AFTER the near misses in their last two matches, Braintree Town at last got the reward their efforts deserved when they took a valuable three points from a trip to Maidstone in the National League South on Tuesday, writes RON FOSKER.

Two goals in the first 30 minutes meant it was theirs to lose, but in contrast with their capitulation to Chelmsford at the beginning of the month, this time they dug in and hung on to their 2-0 lead.

Arjan Krasniqi put them ahead in the 18th minute with a beautifully-crafted free-kick from just outside the penalty area that evaded the defensive wall and landed in the corner of the net.

An own goal 12 minutes later helped to establish the position.

Iron had as usual made full use of Matt Johnson’s long throws and from one such the ball skimmed off the top of Scott Rendell’s head into the far side of the goal.

Apart from one occasion when George Porter squeezed through the defence on the right, bringing a good save from Jack Giddens, the home side had been effectively held at bay for the whole of the first half.

They were more attack-minded in the second period when they largely dominated possession but could do little with it despite forcing eight corners in the half.

It could have been a different story if any of their early second half attempts had found the net.

First Porter got free on the right but there was no one in the middle to convert his cross, then Giddens came out smartly to thwart Ibrahim Olutade and finally Giddens was called into action again to save from Zihni Temelci.

Iron continued at their tenacious best, denying the Stones any chance to settle on the ball and closed them down at every opportunity.

What was particularly notable was their continued energy in the final ten to 15 minutes, which never flagged whatever was thrown at them.

BRAINTREE TOWN: Jack Giddens; Marcus Johnson-Shuster, Ryan Scott, Ryan Henshaw, Nathan Smith; Johnville Renee, Jack Thomas, Matt Johnson, Arjan Krasniqi (Reece Prestedge 75), Correy Davidson (Ken Charles 88); Adam Yusuf (Tom Derry 80).