BRAINTREE TOWN stayed top of Blue Square South after drawing 2-2 draw at Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Injuries forced Iron to change a winning team, with new signings Phil Starkey, Harlee Deen and Leon Antoine all handed starts.

Brad Quinton went close twice for Braintree, in an even first half at The Beveree.

Antoine and Dean also came close to giving the Iron the lead but they fell behind just before the break.

Craig Dundus converted, after Yaku had cut the ball back.

Stuart Lake then volleyed just over early in the second half and Fernandes hit the bar with a free-kick.

But Braintree were back on level terms midway through the second half.

John Keeling, who has signed from rivals Chelmsford City, came on for Antoine and made an immediate impact.

Keeling fed Ryan Purcell and although his effort was saved by the Hampton goalkeeper, Matt Game slotted in from close range.

Tejan-Sie then saw his fine effort from the edge of the box hit both posts and then fired wide, minutes later.

But Braintree were ahead, seven minutes before the break through Keeling, who headed in Starkey’s cross at the far post.

But just when it looked as though Iron were heading for a fourth straight victory, Lake struck deep into stoppage time to deny Braintree another win.

Ray Turner scored twice as HALSTEAD TOWN beat WIVENHOE TOWN 4-1, in their FA Cup extra preliminary round replay.

Halstead booked a tie against Biggleswade United in the preliminary round, after triumphing at Broad Lane.

Halstead made the breakthrough seven minutes before the break.

The hard-working Hyun Jin Lee wriggled his way past three defenders to find Turner.

He hit the target with a superb 30-yard which beat Reed all ends up.

Predictably, Wivenhoe game out strongly on resumption.

But the game was put beyond them five minutes after the break when Danny Rowell’s run and cross was handled by Ben Lampon.

Lee Townrow converted the rebound at the second attempt, after keeper Reed had parried the spot-kick.

Halstead struck twice in the last ten minutes to settle the issue.

Turner flicked home Andy Joslin’s cross for Halstead’s third.

And Liam Morley stepped off the substitutes’ bench to curl a fine free-kick into the top corner from the left flank, to complete the victory.

There was just time for Sam Holman to pick up a consolation for Wivenhoe, seconds before the end.

HARWICH AND PARKESTON were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Needham Market, in the Ridgeons League premier division.

Needham spurned chance after chance as a resilient defence and an in-form Mahoney dealt with all the visitors could muster.

Harwich grew in confidence and on 33 minutes rocked the Suffolk outfit when Terry Rymer bagged his first goal for the Shrimpers, a volley from close range that left Liam Jones grasping at thin air.

Thrower had the opportunity to level the scores before the interval but his spot-kick for an infringement in the area was acrobatically dealt with by Mahoney at full stretch to his left.

Needham made amends two minutes into the second-half when Danny Smy latched on to a threaded pass for the equaliser.

And in a frantic and tense final few minutes, Needham grabbed all three points.

Butler’s firm strike sailed through a gaggle of defenders and an unsighted keeper left the hosts still waiting their first point of the season.

In Ryman League division one north, HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS beat Essex rivals Harlow Town 1-0 to secure their first points of the season.

But MALDON TOWN are still searching for their first win of the season after crashing to a 3-1 defeat at Great Wakering Rovers.