Tremendous Braintree Town turn over Dover Athletic

Michael Cheek (orange) scored the winner for Braintree Town against Dover Athletic last night

Michael Cheek (orange) scored the winner for Braintree Town against Dover Athletic last night - Credit: Archant

Braintree Town 1 Dover Athletic 0

A tremendous all-round performance by an injury-ravaged Iron side put an end to Athletic’s five-game winning run at the Avanti Stadium on Tuesday evening, moving the home side up to sixth in the National League.

Iron manager Danny Cowley called it “a fantastic win in difficult circumstances”, with Michael Cheek scoring the all-important winner, as Cowley added: “It’s a testament to the group of players we have at the club that with several injuries in what is a small squad at the club that left us decimated tonight they can come out and put in such a terrific performance from all of them and win.”

With skipper Kenny Davis and central defender Mark Phillips late call offs with injuries from Saturday’s bruising home encounter with Grimsby Town (0-0), Cowley was forced to name two 18 year-old Academy players on the bench – Alfie Walker and Matt Baker.

In the first half, the Iron slightly held the upper hand with both Simeon Akinola (18 mins) and Anthony Edgar (21 mins) seeing their efforts push wide for corners by ‘keeper Walker – and although the visitors’ Jack Parkinson did rattle the Iron bar on 27 minutes – the rebound was put in the net by Tony Ajala, but the assistant’s flag was already up for an offside.

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The all-important goal of the game came in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage-time when Akinola pressurised the visiting defence, forcing a sloppy back pass to keeper Mitch Walker, who could only parry the ball, and there was renowned goal-poacher Cheek on hand to slide the loose ball low into the net.

For most of the second half, it was the Iron in the ascendancy with again Akinola (twice), Isaac and Cheek denied goals by last-ditch tackles from defenders.

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Keeper Walker was clearly the busier of the two stoppers and late on, he prevented both substitute Sean Marks and Remi Clerima from scoring with fine saves.

In the final minutes of the game’s further four minutes of added stoppage time, the visitors threw everything they could at the Iron defence but the Essex side stood firm to collect a fully-deserved three points.

Next up for the Iron is an away trip in the league at Lincoln City on Saturday, kick off 3pm, and the following Saturday, Braintree welcome Harlow Town – of the Ryman North Division (three steps below Iron) in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round after the Hawks defeated Bath City in Tuesday evening’s replay.

Iron team

Braintree Town: Norris; Brundle, Paine, Clerima, Habergham; Isaac (Jeremy Walker 83), Woodyard, Miles, Edgar (Marks 72); Akinola (Alfie Walker 94), Cheek. Unused subs: Haigh (gkpr), Baxter.

Attendance: 637

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