Cheek scores from the halfway line as Braintree make FA Cup progress

Sean Marks fires in a shot for Braintree Town.

Sean Marks fires in a shot for Braintree Town. - Credit: Archant

Michael Cheek scored a late goal from inside his own half as Braintree beat Harlow Town 2-0 to progress to the first round of the FA Cup.

Braintree Town made heavy weather of beating their lower-league Essex neighbours in what was in reality a one-side affair at the Avanti Stadium on Saturday.

The Iron took the lead after 14 minutes when a clever through ball from Alex Woodyard let Cheek clean through on the visitors’ goal and he made no mistake.

The Iron should then have capitalised on their dominance but they hit the woodwork three times, alongside other misses.

They started the second half in much the same fashion with the visitors again forced on the back foot and Iron wasting three or four chances to give them that crucial second goal and some breathing space.

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But it all changed on 68 minutes when Iron’s Taylor Miles, having being booked a minute previously, made another rash challenge and referee Anthony Serrano had no hesitation in showing him a second yellow card.

Naturally, it gave the Hawks, who play three levels below Iron, fresh impetus and for the first time in the game they began to put pressure on the home goal.

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The nearest they came was on 86 minutes when substitute Jared Small suddenly found himself unmarked coming in from the right wing but he shot straight at keeper Will Norris and the chance was gone.

In the fourth minute of added time the visitors saw a right-wing corner cleared by the home defence and with Hawks’ keeper Freud up in the area as an extra attacker, the ball was cleared out to Cheek just inside his own half and with delicate precision from about 70 yards he slid the ball low and hard into the empty net.

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