Boro’ have taken on their fair share of opponents down the years and some of those teams have simply been no more than passing acquaintances, while there are others that have become – well – annoyingly familiar. For all the many times we’ve faced teams like Woking, there have been rare match-ups too. So, we’re asking, where do Braintree Town stand in the grand scheme of things?
Braintree Town: Us And Them
The Iron have a good few years behind them, having been formed when the 1800s were still a thing. To be precise, the Essex outfit was formed in 1898 as Manor Works – the works team of the Crittall Window Company. It’s where the club’s nickname was picked up, much like other historic names Crittall Athletic (1921) and Braintree and Crittall Athletic (1968). Not ’til 1981 were their ties to Crittall finally knocked on the head.
By the time our paths crossed for the first time in 1986, Braintree Town had been, well, Braintree Town for three seasons – maybe they felt those two seasons as plain old Braintree didn’t feel right? It was an Eastern Floodlit League Semi-Final that put us head-to-head, and it ended up being a pretty some affair – even if the 1-1 stalemate at their gaff in the first leg doesn’t make it seem that way on paper looking back as we do.
The second leg was where it was at.
It must still rank as one of the highest-scoring games in Boro’ history, not that it counts for much given we were on the wrong end of the scoreline. Despite a brace from Danny Dance and efforts too from Ricky Marshall and Martin Gittings, our hopes of Eastern Floodlit League glory were sunk by the 4-5 reverse at Broadhall Way. We’d get our revenge, though, with a 3-1 FA Cup win in 1996 en-route to a date with Birmingham City.
Still, it almost feels odd that we never bumped into them as we climbed the league ladder. It owes much to the fact that our chums from Braintree stuck it out in the Eastern Counties League until 1991. The Iron joined the Southern League and then, in 1996, the Isthmian League. It’s only since the turn of the century – this one, obviously, that the gap between both our respective positions in the pyramid really started to close up.
And with the Iron fifth in the Conference right now, is a first league meeting on the cards for next season?
BoroGuide’s Braintree Town club profile – for old time’s sake…