Braintree Town held by Ebbsfleet in FA Trophy third round

Kenny Davis

Kenny Davis

Braintree Town and Conference South play-off hopefuls Ebbsfleet Town, battled to a 1-1 draw at Cressing Road on Tuesday, in the third round of the FA Trophy.

Adam Cunnington gave ‘Fleet the lead within five minutes, but Kenny Davis levelled from the penalty spot for the Conference Premier side, in the 42nd minute.

The replay will be in Kent next Tuesday with the winners lined up to play at North Ferriby United.

Ebbsfleet took the lead on four minutes. Ryan Peters was forced to concede a corner and Stuart Lewis whipped in a low ball to the near post where Cunnington, signed recently from League Two, Cambridge, guided the ball home through a crowd of players.

Braintree had a good opportunity to equalise 11 minutes in but after pacy frontman Simeon Akinola latched onto a diagonal ball forward, he sent a shot from the edge of the area that was deflected wide of goal.

Home goalkeeper Nick Hamman had to be at his best on 18 minutes to stop the visitors going 2-0 up, the stopper making an excellent reflex save to tip Theo Lewis’ volley, from Matt Fish’s right-wing cross, wide.

The game had become a quiet affair but Iron skipper Davis almost livened up proceedings with a driven half-volley from range that cleared the bar by a few inches.

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Ebbsfleet were causing the home defence problems from set-pieces and high balls and, from one of the latter, Matt Johnson stabbed a shot inches wide of the post after latching on to a flick-on.

Iron almost equalised against the run of play when Kelvin Langmead sliced a cross inches wide of his own post on 42 minutes.

However, Braintree didn’t have to wait long to get on level terms, Davis leaving Edwards stationary on his line with a confident penalty a minute later after Matt Paine had been pushed over by Kenny Clark.

It was Clark who had the first real chance of the second half, heading over from a corner, and the fact that it didn’t arrive until the hour mark, told you everything you needed to know about the game.

That chance seemed to liven the visitors up though and a minute later, Ebbsfleet striker Danny Kedwell blazed over the bar from 16 yards when well placed.

The striker was in the thick of the action moments later, seemingly forcing the ball towards goal with his arm from a corner. The referee didn’t see the incident, but fortunately, Braintree cleared their lines.

With chances at a premium, a mistake looked like it could settle the game. However, Cunnington dawdled on the byline after robbing Iron’s Alan Massey on the ball, near to the goal, and Sam Habergham cleared.

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