break, however, they were pegged back by the visitors as they saw two points slip through their grasp.

Braintree started the game brightly and moved the ball quickly and effectively as they looked to spread the Wisbech defence by making use of wide areas in behind the visiting full-backs.

However, neither they nor the visitors were able to really get on top of the other in the opening minutes as clear cut chances proved hard to come by.

It was Wisbech who had the first good opportunity, though, and they were frustrated as a close-range header flew over the crossbar.

The Young Irons were soon finding their range, though.

They almost unlocked the Wisbech defence with a wonderful piece of skill by Lewis Stantiall as he dropped a shoulder and sold a dummy to three defenders, but the ball ran on to the visitors’ keeper before he could get a shot away.

A wonderful flowing move was then started by Alfie Cleal’s ball out to Joe Jones on the right and he found Jordan Sargent in the middle, but his shot ran agonisingly past the post.

However, they did go ahead from a 20th minute free-kick after Sargent had been scythed down wide on the right.

Regan Farley-Hearn’s delivery into the box fell to Cleal, who swivelled and fired into the net from close range to put Braintree ahead.

There was almost a quick response to the goal from Wisbech, though, as a ball across the six-yard box was met fired goalwards, however, they were thwarted by an outstanding point-blank save from Irons keeper Lewis Hawley.

Having nearly been pegged back, though, Braintree soon extended their lead to two goals.

Play switched to the other end and in the 25th minute, Stantiall’s skill with the ball at his feet was evident again as he waltzed into the Wisbech box and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

An entertaining end-to-end half continued with Hawley making another superb save to keep Braintree two goals ahead and that was how it stayed at the break as the hosts remained in control of the game.

That control was soon questioned after the restart, though, as it took Wisbech just three minutes of the second half to halve the deficit.

The goal came after an initial good stop by Hawley from a shot by Lewis Gibson, but Jack Mockford was on hand to turn the loose ball into the net.

It was a spur to the visitors, who began to claim more of the territory than they had seen in the first half, but Braintree saw off the pressure and hit back, with Jones firing in a shot that stung keeper Joe Simpson’s hands.

The two-goal lead was re-established on 64 minutes when a flowing move from the edge of their own box was finished when Cleal squared the ball to Jones, who made an excellent connection and slammed it into the back of the net.

Braintree appeared to be back in control, but they found themselves pegged back again on 70 minutes when an angled ball into the Irons area saw Wisbech striker Jack Friend get to the cross just ahead of Hawley and guide it in to make it 3-2.

It got worse for Braintree on 78 minutes, though, when Hawley unwisely came out to edge of his area to try to pick up a ball forward, but ended up fouling the onrushing attacker.

A penalty was quickly awarded to the visitors and Nick Davey confidently fired in the spot-kick to make the game level with ten minutes remaining.

Wisbech were now in the ascendancy and they peppered the Young Irons’ back line, with Davey firing a free-kick just past the post.

The closing stages were feisty as both sides battled for the winner and it looked like Friend would get it in stoppage-time when he was through one-on-one, but he fired wide of the target to leave it locked at three apiece at the final whistle.

Braintree Town Reserves: Lewis Hawley, Regan Farley-Hearn (Arran Dyson), Jack Martin, Jett Hogan, Tommy O’Keefe, Danny Nesbitt, Joe Jones, Mark Dallinger, Jordan Sargent, Alfie Cleal, Lewis Stantiall.