New Iron manager appointed
Braintree Town have appointed Jamie Day as their new First Team Manager after agreeing terms at the Club this morning.
Jamie is, of course, well known to the Iron faithful having managed Welling United for five years up to 2014 and has subsequently managed Ebbsfleet United and been part of the successful Forest Green Rovers management team last season.
Still only 36, Jamie started his career at Arsenal, before moving on to AFC Bournemouth for a five figure fee in 1999.
He then enjoyed spells at Dover, Crawley and Welling as a player before taking over as player manager in 2009.
In his first season, Jamie led Welling to sixth place in the Conference South, missing out on the play-off places by one point.
A third-place finish at the end of the 2011-12 season saw Day lead Welling to the Conference South play-off places. His side defeated Sutton United in the play-off semi-finals, before losing to Dartford in the play-off final.
The following 2012-13 campaign however saw Day guide Welling to promotion to the Conference National as Conference South champions.
We hope to organise a 'Meet the Manager' evening in June - watch this space!
Ticket prices SLASHED!
That's right folks, ticket prices for season 2016/17 have been agreed.
Having finished third in the National League at the end of last season and enjoyed record-breaking crowds as we reached the play-offs for promotion, the Club wanted to reward the regular Iron fans with some cracking season ticket deals to back the Iron lads in 2016/2017.
Thanks to the generous sponsorship of both our Community Iron and our affiliated BTFC Youth club, we are able to extend the previously discounted deals for season tickets for the coming campaign.
Not only will we be able to offer FREE (that's right folks - they don't come cheaper than FREE!) season tickets to all under 18s for next season, we are now able to offer BIG (and boy do we mean BIG!) discounts for adult and concession season tickets!
Yes you read it right! Limited to the first 100 applicants, the prices of Braintree Town FC season tickets have been slashed!
Adult seat season tickets have been reduced from the early bird discounted price of £306 to just £160 - that's less than £7 per game!
Ground season tickets have also been cut, to just £150, or £6.50 a game!
Concessions get whopping great big discounts too! A concession seat season ticket has been halved to just £110 - less than £4.80 a game, while the Ground concession season ticket has been slashed to just £100 - or £4.35 a game.
But you need to get in quick! This is a limited offer, for the first 100 applicants! If you would like to reap the benefit of this sensational price, e-mail your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org NOW.
Your name will then be added to the list of lucky Iron fans able to take advantage of these AMAZING discounted prices when we start taking orders for season tickets on Thursday, 9th June.
Details will follow for those under 18s wishing to secure their FREE season tickets - so watch this space!
Braintree to visit Lowestoft
Iron have agreed their fifth pre-season friendly. Braintree will send the first team squad to visit Ryman Leaguers Lowestoft Town on Saturday, 23rd July, with kick-off at 3pm.
Admission to watch is free
England C manager, Paul Fairclough, has named a 16-man squad for the International Challenge Trophy match against the holders, Slovakia Under 21, which is to be played at Sutton United FC on Sunday 5 June at 2.00pm. Included in the squad are Iron favourites Sam Habergham and Alex Woodyard. The full squad is as follows:
Brandon Hall (gk) (Ebbsfleet United), Jamie Butler (gk) (Hemel Hempstead Town), Sam Habergham (Braintree Town), James Bolton (FC Halifax Town), Ben Heneghan (Chester), Sean Raggett (Dover Athletic), Jack Holland (Bromley), Jake Gallagher (Aldershot Town FC), Alex Woodyard (Braintree Town), Dan Wishart (Sutton United), Jon Leesley (Alfreton Town), John Goddard (Swindon Town), Elliott Whitehouse (Nuneaton Town), Dayle Southwell (Boston United), Omar Bogle (Grimsby Town) and Jordan Williams (Barrow).
Admission to the game is free.
Club hope to make an announcement by the weekend
The Club have drawn up a short list of applicants, will commence a series of interviews this week for the vacant manager's job and hope to be in a position to announce the appointment by Saturday.
Chairman Lee Harding was please with the calibre of applicant. "The Club have received a wide range of applicants from those having experience at clubs in the Football League and our own division through to youngsters successful on football computer games! We are looking for ambitious manager with experience of being involved at our level of the game or above. Those on our short list all benefit from this and I look forward to talking with them over the next few days to assess their suitability to work with us."
Iron return to Ram Meadow
Iron have agreed their fourth pre-season friendly. Braintree will send the first team squad to visit Ryman Leaguers Bury Town on Tuesday, 12th July, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Stadium site retains residential allocation
Braintree Town Football Club welcomes the unanimous decision of Braintree District Council, at its recent Local Plan Sub-Committee meeting on Monday 9th May, to retain the previous 2014 site allocation for residential use for the Club's existing stadium site, together with the adjacent land that is currently used as the Club's training ground.
A key part of Braintree District Council's new Local Plan is to produce a site allocations map for each defined settlement within the District. This map sets out key data for that area, including development boundary, conservation area, areas allocated for development and areas protected for specific uses such as open space, allotments or employment.
As part of the draft Local Plan, the allocations and development boundary for each town and village in the District have been reviewed. This review has included ensuring that the development boundary is in the correct location and making an assessment of the sites submitted in the Call for Sites as potential development options.
The possible development of the Football Club's land for residential use would help the Club contribute significantly towards the cost of the planned new community stadium.
Chairman Lee Harding welcomed the support of Cllr Lady Newton at the meeting: "This is good news for the Football Club. We are continuing to work with Braintree District Council to deliver an affordable new stadium that would secure not only the Club's long term future, but also provide a stadium that could be developed further to meet the Club's long-term aspirations of promotion to the Football League.
"That said, we also wish to be good neighbours and leave a lasting legacy should we relocate. So I also agree with Cllr Lady Newton that, were the Football Club to move, our existing site could provide a good opportunity to improve and develop further our part of Braintree."
Braintree Town are on the look out for a new manager after Danny and Nicky Cowley resigned on Thursday evening.
Chairman Lee Harding was disappointed with the news: "Yes, it's a shame for us but, first of all, I would like to thank both Danny and Nicky for their efforts throughout their year at our Club. What they have achieved with the players has been remarkable. But it seems the offer of a £500,000 playing budget and full time status has proved to be too good for them to turn down. I think it is an incredibly brave decision on their parts, but I really do hope it works out for them - they are good people.
"Our thoughts now to turn to closer to home and we now seek applicants for the management role at the Avanti Stadium. The past twelve months have proved that part-time clubs and, in particular, Braintree Town can compete in this division. History shows us that some clubs chose to flirt with their financial futures in a desperate scramble to secure promotion to the Football League, but we prefer to build our Club on and off the pitch on more solid foundations.
"The windfall we have received from the play-offs will allow us to further improve both our playing budget and playing surface over the coming months and I now look forward to selecting the next manager of the Club to continue our push towards our ultimate ambition."
Three home games against League opposition
Braintree Town have agreed three pre-season matches for July.
Iron will welcome League One sides Southend United on Saturday 16th July and Gillingham three days later on Tuesday 19th July.
Next for Iron will be a final 'full-dress rehearsal' for Iron the week before the season starts against League Two side Cambridge United on Saturday, 30th July, with kick-off at 3pm.
Disputed penalty and extra time winner deny Iron
Braintree Town's Vanarama National League promotion hopes came to an end for another season in front of the biggest crowd seen at the Avanti Stadium for 64 years on Sunday.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg at Grimsby on Thursday, Iron looked to be dealing with all that the visitors could throw at them until conceding a 75th minute penalty, which Grimsby Town striker Padraig Amond despatched past Iron keeper Tom King.
Iron had their chances during the game but hopes were dented further when influential centre half Mark Phillips was dismissed for a second caution, dictating that Braintree had to battle through the thirty minutes of time added on with just ten men.
Grimsby finally made their man advantage count after 110 minutes when Omar Bogle headed home to send the North Lincolnshire club through to Wembley next Sunday.
Chairman Lee Harding paid tribute to the substantial Braintree support: "It was great to see the home parts of the ground full and to hear our vocal support echoing around the ground. It's been another great season for the Club as we continue to build and grow towards our ultimate ambition. We now take a break, rest and get ready for the pre-season friendlies which start in July (Saturday 16th) with the visit of Southend United. We hope to announce season and match ticket details over the next few days, together with other friendly matches as they are agreed."
Still tickets left - but get 'em quick!
Tickets for Sunday's Vanarama National League Promotion Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg at home to Grimsby Town will continue to be on sale today (Saturday) from the Club Ticket Office 12 noon through to 6pm, or until the Club sell out of their allocation of tickets!
As at the start of ticket sales on Saturday, the Club have just a handful of unsold seat tickets remaining and these will probably be sold very quickly. Any supporter hopeful of securing one of these last remaining seat tickets should be at the Ticket Office at 12 noon.
There are plenty of terrace tickets remaining for the game, but supporters are recommended to attend earlier, rather than later, to ensure that they do not miss out. Ticket price information is as below.
The Club Shop will also be open adjacent to the Ticket Office for all your Iron shirts, scarves and merchandise for tomorrow's match.
Limited car parking
With BT Sport and a substantial police presence for the game, the Club Car Park is likely to fill up very quickly and will, in any case, be closed at 2pm. Supporters wishing to park are therefore advised to arrive early for the game or use either public transport or park considerately locally and walk to the stadium.
Tickets - have them ready!
All spectators will have their tickets checked before being allowed into the stadium car park and, again, to ensure that they are entering the appropriate segregated part of the stadium. Please ensure you enter the correct part of the ground - as failure to do so will be a breach of Ground rules and could lead to ejection.
When can we get in?
Turnstiles will open at 1pm and a souvenir full colour programme will be on sale £3.
Fancy a beer?
The Iron Clubhouse will be open from 1pm and those wishing to enter the away segregated area of the Stadium may wish to use The Orange Tree Public House 300 yards from the ground in Cressing Road. A reminder that no alcohol will be permitted in the stadium terraces and stands.
We hope you all enjoy your day at the Avanti Stadium!
Slender lead in the play-offs
A superbly taken 53rd minute penalty by skipper Kenny Davis set the Iron on their way to a single-goal win in the first leg of the Vanarama National League play-off semi-final first leg at Blundell Park on Thursday evening giving them a slender one goal advantage for the second leg at the Avanti Stadium this Sunday.
The vital goal came when Simeon Akinola was jinking his way through the home defence only to be brought down by Josh Gowling giving referee John Brooks no hesitation in awarding the Iron a penalty.
Once in front the Iron had to put up a determined rearguard action to stop the home side from equalising and it took a fine reaction save from Iron keeper Tom King to deny Padraig Amond a goal and a superb defensive clearance by Matt Fry to see them home.
But the Iron stood firm to a man and returned home with a win setting up a tantalising second leg game.
It was the second time within a month the Iron have overcome the odds to go to Blundell Park and win by the odd goal but manager Dan Cowley was full of praise for his side after this latest victory claiming that in terms of concentration they "have raised it to another level."
He went on: "I thought our work rate and pitch coverage was excellent, our physicality and our willingness to put bodies on the line was great but the thing I was most pleased about was with our concentration levels.
"We found a new level in that area and our focus was excellent and that's great from a manager's point of view," he continued. "But the job is only half done, we're only 1-0 up at half-time and we are just half way up the mountain but we are all pleased with tonight's performance."
The home side made have had the lion share of possession in the game but it was the Iron players' resilience and never-say-die attitude and commitment that played a big part in this victory as it has for the bulk of the season.
"We knew the first 20 minutes would be crucial and we managed that period well which would be of great help to us," he continued. "Grimsby constantly asked us questions so we had to be on our guard and had to try and contain them at time which we did.
"They have goals throughout their team and they are a real threat but I was really pleased how well we defended, particularly when they put a lot of pressure on us to try and get an equaliser," he explained. "In that second half they had one or two chances and Tom (King) had to make a few good saves but we rode our luck and kept another clean sheet."
The game, watched by a crowd of 5,189 which included 82 Iron supporters, had a great atmosphere and Cowley felt the home supporters really got behind their team adding: "It was a fantastic atmosphere and although our fans were outnumbered about 80 to one they could be heard above the din and again did us proud on the night."
It was the Iron's 24th clean sheet of the season and Cowley was full of praise for skipper Davis keeping his cool and slotting home that crucial penalty.
"Kenny was excellent and he didn't put a pass out of place all evening and he controlled the game in midfield as he does," said Cowley. "He is so composed and he helps everyone around him with his coolness."
On the penalty decision Cowley felt the referee was exactly right adding: "The foul was right on the line and credit to the referee who had to be brave in front of that big home crowd to give the right decision."
In the first half it was the Iron who looked the more dangerous side with Davis, Akinola, Michael Cheek, Mitch Brundle all going close with chances and even defender Matt Fry almost broke the deadlock on 33 minutes with a shot following a corner but the ball was somehow scrambled away.
Once in front the Iron had to defend for length periods and they did in such an outstanding manner that any neutrals watching the game would have been impressed by their work ethic and commitment for each other.
So it turned out to be another great night for the Iron who fully deserved their lead going into the second leg.
Braintree Town: King; Long, Fry, Phillips, Habergham; Brundle, Paine, Davis Woodyard; Cheek (Marks 76), Akinola (Sparkes 83). Unused subs: Clerima.
Sunday, 8th May, kick-off 3pm
Braintree Town's Vanarama National League Promotion Play-Off Semi Final Second Leg will take place on Sunday 8th May with kick-off at 3pm. This match will be ALL TICKET, with NO cash entry available at the turnstiles on the day. Segregation WILL be in force. The game will be a category 'A' match. Given the larger than usual crowd expected for this match, spectators are advised to be inside the ground by 2.30pm. Prices for the match will be as follows:
Seats adults £18, Seats concessions £12
Ground adults £17, Ground OAPs and concessions £11
Ground U16s £6 and Ground U11s £4
Please note as this match is a play-off match, season tickets are not valid for this game.
Braintree Town supporters can purchase their tickets from the Ticket Office.
Ticket sales will initially be restricted to Braintree Town season ticket holders only on Friday, 6th May for a one hour priority period from 12 noon - 1pm. Season Ticket holders should bring their season tickets with them when purchasing tickets during the priority period.
Any season ticket holder unable to attend during the priority period, but wishing to reserve a ticket, will be able to do so via e-mail to: email@example.com. These tickets will then be held for collection until 3pm on Saturday. If the tickets are not collected by that time, they will be released for general sale.
Tickets will go on general sale on Friday, 6th May from 1pm - 7pm and on Saturday, 7th May from 12 noon - 6pm.
Tickets for Grimsby Town supporters will be available from Grimsby Town FC from this evening. No tickets for visiting supporters will be available from Braintree Town FC.
To gain entry to the ground, visiting spectators should use the two turnstiles to the right of the Main Stand and clubhouse, numbered 7 and 8. Home spectators should use the four turnstiles to the left on the clubhouse, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. Any spectators found in the incorrect section of the stadium will be in breach of the Club's stadium rules and may be ejected.
The Club are mindful of the limited parking we have available at the ground. Following the advice received from Essex Police, the Club have decided to charge for entry into the car park - with a flat rate of £2 for all users. Essex Police have also suggested that the car park be closed prior to kick-off to ensure that there is no congestion between pedestrian spectators and vehicles. No vehicles will be allowed entry into the car park within one hour prior to kick-off.
Those travelling to the Cressing Road Stadium for the first time can find more information on how best to travel by clicking on the 'Find Us' link above. The Clubhouse at the Cressing Road Stadium can only be accessed from inside the designated home section of the ground. For further information, please contact the Club on 01376 345617 or 01376 330976.
Watching the game at Grimsby
We have now been advised of the arrangements that will apply for tickets for the Vanarama National League Promotion Play-Off Semi Final First Leg.
The gates at Blundell Park will open at 6pm.
Grimsby are allocating a maximum of 586 seats for Braintree Town fans Ð in the Osmond Stand Covered Corner.
These will only be available on-line at http://www.grimsby-townfc.co.uk/tickets.
Please note there is a 50p admin fee applied to each ticket sold on-line.
Tickets will be for collection only from the GTFC ticket office until 6pm on Thursday and then from Harrington Street turnstiles 15-18 after 6pm.
Prices are as follows:
£10 OAPs (65+), Young Adults (15-18)
£4 Accompanied Juniors (14 & under)
£6 Unaccompanied Juniors (14 & Under)
Away & Home against Grimsby
Braintree Town's first leg of the Vanarama National League Promotion Play-Off Semi-Final is at Grimsby Town on Thursday, 5th May, kick off 7pm, with the second leg at the Avanti Stadium on Sunday, 8th May, kick off 3pm. More news will follow over the next few days!
Cheeks & Brundle score the goals against Alty
IRON made club history by making it into the National League play-offs for the first time and finishing third - their highest ever league position - after a thoroughly professional performance at the Avanti Stadium on Saturday which, sadly, dictated the visitors were relegated.
The manner of the Iron victory, thanks to a brace from Michael Cheek and one from Mitch Brundle, was typical of the side's consistent performance all season where they showed great team spirit and workmanship taking the game to their visitors from start to finish.
The result left manager Dan Cowley almost speechless for the first time this season when he said: "I can't really believe it - we've made it over the line and finished third - itÔs a fairytale and quite amazing.
"There aren't many things that shock me in football but I can't believe actually that we've done as well as we have done," he continued. "We're all pleased to have got over the line because it's been a very long and hard last week as people as you can imagine.
"I just can't say how much I am really proud of that group of boys because they have worked so hard all season overcoming all kinds of obstacles on the way so it's pleasing to see them get the success that their hard work deserves," Cowley explained.
"The game plan today was to make sure we had a good start and took control of the game in the first 20 minutes and that's exactly what we did," he declared. "We wanted an aggressive mindset and wanted to immediately get on the front foot and we did that scoring a great goal through Cheeky.
"We could then settle down and control the game to the end which did in a really professional way," he continued. "With the pressure the players were under I though to a man they were excellent and it was another outstanding performance."
He added: "Some people think we always do better against the bigger, better and full-time, high profile teams but we showed today that when the pressure is on us and we may be favourites to win the players can still cope with that and play to the level that we can do."
He added: "Again that was pleasing and it showed it was another question answered."
Vocally supported by a crowd of 1,803 - the highest home attendance of the season - and in front of a live BT television audience Iron put on a master class display with every player knowing what they had to do to achieve a play-off spot.
Dominating from the first whistle the Iron swamped the visitors' rearguard and the only surprise was that it took 17 minutes to score their first goal.
It stemmed down the left wing where Sim Akinola, who tormented the visitors all afternoon with his mazy runs, escaped defenders and his low cross was met at the far post by the on-rushing Cheek who forced the ball home past keeper Adam Griffin.
Both Brundle, Kenny Davis, Akinola and Cheek again all went so close to adding a second goal.
It finally came three minutes from the interval when the ever industrious Brundle worked his way down the right wing and crossed the ball to Cheek who half-volleyed it into the net.
Neither goals were classics but they counted as Cheek said afterwards: "They were a bit scruffy but I don't mind because they ended up in the net and I'm always on the look out for any chances from close range."
Two goals up at the break and well in control the Iron needed that third goal to effectively kill off any hopes the visitors had of a comeback and it duly came on 63 minutes thanks again to the tenacious midfielder Brundle.
It was all created down the left wing by another jinking run by Akinola, who left three defenders in his wake, ran down and cut in from the byline only to see his initial shot on goal charged down but the ever alert Brundle was on hand to stroke the loose ball home from close range past the hapless keeper Griffin.
It was no more than the Iron deserved as they continued to push forward for a fourth goal and as the final minutes ticked away they had chances too against a now completely demoralised visitors who had known at the start they had to win the game to stand any chance of staying up.
At the final whistle the Iron fans celebrated as did the players who finally realised that they had created Club history and can now look forward to the play-offs with no pressure on the team.
All the players performed excellently and were all 'man of the match' but at the post game presentations on the pitch the players' player of the year award went to a shocked Alec Woodyard who without doubt as been one of the most consistent performers all season.
"I'm quite shocked because I didn't expect that," he said. "But although I am pleased it's been a real team effort by all the players from start to finish.
"It's a miracle really - little old Braintree Town up there third in the league - but I thought we were excellent today because we were direct, broke the play up when needed and got the ball forward quickly," he explained. "I think at times it was the best we've played all season and going into the play-offs you couldn't have asked form us to be in better form either."
Braintree Town: King; Long, Phillips, Fry, Habergham; Brundle, Paine, Davis (Miles 75), Woodyard; Akinola (Sparkes 78), Cheek (Marks 65), Unused subs: Cardwell, Clerima. Attendance: 1,803. Referee: Ollie Yates (Newcastle).
Tickets available on Tuesday and Thursday evening
For those wishing to avoid the queues to pay on Saturday (and use the ticket holders turnstiles 5 & 6) tickets will now be available for cash only purchase in advance on both Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7.30pm - 9pm in the Clubhouse at the Avanti Stadium.
Category C prices for the final day
For our final Vanarama National League fixture against Altrincham on Saturday, 30th April, segregation will NOT be in force. This game will NOT be all ticket. All spectators are reminded that this match kicks-off at 5.30pm.
However, with both sides needing points from the game, a larger than usual attendance is expected for the match.
Adult admission prices for the ground for this match have been reduced to just £15 and this game will therefore be a Category C fixture. All admission prices for this match can be found by clicking the 'Tickets' link above.
The Club will be opening additional turnstiles from 3.30pm on Saturday. For those wishing to avoid the queues to pay on the day (and use the ticket holders turnstiles 5 & 6) tickets will be available for cash only purchase in advance on Thursday evening from 7.30pm - 9pm in the Clubhouse at the Avanti Stadium.
Anyone wishing to sit should purchase their seat ticket either on Thursday evening or at the turnstile when they enter the ground - there will be no cash transactions within the ground for upgrades to seats.
To gain entry to the ground, ticket and season ticket holders should use gates 5 and 6. Those spectators wishing to pay on the day should use the four turnstiles to the left of the clubhouse, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The Club are mindful of the limited parking we have available at the ground. Following the advice received from Essex Police, the Club have decided to charge for entry into the car park - with a flat rate of just £2 for all users. Essex Police have also suggested that the car park be closed prior to kick-off to ensure that there is no congestion between pedestrian spectators and vehicles. As a result, no vehicles will be allowed entry into the car park after 5pm.
The Clubhouse at the Avanti Stadium will be open to all spectators and access is from inside the ground.
Those travelling to the Avanti Stadium for the first time can find more information on how best to travel by clicking on the 'Find Us' link above.
For further information, please contact the Club on 01376 345617 or 01376 330976 or via e-mail to braintreeTFC@aol.com.
Play-off hopes go down to the final day
Braintree edged to within one point of the National League play-offs after a fine 3-2 win at the Racecourse Stadium on Saturday with a team performance that manager Dan Cowley described as "incredible where every player worked their socks off for 90 minutes."
The victory puts Iron in fifth place with 78 points and with sixth place Eastleigh losing at home to Tranmere Rovers, leaving both those teams on 75 points, Iron still need a point from their final game at home to Altrincham on Saturday to reach the play-offs.
"We know what we have to do, nobody is getting carried away," said Cowley. "This game against a top quality full-time side was really hard and we knew we would have to weather their pressure when they came back strongly against us.
"But despite going behind after taking such an early first half lead, I know this group of players and that they would come back again and keep their composure," said Cowley. "It was an incredible effort from all the players who showed tremendous work rate from the first whistle.
"They worked their socks off and to come to such an imposing former Football League ground in front of a decent crowd of fervent fans with vocal support, the players put in a fantastic performance," he continued. "They had to dig deep at times and they certainly did and it was also good to hear our supporters in such vocal support, particularly in the second half when we were defending hard yet pushing hard for a winner and the players really appreciated it."
The Iron started with the same starting line up at Gateshead last week and had the best possible start taking the lead on three minutes when Michael Cheek raced through on goal beating defender Jamal Fyfield to fire a shot low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
But on 11 minutes the home side where level when poor Iron defending allowed a free-kick into their area to be headed home by Simon Heslop and it looked like going from bad to worse on 38 minutes when Iron skipper Kenny Davis fouled Connor Jennings outside the left side of the Iron area.
The kick was taken by defender Lee Fowler who drove it low into the Iron penalty box where the ball evaded everyone ending up in the far corner of the net in what for Braintree was a poor goal to give away.
Undeterred, Iron fought back and both Cheek and Mitch Brundle immediately went close to equalising but the Braintree equaliser did come, crucially, two minutes before half time - when they swept up field and Davis created a half chance for Sim Akinola. His shot was blocked and the ball ran kindly to Cheek who wasted no time in driving the ball low past keeper Rhys Taylor.
It was just the half-time tonic Iron needed and they came out in the second half to dominated most of the game and Cheek, Davis, Miles and defender Mark Phillips all went close.
Again the Iron defence coped with a series of sporadic home attacks and on the counter attack they always looked the more dangerous and of the two sides the one likely to find the net.
Twice Brundle went close with shots just wide of the upright, but the 21 year-old was not to be denied his glory of scoring the winning goal for the second week running.
It came on 81 minutes when again the ever industrious Davis seized on a chance to move over the half way line to lay the ball into the on-running Brundle who calmly evaded two chasing defenders to fire a great right-foot shot into the top right-hand corner of the home net, giving keeper Taylor no chance.
It was no more than Iron deserved particularly for their persistence and never-say-die attitude throughout the game and despite the home side throwing everyone forward in the dying minutes the Braintree rearguard held firm and deservedly returned home with the three points.
So it's all down to next Saturday's final home game of the season again Altrincham (note the kick off is 5.30pm like all National League games on the day).
Braintree Town: King; Long, Fry, Phillips, Habgerham; Brundle, Miles (Paine 60), Davis, Woodyard (Sparkes 68); Akinola, Cheek (Cardwell 74). Unused subs: Clerima, Edgar. Attendance: 4,507 (including 79 from Braintree). Referee: Adrian Holmes.
Successive victories see Iron move up
IRON eased themselves back up into the play-off places with a grafting performance which gave them a deserved win at the International Athletic Stadium on Saturday after which manager Dan Cowley admitted his side were "dead on their feet at the end."
"I have to be honest and say although we deserved our win it was a really hard game for the players who in the second half were clearly tired and suffering from our exhaustive recent schedule of games," he explained. "We're not complaining but as a part-time outfit it has caught up with them - in reality at least five of our players were obviously only about 70 per cent on their game on the day.
"But again they all showed so much determination and sheer guts to get us a result which was so important and is why we are where we are," Cowley continued. "The players are tired but nobody is moaning because we knew it was going to be tough coming here and getting a result.
"In the first half although we had a great start scoring in the fourth minute I wasn't happy with the way we were allowing them to get crosses in when we normally close down so well," he said. "Which is why I was disappointed with the way we gave the equalising goal away and again in the second half when we allowed them to score again which was down to an individual mistake."
But Cowley was full of praise for the way his players responded to their half time talk adding: "We sorted it out, scored a vital third goal within a couple of minutes of the restart and that set us on the way to victory but I knew it would be harder for our players in the latter part of the second half because they were tired - although in the end I still think we were well in control and ran out worthy winners."
The Iron hero on the day was young Taylor Miles, starting the game in place of the injured Chez Isaac, who produced two stunning strikes that set Iron on their way to victory.
He opened the scoring on four minutes with one of his now customary trademark free-kicks from outside the area which sailed over the wall into the top right corner of the net giving home keeper Sam Russell no chance.
But the 46 Irons fans in the 588 crowd were soon shocked when the home side equalised on 13 minutes when Heed defender Ben Clark was allowed time and space from a left wing corner to drill a low right shot home from just inside the area.
Then three minutes later the Iron were back in front when Miles again found space to drove home a right foot shot low in the bottom corner of the net to restore his side's lead.
Iron continued to press forward as they overran their hosts and first Mark Phillips headed a goal bound effort which was scrambled away before Cheek almost foiled keeper Russell with another good effort.
The clearly demoralised home side suffered another blow on 34 minutes when Cheek raced through and was clear on goal with a one-on-one with Russell when he was brought down from behind crashing to the ground by James Curtis just inside the area.
Sadly for the Iron referee Steven Rushton, rightly showing a red card to Curtis but although it was clearly a penalty the man in the middle declared it was on the actual line but the resultant Miles free-kick this time just dropped over the bar.
Right on half time Sim Akinola, back in the Iron side from injury, saw two goal bound shots hurried cleared by the home defence as the Iron continued to dominate.
The second half saw the ideal start for the Iron with Mitch Brundle charging through the home defence on the right before delivering a great low right-foot shot into the net that gave Russell not chance.
Three minutes later Brundle had an almost identical shot heading towards the net but somehow Russell managed to get a hand to it to push it around the post.
Despite being down to 10 men the home side rallied and they pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when a right wing cross was poorly defended by Iron, allowing Alex Whitemore to stab the ball into the net from close range.
But any hope the home side, who are full-time players, had to salvaging something from the game quickly eroded with the some fresh legs coming on as substitute for the Iron, most notably the influential Matt Paine (76 minutes) welcomed back after injury who immediately slotted into his customary midfield role bringing much needed stability to the his side.
From then on until the final whistle the Iron players although clearly tiring remained in controlled and picked up another vital three points.
Afterwards goal scoring hero Miles said: "I was really confident that I would score from the free-kick although Sam (Habergham) was with me and wanted to take it but I said he couldn't and that was that!
"The second goal came because although I had a defender in front of me I could see an open space down the bottom right hand side and the keeper nowhere so I went for it and scored," he explained. "I should have scored from the other free-kick I had before half-time but the wall moved just as I was about to kick it - anyway it should have been a penalty in the first place because Cheeky was well inside the area when he was brought down."
Cowley, commenting on his young goal scoring hero, said: "I've said before he is rather special and has now scored three excellent goals in two games. I have underused him perhaps which is my fault and you learn from that, and he is still so young but he is maturing fast and I think will develop into a tremendous all-round footballer."
The Iron now head off to Wrexham on Saturday and Cowley added: "We know that will again be another tough game but we're still in the mix and have nothing to lose and everything to gain so there's no pressure on us.
"Whatever happens now we can say we have had an outstanding season and know what we are capable of," concluded Cowley. "I am really proud of the boys because to do what we have done, particularly in the recent hectic schedule of games and being part-time, has been remarkable."
This Iron wins gives them 75 points for the season - the highest since being promoted five years ago.
Braintree Town: King; Long, Fry, Phillips, Habergham; Brundle, Woodyard, Davis (Powell 72), Miles (Payne 76); Akinola, Cheek (Cardwell 77). Unused subs: Marks, Edgar. Referee: Steven Rushton (Stoke-on-Trent). Attendance: 588 (including 48 travelling Iron fans).
Taylor-made finish earns three points at Grimsby
Iron pulled off a fantastic win at Brundell Park on Tuesday evening and with it three vital points in keeping them in contention for the play-offs.
It was a thoroughly professional performance by the Iron from start to finish with a solid defensive display, creativity in midfield and persistent pressure in attack and they never gave the home side gain a look-in from the first to the last whistle.
The crucial winning goal came on 77 minutes when striker Michael Cheek typified the Iron players' never-say-die attitude when he chased and hassled two home defenders down near the right wing corner flag on what looked like a lost cause.
He managed though to help squeeze the ball out through two defenders to substitute Taylor Miles nearby and he raced clear along the byline before calmly sliding the ball between the legs of keeper Jame McKeown and into the net.
It was no more than the Iron deserved because they had taken the game to their hosts from the start, pressurised them into mistakes and overall controlled the game for long periods.
The result and performance left manager Dan Cowley a delighted man, describing it about the best performance of the season from his side adding: "It was a great team performance from all the boys who were all excellent.
"We came with a set game plan to be compact with no gaps and to give a cohesive display and forcing them from our defence back into their half and not letting them gain a foothold on the game," he explained. "We did that for the whole game and the players never gave up.
"We were down to the bare bones of a squad too with both Sim Akinola and Sean Marks unfit with groin injuries but again the players as a group showed what great character and resilience they have," he said.
With the back four defenders, led by another exceptional performance from both central defenders Mark Phillips and Matt Fry, and they controlled the midfield all evening with Kenny Davis, Mitch Brundle and Alex Woodyard preventing the home side from all too often breaking out to attack.
"We needed to keep the right balance throughout the side, which we did expertly, and then put them under pressure so as to frustrate them all evening," Cowley added. "Yes, it was a good performance but we mustn't get excited or carried away with it - our focus is now for a repeat performance at Gateshead on Saturday."
The Iron started the game at a fast pace forcing four corners within the first six minutes forcing the home defence on each occasion to scramble the ball away to safety.
Of the 74th minute substitution in bringing on Miles the manager admitted: "On reflection I should have perhaps brought him on a little earlier because he has so much energy and pace.
"He chases lost causes as he did when he came on and it resulted in him scoring a great goal - that's the third time this season he has come on and scored vital and great individual goals," Cowley said. "He won the ball from Michael's hassling and sprinted clear and he only had one objective in mind and that was to put the ball in the back of the net and it was an excellent finish."
But for some inconsistent finishing early by the Iron they could have scored more than one goal because they were that superior over the home side, sitting third in the table but who looked jaded at times, while their players were unable to cope with the Iron players' constant passing and pressure.
It was not until the third minute of four minutes added stoppage time after the 90 minutes that the home side created any real threat in the Iron defence when in a goalmouth scramble the ball clipped the top of the Iron crossbar before going behind.
It would have been an injustice had the home side scrambled a last minute equaliser because overall the Iron were the better team and deserved all three points.
Braintree Town: King; Long, Fry, Phillips, Habergham; Isaac (Miles 74), Davis, Woodyard, Sparkes (Edgar 79); Brundle, Cheek. Unused subs: Marks, Haigh, Powell. Attendance: 3,010 (including 28 Iron supporters). Referee: Mr P Jones.
Next up for Iron is a trip to Gateshead this coming Saturday, 16th April, with kick-off at 3pm.
Four to play and Iron still in the play-off mix
Braintree Town maintained their strong chase for a play-off place with a workmanlike performance that earned them a draw while all but ending the visitors' outside chance of winning the championship outright.
A stirring, dominating second half performance from the Iron also saw them nearly snatch all three points but for the woodwork and three outstanding saves by visiting keeper Steve Arnold.
A return to form after three successive defeats for the Iron delighted manager Dan Cowley who felt their much improved second half display in which they created all the attacking danger in the visitors' area should have seen them win the game.
"We had our game plan set out from the start and knew what to expect from what is a really good side with lots of experience and full-time too," he said. "We obviously didn't want to give an early goal away, as at Barrow in midweek, but keep out shape and discipline and not give anything away certainly pressing them hard for the first two-thirds of the match.
"We knew they would then start to try and open up the game more, push more men forward which they did because they were desperate to win," he continued. "But as the second half went on we controlled the game had a couple of chances which saw the ball cleared off their goal line and their keeper made two excellent saves to keep them in the game."
But Cowley again praised his side's 'never say die' attitude adding: "I know they are an honest and hard working group of players and despite being tired from our two long journeys for games in the previous week still showed so much character and resilience in this match against a truly top side."
He added: "I am really proud of them and they will all go again this next week with two more tough away games at Grimsby and then Gateshead."
The visitors certainly started this game strongly, moving the ball swiftly around causing the usually reliable Iron defence a few problems early on but on the counter attack both Sim Akinola and Chez Isaac were denied goal chances by last ditch defending from the visitors.
The breakthrough came in the Iron's favour on 34 minutes when Akinola slipped the ball out to the right where visiting defender James Jennings missed his interception allowing Isaac to skip through into the area where he was literally flattened by Jennings who was trying to make amends for his mistake.
Up stepped Iron skipper Kenny Davis to slot the ball home from the penalty spot but the Iron's lead only lasted three minutes when the visitors swept up field and a left wing cross was nodded down by the experienced Jon Parkin and the loose ball conveniently fell straight to the feet of Darren Carter who drove home giving Iron keeper Tom King no chance.
The visitors with their renewed confidence pushed forward and it took a fine save from King in added on first half stoppage time to stop Charlie Clough from scoring.
The second half though saw the Iron more in the ascendancy as they dominated the game more giving the visitors no real clearcut goal scoring chances.
On the hour Isaac fired a good shot goal ward but straight at keeper Arnold who also did well to collect a Mitch Brundle free-kick from the top right hand corner of his goal when a goal looked certain.
Two minutes later Iron's best chance of the game came when substitute Michael Cheek chased a loose ball into the visitors' area, beat and rounded keeper Arnold only to see his acute right angled shot heading into the net just cleared off the line by Clough.
The Iron kept up the pressure on the visitors' struggling defence and on 77 minute the industrious Brundle, having one of his best games for the club, saw his first time header from an Isaac free-kick hit the bar and rebound to be kicked clear by a grateful visiting defence.
By now the visitors had made their three substitutes and were playing with five forwards in a bid to snatch a late winner but the Iron defence, expertly marshalled by Matt Fry and Mark Phillips, deservedly held out.
There was almost late drama in the game when first Akinola and then Cheek forged into the visitors' area with two possible scoring chances only to be halted by some last minute desperate defending.
The visitors' manager Ady Pennock admitted after the game that their chances of winning the championship had finally gone adding: "We knew it would be tough coming here because they are a well organised, well drilled side that defends well but we failed to break them down and that is credit to them but it is a disappointing result for us."
Braintree Town: King; Long, Phillips, Fry, Habergham; Isaac, Davis (Sparkes 88), Woodyard, Brundle; Akinola, Marks (Cheek 62). Unused subs: Miles, Powell, Gardner. Attendance: 740. Referee: Brett Huxtable.
Next up for Iron are three successive away Vanarama National League trips at Grimsby Town this coming Tuesday evening, 12th April, at Gateshead on Saturday, 16th April and at Wrexham on 23rd April before we complete our Vanarama National League campaign at home to Altrincham on Saturday 30th April.
Danny Cowley looks forward to Saturday
Iron slipped to their third successive defeat going down by two goals to nil at Barrow on Tuesday evening.
After that long, long journey up the M6 mid-week, Braintree suffered the worst possible start going behind as early as the seventh minute.
A ball in from the right was not controlled by Iron keeper Tom King and the loose ball squirmed free to Jason Walker to score from close range.
Chasing the game, Iron pushed players forward, with Kenny Davis shot mid-way through the second half the closest the visitors came to levelling up.
But the task became more difficult when Barrow's Andy Cook took advantage of gaps at the back of the Braintree defence with nine minutes remaining breaking forward before driving his effort past King.
After the game Iron Manager Danny Cowley was realistic: "We've not made it any easier for ourselves conceding early against what I felt was a very good Barrow side. We had a go second half but got caught on the break late on so we move on and look forward to Saturday."
Team: King, Long, Phillips, Isaac (Sparkes 71), Habergham, Akinola, Fry, Marks (Cheek 63), Davis (Powell 86), Woodyard, Brundle. Un-used substitutes: Miles and Edgar. Gate: 1,039
Next up for Iron is the visit of second-placed Forest Green Rovers to the Avanti Stadium this coming Saturday, 9th April, with kick-off at 3pm.
featuring the Vanarama National League Promotion Final
The National League (in association with sponsors Vanarama) has released details of ticket information for their annual flagship final at Wembley Stadium connected by EE which will kick off at 4pm on Sunday 15th May 2016.
This year ALL ticket sales will be handled directly by Wembley Stadium and will be available for the first time with an option for 'Print at Home' (PAH).
Tickets will ONLY be available to purchase on-line and are priced as follows:
EARLY BIRD - up to and including 31st March:
Seniors (Over 60): £10
Under 16: FREE **
(** 1 free U16 ticket can be ordered for each ticket sold at Adult or Senior price).
Additional tickets for Under 16 over the above allowance can be purchased at £5 each.
Early Bird sales are made even more attractive as no booking fee is charged.
Please be advised no ticket is refundable once purchased.
Disabled seated allocation is available directly through Wembley Stadium and details are also available on-line.
GENERAL ADMISSION SALE - date available to be announced:
Category 1: £41 (no concessions)
Category 2: £36 and £18 (Under 16's)
These ticket sales will be subject to a booking fee.
For both General Admission and Early Bird sales, postage will be charged at:
£2.50 per order or £1 for all PAH sales.
WEMBLEY TICKET PORTAL: https://events.wembleystadium.com/Online/default.asp
Note: Early Bird tickets will NOT be available to purchasers either by post or available via PAH until the two competing finalist clubs are confirmed. This will allow for seated allocation to be made in blocks for any group of supporters of a club wishing to be in the same area.
In order for this to be offered, when on-line transactions are made the purchaser will be required to nominate which National League member club they align themselves to or they may indicate a 'No Preference' option.
Supporters of the two clubs reaching the Promotion Final will be allocated their tickets for the correct area of the stadium allotted to each finalist club.
Tuesday 12 July, 7.45pm
Bury Town (Away)
Saturday 16 July, 3pm
SOUTHEND UNITED (Home)
Tuesday 19 July, 7.45pm
Saturday 23 July, 3pm
Lowestoft Town (Away)
Saturday 30 July, 3pm
CAMBRIDGE UNITED (Home)
HOW WE STAND