Braintree Town face Grimsby in the National League play-offs today, with a Wembley place at stake
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Braintree Town entertain Grimsby Town on Sunday afternoon knowing they are just 90 minutes from a trip to Wembley for the National League play-off final.
The part-timers have punched above their weight all season to secure a hugely impressive third-place finish in the league table, before taking a major step towards a possible promotion to the Football League on Thursday night with a 1-0 win in the first leg of their semi-final against the Mariners.
In Grimsby they face a full-time club with a superior budget and substantial Football League experience, with the Mariners also knowing just what is needed to reach Wembley, having lost last year’s final to Bristol Rovers on penalties.
However, in the sides’ three previous meetings this year, Braintree have won twice at Blundell Park and secured a 0-0 draw at their own Cressing Road ground and kept clean sheets on all three occasions. That is no mean feet considering the Grimsby line is led by forward Padraig Amond, who has plundered 32 goals this season.
Every time big questions have been asked of Braintree this season, they’ve answered them.
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They’ve won away at the likes of Grimsby, Wrexham, Gateshead, Tranmere and Eastleigh, as well as securing an impressive draw at runaway champions Cheltenham and, when the pressure was on to secure a play-off place on the final day, they eased to a 3-0 win over Altrincham.
They bounced back from a sticky spell of three straight defeats in March and April to enter the play-offs in red hot form, which sees them head into Sunday’s game on a run of five-straight victories.
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It would be a fool who bet against the part-timers now.