Colchester United and Braintree Town could end up in the same division

Fans arrive at the Weston Homes Community Stadium before the FA Cup game against Tottenham last Satu

Fans arrive at the Weston Homes Community Stadium before the FA Cup game against Tottenham last Saturday. But the U's could be hosting near-neighbours Braintree Town next season. - Credit: PA

Colchester United and Braintree Town, playing in the same division? It could happen, and perhaps sooner than you think.

Braintree's Cressing Road, which could be hosting League Two football next season, if the Iron can m

Braintree's Cressing Road, which could be hosting League Two football next season, if the Iron can maintain their push for the National League play-offs - Credit: Archant

The U’s are facing up to their fourth successive battle against relegation from League One, and they are in a far worse position this season, than in the previous three successful escape acts.

Meanwhile, just 18 miles down the road, little Braintree Town have moved to within just one point of the National League play-offs.

It is conceivable, therefore, that the two Essex clubs could be playing against each other, in League Two, within a matter of a few months!

That won’t come as very pleasant reading to diehard U’s supporters, but the odds are stacked against Kevin Keen’s men avoiding the drop into the fourth tier, a level they have not played in for 18 years.

The current-day U’s, without a win in 13 league games, and just one win in the last 18, are a daunting seven points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table, going into tomorrow’s tough test at another of their Essex neighbours, Southend United, who are eying up the play-offs.

The Weston Homes Community Stadium hosted a memorable FA Cup fourth round clash with Premier League giants Tottenham only last weekend, a sell-out crowd seeing Spurs coast through to a 4-1 victory.

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But now is the time for a quick reality check.

Next season, if matters do not improve drastically – and the U’s really need to show promotion form to stand a chance of staying up, during the last 18 games – the Community Stadium will be hosting the likes of Barnet, Morecambe, Crawley, and perhaps even Braintree!

The Iron have continued to defy the odds, ever since they won promotion into the top tier of non-league in 2011.

Previous boss, Alan Devonshire flirted with the play-offs, and now his successor, Danny Cowley, is following suit.

Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Welling United, achieved while playing with just 10 men for nearly an hour (Sean Marks was dismissed on 33 minutes), was their third win on the bounce, following last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Chester, and a previous 1-0 home victory over Wrexham.

Braintree are now just a point behind fifth-placed Tranmere, who are currently squatting in the last play-off berth.

Furthermore, the Cressing Road minnows have three games in hand over Tranmere, and four games in hand over sixth-placed Woking, due to postponements for waterlogged pitches in recent weeks.

Iron’s dream is still alive; alas, so is the U’s nightmare!

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