Braintree 1-0 Gateshead

Braintree 1-0 Gateshead
Vanarama Conference
Saturday 7th March 2015

Gateshead’s play-off hopes were dealt a hammer blow as a second-half penalty from Kenny Davis secured a valuable victory for Braintree Town at a sun-drenched Cressing Road. The Tynesiders face a mammoth task if they are to realise their promotion ambitions with games running out. This leaves Tuesday night’s game at home to Welling a must win game.

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All afternoon-long, both teams cancelled each other out, with chances few and far between for either side.

Half chances from Lynden Gooch and Alex Rodman were the highlight of Gateshead’s first 45 minutes, with nothing clear cut being created.

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Braintree didn’t register any shots on target and the teams went in at half time 0-0.

Braintree came out in the second half with a more attacking approach with Akinola playing a neat one-two with Mensah before smashing a right-footed effort against the crossbar.

The game’s defining moment came just in the 69th minute, as the lively Mensah was chopped down by left-back Matty Pattison. It was a momentary lapse for Pattison, who was one of Gateshead’s best performers on the day.

Davis stepped up to score the penalty, sending Adam Bartlett the wrong way.

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Gary Mills then made a triple substitution, bringing on Kevin Sainte-Luce, Adam Campbell and Jon Shaw, but the heed struggled again to create any chances, relying on long balls into the box in the hope of the strikers getting onto the knockdowns.

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Braintree deserved their win in the end, pretty much cementing their Conference status for another season, whilst Gateshead will hope other teams around them start to slip up, otherwise their promotion hopes will fade quickly.

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Ebbsfleet 2-0 Braintree

Ebbsfleet 2-0 Braintree
The FA Carlsberg Trophy
Tuesday 3rd February 2015

Ebbsfleet are through to the FA Trophy quarter-finals for the first time in six years after a battling victory over Braintree at the PHB Stadium on Tuesday night.

Danny Kedwell opened the scoring, eight minutes before half-time, after which the home side came under huge pressure from their Vanarama Conference visitors. But the Fleet dealt with everything Braintree could throw at them and Adam Cunnington’s late strike clinched a third successive victory over higher-ranked opposition in this Trophy run. Jamie Day’s side now travel to North Ferriby United, of Conference North, in the last-eight on Saturday knowing they are now just two wins from Wembley.

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Braintree’s first attempt on goal came from distance. Chez Isaac tried his luck from 35 yards and the ball was veering inside the right-hand post until Preston Edwards dived to turn it behind.

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The visitors were winning the midfield battle as some heavy touches by the men in red gifted them cheap possession.

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But after Kiernan had shot wide, the home side took a 37th-minute lead.

Cunnington did well to hold the ball up in the right-hand corner and when he fed Fish, the wing-back’s low cross was shovelled out into the six-yard box by Hamann and touched home by Kedwell.

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It was very nearly 2-0 at half-time as the home side started to play with confidence. Kiernan’s shot from the left beat Hamann but the goalkeeper was rescued by centre-half Alan Massey, who headed the ball off the line.

Isaac then drilled a free-kick straight at Edwards from 35 yards and the Iron set about pinning Fleet back into their own half. Every player in red, including strikers Kedwell and Cunnington, joined the defensive effort as the home side were really stretched.

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Braintree won a series of corners as the pressure kept mounting. One of them dropped on Simeon Akinola’s head and he thought he’d levelled the scores, only to look on in disbelief as Edwards dived low and somehow clawed the ball out of the bottom corner.

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The home faithful turned up the volume as time ticked away, knowing their side were under the cosh.

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And they were on their feet to salute a match-winning second goal in the 86th minute. Massey dawdled on the edge of his box and Cunnington pounced to roll the ball calmly past Hamann’s right hand.

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Braintree substitute Joe Maybanks twice went close at the death but Cunnington’s strike sealed the deal – and a trip to Humberside at the weekend.