Impressive Iron make play-off progress

Braintree Town v Bath City – Vanarama National League Play-Off Qualifier – Rare Breed Meat Co. Stadium – Report

Braintree Town 1-0 Bath City

Tom Blackwell’s goal just two minutes before the end of extra time saw Braintree Town through to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Bath City after an entertaining Play-Off qualifier at the Rare Breed Meat Co. Stadium.

Angelo Harrop made two changes to the Braintree starting line-up following the 3-2 home defeat by Eastbourne Borough on Saturday with Leon Davies and Alfie Payne coming into the side in place of Lewis Miccio and Jayden Davis.

Following a cautious opening but with the Iron shading possession, just after the half-hour mark and following a slick move down the left, Aaron Blair did well to create space for himself inside the Roman’s box only to see his shot well saved by Will Buse.

With the game starting to become more of an expansive affair in the second half, Bath’s Cody Cooke and Tom Smith saw goal-bound efforts blocked. Blackwell, Freddie Sears and Dominic Odusanya all failed to trouble Buse with long-range efforts before Cooke’s late header was narrowly wide of Jack Sims’ post as the game finished 0-0 at the end of the ninety minutes to go to extra time.

As both sides pressed forward looking for a winner, Reggie Lambe fired narrowly over the crossbar for the Iron before Bath’s Jack Batten saw his header drift wide of the post.

Shortly before the end, Sims pulled off a fine save at this near post to deny Isaac Vassell and with the game looking increasingly as if it was going to be settled on penalties, substitute Jayden Davis tore down the right flank to cross low for Blackwell to smash the ball high into the roof of the net to send the Iron through to the Play-Off semi-final match against Chelmsford City at the Melbourne Stadium on Saturday, 27 April (3pm).

Braintree Town: Sims, Davies, Altintop (Capt) Grimwood, Blackwell, Payne, Blair, Sears (Lambe 104’) Wakefield (Davis 81’) Rendall, Odusanya (Miccio 120’) Subs not used: Brothers, Roberts

Bath City: Buse, Raynes (Batten 46’) Greenslade, Dyer, Parselle (Capt) (Alabi 120+1’) Clark, Hayfield, Cooke, Smith, Frear (Vassell 96’) Wilson (Yeboah 98’) Subs not used: Idehen

Referee: N Smith

Assistants: M Gupta and J Larkin.