Braintree Town suffer narrow defeat at Rovers but stay five points clear of drop zone

Ben McNamara saves a second-half penalty during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Tranmere. Picture: ALAN STU

Ben McNamara saves a second-half penalty during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Tranmere. Picture: ALAN STUCKEY - Credit: Archant

Tranmere Rovers 1 Braintree Town 0

Braintree Town still have some work to do, to secure their National League status, after slipping to a narrow defeat at promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

Hakan Hayrettin’s men had disappointed during a 3-1 home defeat to lowly Woking in midweek, but they delivered an improved display at Prenton Park.

However, Andy Cook slotted home the only goal of the game for Rovers, in the 54th minute, to maintain the home club’s title bid – they are vying for automatic promotion with favourites Lincoln City and Forest Green Rovers.

The Iron were on the back foot for much of the first half, but they defended well to keep a clean-sheet.

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Keeper Ben McNamara made one good save from Jeff Hughes’ long-range free-kick. The follow-up from Cook rattled a post before McNamara gobbled up the rebound shot by James Norwood.

However, nine minutes into the second half and McNamara was finally beaten, with Cook the marksman.

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McNamara kept The Iron in the hunt by saving a penalty, from Hughes, with 20 minutes remaining, while also saving the follow-up effort by Norwood.

However, the visitors struggled to make any headway in attack, and so remain on the fringes of the relegation battle.

Results elsewhere were reasonably kind to the Iron.

There were defeats for York City and North Ferriby, while Torquay drew at Wrexham and Woking suffered a 4-2 home defeat to Maidstone.

Braintree are therefore five points clear of the bottom four, with six matches remaining. They face a key away game at struggling York City next Saturday.

BRAINTREE: McNamara, Clohessy, Parry (sub Goodman,76), Mbulu, Okimo, Issac, Corne, Hall-Johnson, Barnard (sub Twarrdek, 81), Cheek, Midson. Unused subs: Lee, Maybanks, Farrell.

Meanwhile, Chelmsford City cemented their play-off berth in National League South with a 5-1 win over lowly Gosport Borough.

The visitors took a surprise fifth minute lead through ex-Braintree striker Ben Wright, but Kane Haysman levelled with his first league goal of the seaason on 11 minutes. Louie Theophanous (54), Anthony Church (64), Chris Dickson (69) and Haysman again (74) completed the comeback.

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