Vanarama National League South

For the second time in as many games, Braintree Town came back late in the game to earn a point against their local rivals with a 2-2 draw.

The first meeting between the Iron and Chelmsford City during the festive period ended in a 2-2 draw after a first-half Phil Roberts strike and then a last-gasp goal by Marcel Barrington saw the Iron come from behind twice to take a point.

And, despite taking the lead thanks to another goal from Roberts in the first half, they had to come from behind to earn another Vanarama National League South point in the return fixture.

After trailing 2-1 with eight minutes to go, it was Roman Michael-Percil who was the goal hero this time as he tucked away a leveller that tied things up and made sure it was another derby day stalemate.

There was just the one change for Braintree from the side that started against Chelmsford on Boxing Day and it saw the Iron's late goal hero - Barrington - come in with Roman Michael-Percil moving to the bench.

Meanwhile, there were two changes for the Clarets from the previous game.

The hosts had former Braintree player Craig Braham-Barrett coming in along with striker Shaun Batt, while Luke Daley and Matt Johnson dropped out.

Just as the first encounter finished, it was a lively start to the second game, with Braintree on the front foot early, but the Clarets soon found their feet as well.

Barrington almost got a shot away in the first minute but slipped at the crucial moment and in the second minute, play switched to the other end and Chris Dickson forced Nathan McDoanld into a smart save low down.

Chelmsford pressure continued and a near post header had to be blocked on the line before being cleared away from a corner.

On 11 minutes, though, the visitors showed more intent when a great run across the Chelmsford box by Reece Grant ended with him drilling a low left-foot shot that Sam Beasant had to claw away at full stretch.

Unfortunately for Braintree no-one was able to follow up before the loose ball could be cleared as the stalemate continued.

The game did settle down a bit, but it was still a typical derby encounter played at a fast pace with both sides looking to attack.

Just past the half-hour mark, a rampaging run by Barrington took him deep into Clarets territory, but no-one was placed to get on the end of the ball he cut back into the middle.

The play instantly switched to the other end and then presented a chance for Chelmsford.

They broke down the left and Kudos Oyenuga was almost brought down in the box by a Jon Muleba challenge, but he kept his feet and his eventual shot was deflected into the side netting.

The breakthrough did come at the other end though in the 35th minute.

It came from a Billy Crook free-kick taken long into the Chelmsford box that Joe Ellul got to just ahead of Clarets keeper Beasant and he flicked it back to where Phil Roberts was waiting to side foot it into an empty net.

Just like in the first fixture, though, the lead after the game’s opening goal was short-lived.

This time the equaliser came in the 42nd minute when a handball had referee Jack Packman pointing to spot and for the second time in as many games, Oyenuga slotted the ball past Nathan McDonald.

It brought things back to all-square at the break and set things up nicely for the second half.

There was a positive start from the Iron and they had the first sight of goal in the 49th minute when a ball over the top set Roberts free, but he scooped his shot well past the target.

Chelmsford were soon coming back, though, and a superb run by Bagasan Graham ended with a goalmouth scramble that saw the visitors eventually get the ball clear under pressure.

It kick-started a period of pressure from the Clarets and they capitalised on that in the 64th minute with a second goal.

Braintree paid the price for some poor defending as the ball was cleared only to the edge of the box to where Batt was waiting to fire through a scrum of bodies and into the net.

It was the lead the hosts were looking for and they built on it by keeping possession to deny the Iron a chance for a quick reply.

In fact, it was the hosts who looked the more likely to add a third than the Iron did to equalise, with Chelmsford keeping them pressed back to take the sting out of the game.

Braintree made attacking substitutions as they searched for a riposte, but the equalising strike came rather against the run of play.

The goal came from nowhere really on 83 minutes as Barrington did well to chase down a long ball forward by Muleba and nicked it into the centre with Beasant closing him down.

The hard work of the Iron striker was rewarded as Roman Michael-Percil tapped the ball into an empty net.

The final minutes were predictably frantic as both sides went searching for a winner, but there was once again nothing between them at the final whistle.

Braintree Town: Nathan McDonald, Ricky Gabriel, Jon Muleba, Joe Ellul, Marc-Anthony Okoye, Christian Frimpong (Luke Allen 78), Samir Bihmoutine (Roman Michael-Percil 65), Billy Crook, Phil Robert, Reece Grant (Karl Oliyide 72), Marcel Barrington.

Subs not used: Mahrez Bettach, Ben Wyatt.

Referee: Jack Packman.