Kenny Davis is spot on for Braintree Town

Kenny Davis, who swept home a penalty at Grimsby Town tonight

Kenny Davis, who swept home a penalty at Grimsby Town tonight - Credit: Archant

Grimsby Town 0 Braintree Town 1

Kenny Davis converted a 53rd minute penalty to hand Braintree Town a precious 1-0 lead, going into the second leg of this National League play-off semi-final.

Iron again defied the odds, during this most wonderful of seasons, to beat hosts Grimsby Town in a tight first leg at Blundell Park tonight.

The crucial moment arrived early in the second half.

Simeon Akinola was chopped down by centre-half Josh Gowling, just inside the penalty area, and Davis stepped up to slot home the ensuing spot kick, as cool as you like, sending keeper James McKeown the wrong way.


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Braintree had edged a very tight first-half, and had the better of the scoring chances.

Matt Brundle peppered the target with a couple of long-range shots, while defender Matt Fry was denied by a goal-line clearance from full-back Richard Tait, after his shot had squeezed under the body of keeper James McKeown.

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After Davis had swept home the penalty, eight minutes into the second half, Iron had to defend in numbers.

Keeper Tom King protected Iron’s lead with a fantastic save in the 64th minute. He somehow managed to keep out Amond’s close-range shot with an outstretched leg, on the goal-line.

It was defender Matt Fry’s turn to thwart the Mariners, four minutes later, as he took the ball of Amond just when the striker was about to shoot from point blank range.

Iron were having to dig deep, and they had a let-off when defender Gowling scooped a shot over the bar from a dangerous position in the 74th minute.

The second leg is at Cressing Road on Sunday, with Iron just one step away from a trip to Wembley.

Squads

GRIMSBY: McKeown, Tait, Gowling, Nsiala, Horwood, Arnold (sub East, 79), Nolan, Disley, Monkhouse, Amond, Bogle (sub Hoban, 69). Unused subs: Pearson, Pittman, Henderson.

BRAINTREE: King, Long, Fry, Phillips, Habergham, Brundle, Paine, Davis, Woodyard, Akinola (sub Sparkes, 83), Cheek (sub Marks, 77). Unused subs: Clerima, Miles, Cardwell.

Referee: J Brooks

Attendance: 5,271 (82 away fans)

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