Braintree Town bow out of FA Cup after a goal-feast in The Den
Millwall 5 Braintree Town 2
Brave Braintree Town bowed out of the FA Cup in a goal feast at The Den this afternoon.
The Iron actually had the lead, for all of 60 seconds, via Michael Cheek’s 16th minute opener, but League One hosts Millwall eventually powered to victory in this second round tie.
The Iron deservedly took the lead, thanks to a wonderful strike by Cheek.
Jack Midson won a header in the middle of the park, and Cheek was on it in a flash. He powered past defender Sid Nelson and beat keeper Archer all ends up with a sensational strike from the edge of the box.
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Braintree were in dream-land, but only for a matter of seconds.
Teams are often said to be at their most vulnerable, just after they have scored, and that was certainly the case for star-struck Iron.
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The Essex side conceded an equaliser inside a minute of Cheek’s opener, and were 3-1 down before the half-hour mark.
Harry Smith netted the first of his quickfire brace while the away supporters were still celebrating their team’s lead.
The Iron’s defence were caught napping, and Smith had the simple task of slotting the ball into an empty net, having been teed up by fellow striker Lee Gregory.
Millwall were ahead just four minutes later, in the 21st minute. Iron failed to clear a corner from Ferguson, and Smith was able to pounce and lash home the loose ball from close-range.
And it was Ferguson who netted the third himself, with a precision strike on 25 minutes. Taking advantage of acres of space down the left, Ferguson aimed a low angled drive beyond the reach of an exposed Sam Beasant to find the far corner of the net.
Braintree were on the ropes, but remarkably they struck back to take the wind out of Millwall’s sails in the 35th minute.
Midson made the most of a mistake by centre-half Byron Webster, running through uncontested before smartly lifting his shot over the advancing Archer and into the net.
But the Londoners restored their two-goal lead just three minutes into the second period.
Again, Iron’s defence struggled to deal with a corner, and an unmarked Smith swatted home from inside the six-yard box to complete his hat-trick.
That ended the scoring until injury-time, although Cheek, Simeon Akinola and substsitute Lee Barnard did go close to scoring for the visitors, which would have set up an intriguing finale.
As it happened, substitute Aiden O’Brien steered home a fifth for the Lions deep into stoppage time.
MILLWALL: Archer, Romeo, Nelson (sub Craig, 65), Webster, Martin, Worrall, Butcher, Williams, Ferguson, Gregory (sub Onyedinma, 86), Smith (sub O’Brien, 78). Unused subs: King, Cummings, Thompson, Abdou.
BRAINTREE: Beasant, Clohessy, Gayle (sub Barnard, 83), Jules, Okimo, Akinola, Lee, Isaac (sub Maybanks, 89), Patterson (sub Matthews, 62), Cheek, Midson. Unused subs: Strizovic, Williams, Hall-Johnson, Corne.
Refereee: Darren Deadman (Cambs)