9:50pm Tuesday 16th April 2013
By Simon Spurgeon
A 1-1 draw at Wrexham saw Braintree Town rewrite their club’s record books by reaching their highest-ever points total in the top flight of English non-league football.
The point Alan Devonshire’s team earned on their Blue Square Bet Premier trip to Wales took their season’s haul to 63 to surpass last year’s tally of 62 with one game left to play.
Braintree impressed in the first half and shared the spoils with their hosts before the break, but Wrexham were on top in the second 45 minutes.
However, they failed to breach the Iron’s defences a second time as Braintree’s strong end-of-season run continued.
Braintree were buzzing after their win against the then league leaders Mansfield Town at the weekend, but boss Alan Devonshire felt the need to rest a few after their recent exertions.
Out came Matt Paine, Luke Daley and James Mulley from Saturday’s starting line-up and they were replaced by Ryan Peters, Dan Sparkes and Alex Woodyard.
Just eight Iron fans had made the trip to Wales in the official attendance figure of 2,312, which was Wrexham’s lowest of the season.
However, there was plenty to cheer the travelling support in the first half.
Braintree started brightly, but were caught out early when Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell unleashed a shot from just inside the box into the top corner in the third minute.
It might have knocked the Iron’s confidence earlier in the season, but Braintree are made of more resolute stuff now as they showed in the 2-1 win against Mansfield on Saturday.
They held their composure and had far more of the play, forcing six corners in the opening 20 minutes during a spell when Ben Wright pulled them level.
Having received the ball from Woodyard, Wright drilled a low effort into the net from just outside the area for his second goal since coming back to Braintree on loan from Forest Green Rovers.
And the goal was no more than Braintree deserved.
The hosts had plenty of threat going forward as their league position would suggest they should do, but the Iron looked lively, especially Sparkes, who was causing problems down the left flank on his recall to the side.
However, there was a let-off for Braintree just before half-time when Brett Ormerod guided a header over the bar when well-placed inside the six-yard box.
It was all to play for after the break, but it was the hosts who got into their stride first.
Wrexham substitute Bradley Reid thought he had regained the lead for his team early after in the half, but his left-foot shot lacked pace and allowed a clearance by Alan Massey off the line.
Nathan McDonald then made a great save from a fierce shot by Morrell a few minutes later as the hosts got on top and upped the tempo.
Johnny Hunt had a great opportunity to give his side the lead their second-half play had deserved, but he pulled his shot just past the post from 12 yards out.
Braintree just weren’t able to reproduce their performance of the first half as the Welsh side continually pushed them back and real pressure on the home goal was a rarity for much of the half.
It was a brighter finish to the game from the Iron, but there were no more goals as it ended 1-1.
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