BRAINTREE Town boss Angelo Harrop admitted he was 'absolutely gobsmacked' after they won 3-2 at rivals Chelmsford City to book their place in the National League South play-off final, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron claimed a dramatic 3-2 extra-time win after a roller-coaster of a ride at Melbourne Stadium, with substitute Jayden Davis grabbing their winner.

Braintree will now play Worthing or Maidstone United in the play-off final, on May 6.

Harrop said: "I'm absolutely gobsmacked and can't praise this closely knitted group of players for what they put into this game.

"We knew it would be a really tough, tight game and also having lost to them twice over the festive period we wanted to put matters right and everyone of them ensured we did just that.

"All the hard work of the players and my backroom team has paid off because we've now won two play-off games this season by extra-time and now head for the final showdown."


Braintree were the better side over the 120 minutes and played some great attacking football.

They defended magnificently when they had to and in reality, should have won by a bigger margin with the clearcut chances they created.

The 600-odd Iron fans in the 3,000-plus crowd suffered a nerve-racking finale though to the game having seen their side take a two-goal lead in the second half, only to concede twice through defensive mistakes in the final minutes of normal time.

It meant extra-time and full marks to everyone of the Iron players because their never-say-die attitude and commitment to the cause saw them grab that all important third goal on 98 minutes to restore their lead.


They saw out the remaining minutes when again they wasted three clearcut chances to have won more convincingly.

Braintree lost at the first time of asking in last season's play-offs but with some quality signings the team has gelled better and they are a more solid, reliable unit.

They have an outstanding defence where keeper Jack Sims in particular has been superb and pulled off two remarkable saves in the dying moments of this game to keep his team-mates on track for a final place.


Harrop added: "Full credit to all the players today particularly winning in extra-time and having had to do exactly the same as we did on Tuesday night against Bath City and whilst some understandably had tired limbs they all kept going.

"Once we scored in extra-time we tried to manage the game out and really we could have scored a couple of more goals at that time.

"Some of the more experienced players showed today what quality we now have in the side and now we can enjoy the moment, get back to work this next week and prepare for the final and I am confident we can win it."


After a fairly even first half in which the Iron had the more clearcut chances, they broke the deadlock on 54 minutes when Leon Davies broke clear and drove the ball home.

Braintree doubled their lead on 65 minutes when Freddie Sears skipped clear of two defenders and calmly slotted the ball in.

But two defensive mistakes on 90 and 92 minutes allowed City to equalise, leading to the game going into extra-time.

Braintree kept pushing forward and a brilliant run down the right by Davis saw him check inside on the edge of the area to drill a shot low into the City net.

Two more Braintree chances went begging whilst at the other end some excellent defending ensured they sealed their final place.