Vanarama National League

It certainly proved to be a good Friday for Braintree Town as they showed once again that they aren't exiting the Vanarama National League with a whimper.

In kick-starting their Easter weekend with a 2-0 win at Maidstone United, the Iron backed up their excellent win against AFC Fylde the previous week and kept a clean sheet, but also gave a huge boost to their hopes of finishing the season off the foot of the Vanarama National League table.

And an added bonus for the Iron fans was seeing their side get one over former boss Hakan Hayrettin, who left his post as Braintree manager in January to take up a role as head coach with Maidstone.

It had been a 90th minute penalty that allowed the Stones to win the reverse fixture at Cressing Road in September, but this time it was Braintree who took charge from the start and they never let go of their advantage.

Boss Danny Searle made two changes to his side from the one that started their 2-1 win against fourth-placed Fylde six days before, with Cameron James and Ifeanyi Allen returning in place of the unavailable Oscar Borg and Aaron Eyoma.

It didn't take the visitors long to make their mark on the game as, with less than two minutes elapsed, a foul by Maidstone full-back Aron Davies saw Braintree awarded a penalty.

Mo Sagaf had scored with a wonderful free-kick against AFC Fylde and his growing confidence showed as he stepped forward and buried the ball into the back of the home net to give Braintree the best possible start.

It gave them a lead to defend and they had to be organised to repel the hosts as Maidstone, especially the impressive Blair Turgot, pushed for a goal to level the game.

They could not find a way past a resolute Iron back line, though, and it was the 67 visiting fans among a crowd of 1,908 who thought their team had doubled their lead on 27 minutes when they saw the Maidstone net ripple again, but Sagaf's free-kick had nestled in the side-netting rather than headed between the posts.

It meant Braintree only led by one at the break, but it was a deserved advantage and one they looked to hold on to after the restart.

Once again Maidstone pressed for an equaliser, but they were frustrated again by an Iron back line that clearly prized the clean sheet.

With Maidstone not able to get themselves back into the game, the killer blow was dealt for the Kent side with five minutes remaining.

A long ball from Iron keeper Ben Killip saw a challenge by Korrey Henry on Stones keeper Chris Lewington and the Braintree striker lashed the ball into the home goal from 25 yards.

It completed the job for the away side and they saw out a lengthy spell of time added on at the end to secure another welcome three points.

While Searle's side remained second-from-bottom in the table, those three points lifted Braintree four points clear of rock-bottom Maidstone with two games to go.

The Iron have also closed up to within a point of Aldershot Town, who sit one place above them, ahead of their home game against Dagenham & Redbridge on Easter Monday at Cressing Road.

Braintree Town: Ben Killip, Andrew Eleftheriou, Cameron James (Kieran Smith 75), Courtney Richards, Daniel Matsuzaka, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Robert Atkinson, Sven Karic (Alfie Cerulli 69), Ifeanyi Allen, Mo Sagaf, Korrey Henry. Subs not used: Ikechi Eze, Jayden Gibson, Shane Temple, Jayden Gipson.

Referee: Tom Reeves.