FA Cup second qualifying round

This year’s FA Cup journey proved frustratingly short for Braintree Town as the Iron bowed out at the first hurdle.

They entered into the competition at the second qualifying round stage and that was as far as they would be going as a 2-0 defeat at Enfield Town brought an early exit.

Braintree have been in excellent Vanarama National League South form recently, but manager Glen Driver insisted that his team would travel to Enfield as underdogs.

Despite the hosts playing a level below Braintree in the BetVictor Isthmian League premier division, they have also been in a rich vein of form.

They had won their previous three games, including a 1-0 first qualifying round win against AFC Rushden & Diamonds that had come with a goal from Muhammadu Faal and he was on target twice against the Iron to ensure his team’s run would go on.

There was a crowd of 523 at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium and Driver made three changes from the side that had won 3-1 at Havant & Waterlooville in a Vanarama National League South fixture seven days previously.

Those changes saw a first Iron start for Harry Donovan, while Jason Banton and Adam Mills both returned to the starting line-up as Michael Clark, Alfie Cerulli and Tobi Coker all moved to the bench.

Braintree had more of the play in the opening part of the game, but they were unable to engineer a breakthrough and as it approached the half-hour mark, it was the home side that took the lead on 26 minutes.

It was Enfield’s best chance of the first half and they made it count when Ryan Blackman broke through the centre and laid the ball into striker Muhammadu Faal, who fired it into the back of the net.

The strike meant the hosts held a slender lead after a tight first 45 minutes of action and things stayed close after the restart, although Braintree saw more of the possession and started to build pressure.

It took a good save from former Iron favourite Nathan McDonald to frustrate his old team and keep Enfield ahead and the hosts’ tenacity at the back was rewarded late on as Faal doubled the lead.

The second goal came on 87 minutes when Blackman and substitute Junior Mubiayi combined to set up Faal, who drilled the ball past Iron keeper Michael Johnson to put the tie to bed.

Braintree Town: Michael Johnson, Harry Donovan, Harry Osbourne, Cameron Green, Josh Urquhart, Jake Hutchings, Femi Akinwande, Ade Cole, Tom Richardson, Jason Banton, Adam Mills. Subs: Charley Barker, Christan Tyler-Law, Michael Clark, Alfie Cerulli, Tobi Coker, Rob Harvey. Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis.