City suffer extra-time play-off heartbreak

City exited the National League South play-offs at the first hurdle this evening thanks to solitary Braintree Town goal a couple of minutes from the end of extra-time.

The first half was an understandably cagey affair, with the hosts shading the possession but rarely troubling City’s well-marshalled back line. It wasn’t until the 35th minute that neat play down the Braintree left saw Blair find space in the City box but his shot was well saved by Will Buse. City were restricted to a couple of half chances so the game reached the break goalless.

The game began to open up into the second half with Ewan Clark looking a threat down the right flank. Cody Cooke and Tom Smith saw goalbound efforts blocked  The home side responded well with several long range shots that failed to trouble Buse before another Smith shot was deflected away for a corner. Cooke then saw a late header fly narrowly wide and the game went into extra time.

This began with Scott Wilson finding space on the edge of the box but he blazed a shot high over the bar. Both sides continued to press for a winner, Lamb sending a shot narrowly over for the Iron then Jack Batten seeing his header drift wide. Seven minutes from time keeper Sims produced a great save at this near post to deny Isaac Vassell and it looked like the game would be decided on penalties. However, with just two minutes left Davis’ low cross was fired home from close range by Blackwell to send Braintree through.