Braintree Town are a team you’d be convinced we’d played many before times during our life as a non-league club. Not so. We somehow managed to keep ourselves apart year after year; meeting just once in a competitive game as of 2020. And that was back a quarter of a century, courtesy of our 3-1 victory in the 1996-7 FA Cup Third Qualifying Round. We did meet in a summer 2020 friendly, however. It was played behind closed doors due the coronavirus thing.
So, we’ll have to wait for a repeat of our 1985-6 Eastern Floodlit League Semi-Final Second Leg. After a 1-1 stalemate at their gaff in the first leg, the second must still rank as one of the highest-scoring games in Boro’ history. Of course, that doesn’t count 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.
Braintree Town: The Facts
The Avanti Stadium
Clockhouse Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3RD
The Iron have a good few years behind them; formed when the 1800s were still a thing. To be precise, the Essex side was born 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.
Why did we manage to avoid them for so long? Well, the Iron were members of the Eastern Counties League; winning the title in 1984 and 1985. They also finished as runners-up on four different occasions between 1987 and 1991. That last year is an important one; 1991 being the year in which they left the Eastern Counties League behind. Moving into the Southern League, they were still in the wrong competition to us. But it was sort of a step closer?
How to get to Braintree Town – Travel Information – Distance: 42 miles
Head out of Stevenage on the A602 to Ware, switching to the A10 north and then A120 east at Standon. Continue on the A120 through to Stansted Airport and on further past Great Dunmow. Eventually, you’ll reach the edge of Braintree.
Once you come to a roundabout with McDonald’s and the Freeport retail park, take the first exit for Cressing Road. Turn left after 0.7 miles for the stadium.
The club’s own car park is modest in size and costs a couple of quid. Otherwise, make use of street parking.
Services to: LONDON LIVERPOOL STREET
Leave the station, turning right onto Station Approach and follow it around to the left. Go straight on across South Street, before turning right into Trinovantian Way; following this around to the right onto Manor Street.
This becomes Lakes Road and, where it kinks on the left, go down here onto Chapel Hill; latterly Cressing Road. Follow the road around to the right and the ground itself will be on the right shortly after.
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