Play-off hopefuls Braintree Town keep dream alive with 3-2 win at Gateshead

Taylor Miles puts Iron ahead at Gateshead and is swamped by team-mates

Taylor Miles puts Iron ahead at Gateshead and is swamped by team-mates - Credit: Archant

The Iron pushed themselves back up into the play-off places with this grafting performance which gave them a deserved win at the International Athletic Stadium on Saturday, after which manager Dan Cowley admitted his side were “dead on their feet at the end.”

Taylor Miles netted twice and Mitch Brundle once, as Iron saw off 10-man Gateshead to pick up six points on the road in five days, after their superb win at Grimsby on Tuesday night.

“I have to be honest and say although we deserved our win it was a really hard game for the players who in the second half were clearly tired and suffering from our exhaustive recent schedule of games,” he explained.

“We’re not complaining but as a part-time outfit it has caught up with them and in reality at least five of our players were only about 70% were on their game on the day.

“But again they all showed so much determination and sheer guts to get us a result which was so important and is why we are where we are,” Cowley continued. “The players are all dead on their feet but nobody is moaning because we knew it was going to be tough coming here and getting a result.

“In the first half although we had a great start scoring in the fourth minute, but I wasn’t happy with the way we were allowing them to get crosses in when we normally close down so well,” he said.

“Which is why I was disappointed with the way we gave the equalising goal away and again in the second half when we allowed them to score again which was down to an individual mistake.”

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But Cowley was full of praise for the way his players responded to their half-time talk adding: “We sorted it out, scored a vital third goal within a couple of minutes of the restart and that set us on the way to victory.

“But I knew it would be harder for our players in the latter half of the second half because they were simply too tired. Although in the end I still think we were well in control and ran out worthy winners.”

The Iron hero on the day was young Miles, starting the game in place of the injured Chez Isaac, who produced two stunning strikes that set the Iron on their way to victory.

He opened the scoring on four minutes with one of his now customary trademark free-kicks from outside the area which sailed over the wall into the top right corner of the net.

But the 46 Irons fans in the 588 crowd were soon shocked when the home side equalised on 13 minutes, when Heed defender Ben Clark was allowed time and space from a left wing corner to drill a low right shot home from just inside the area.

Three minutes later the Iron were back in front when Miles again found space to drive home a right-foot shot low in the bottom corner of the net.

The home side suffered another blow on 34 minutes when Cheek raced through and was clear on goal with a one-on-one with Russell when he was brought down from behind crashing to the ground by James Curtis just inside the area.

Sadly, for the Iron referee Steven Rushton, rightly showed a red card to Curtis but although it seemed a penalty the man in the middle declared it was on the line and the resultant Miles free-kick this time just dropped over the bar.

The second half saw the ideal start for the Iron with Brundle charging through the home defence on the right before delivering a low right-foot shot into the net.

The home side rallied and they pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when a right wing cross was poorly defended by the Iron allowing Alex Whitemore to stab the ball into the net from close range.

But any hope the home side, who are full-time players, had to salvage something from the game quickly eroded with some fresh legs coming on as substitutes for the Iron – most notably the influential Matt Paine – who immediately slotted into his customary midfield role bringing much needed stability to the his side. as Iron held out for a terrific victory in the north-east.

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