National League
Luton2Braintree3

Luton Town 2-3 Braintree Town

Dean Wells heads Braintree into the lead

Ten-man Braintree held off a Luton fightback to delay their promotion back to the Football League.

Luton would have won the Conference Premier title with a win but Dean Wells and James Mulley put the Iron 2-0 up in 21 minutes.

Visiting keeper Nick Hamann was sent off before the break but Chez Isaac slotted home a third before Luton's Jake Howells scored from the spot.

Alex Wall struck from the edge of the area but they could not force another.

The Hatters are 10 points clear of second-placed Cambridge having played one more game than the U's but Richard Money's side - following a 7-2 defeat of Hyde - must win against Kidderminster and Lincoln in the next six days to keep their title challenge alive.

A total of 10,020 fans packed out Kenilworth Road, with most hoping to see their team get the victory they needed to win promotion after five years in non-league.

However, missing 27-goal top scorer Andre Gray through injury, Luton fell behind early on when Wells rose highest to head home a Daniel Sparkes corner.

It got worse for the hosts with the play-off chasing Iron scoring from their next attack through Mulley's finish from Dan Holman's cross.

The Hatters, who had lost just once at home all season, were handed a lifeline before the break when visiting keeper Hamann was given a straight red card after needlessly charging out of his area and fouling Paul Benson.

Alan Devonshire's side were defending admirably and scored a third goal against the run of play in the second half when Isaac was left one-on-one with home defender Steve McNulty and kept his cool to finish well.

Just when it looked like the game was beyond Luton, visiting defender Ryan Peters was adjudged to have handled in the area and Howells scored confidently from the penalty spot.

The goal reinvigorated the home crowd and Wall's powerful strike took a deflection to fly into the back of the net and make it 3-2 with over 25 minutes to play.

Mark Cullen came close to levelling when his shot hit a post as John Still's side poured forward.

The Hatters failed to force replacement keeper Nathan McDonald into any more action of note but their promotion is surely still a matter of time.

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Luton Town boss John Still on Braintree loss

Luton manager John Still told BBC Three Counties Radio:

"I don't think we played well enough to win. I thought we were poor first half, better second half, but not enough to win.

"We scored two goals from home today, and not got anything from it. That's disappointing because normally if we scored two goals we would have got something.

"2-0 down is tough. 3-0 down is even tougher. I think we just had people out of position. When you're 3-0 down you don't give yourself a chance.

"I think our organisation and discipline let us down today. I'm the manager, I have to take a bit of responsibility. I set it out, if people haven't followed it, perhaps I haven't done my job properly."

Line-ups

Luton

  • 1Tyler
  • 2FranksBooked at 90mins
  • 25Henry
  • 5McNulty
  • 12Griffiths
  • 11Howells
  • 23RobinsonSubstituted forRuddock Mpanzuat 60'minutes
  • 7LawlessSubstituted forRooneyat 13'minutesSubstituted forWallat 60'minutesBooked at 67mins
  • 19McGeehan
  • 13Cullen
  • 26Benson

Substitutes

  • 9Shaw
  • 16Justham
  • 15Rooney
  • 10Wall
  • 43Ruddock Mpanzu

Braintree

  • 20HamannBooked at 30mins
  • 19Wells
  • 5Paine
  • 3Habergham
  • 15Massey
  • 4IsaacSubstituted forLaurentat 77'minutes
  • 26MulleyBooked at 45mins
  • 11Sparkes
  • 22CoxBooked at 79minsSubstituted forJakubiakat 83'minutes
  • 10HolmanSubstituted forMcDonaldat 31'minutes
  • 2Peters

Substitutes

  • 12Daley
  • 23Laurent
  • 1McDonald
  • 27Jakubiak
  • 14Carney
Referee:
Lee Swabey
Attendance:
10,020

Match Stats

Home TeamLutonAway TeamBraintree
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home11
Away5
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home0
Away0
Fouls
Home13
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Luton Town 2, Braintree Town 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Luton Town 2, Braintree Town 3.

Foul by Alex Wall (Luton Town).

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Offside, Braintree Town. Matt Paine tries a through ball, but Matt Paine is caught offside.

Foul by Fraser Franks (Luton Town).

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Corner, Luton Town.

Attempt blocked. Alex Wall (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Daniel Sparkes (Braintree Town) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Fraser Franks (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Fraser Franks (Luton Town).

Alex Jakubiak (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Corner, Luton Town.

Attempt blocked. Scott Griffiths (Luton Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Foul by Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town).

Daniel Sparkes (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Foul by Alex Wall (Luton Town).

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Corner, Luton Town.

Attempt blocked. Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Braintree Town. Alex Jakubiak replaces Jordan Cox because of an injury.

Booking

Jordan Cox (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Offside, Braintree Town. Jordan Cox tries a through ball, but Jordan Cox is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Braintree Town. Josh Laurent replaces Chez Isaac.

Mark Cullen (Luton Town) hits the woodwork with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

Foul by Sam Habergham (Braintree Town).

Mark Cullen (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Booking

Alex Wall (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card for dissent.

Foul by Alex Wall (Luton Town).

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

Goal!

Goal! Luton Town 2, Braintree Town 3. Alex Wall (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Luton Town 1, Braintree Town 3. Jake Howells (Luton Town) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Penalty conceded by Ryan Peters (Braintree Town) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. Pelly Ruddock replaces Matt Robinson.

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. Alex Wall replaces Luke Rooney.

Foul by Jordan Cox (Braintree Town).

Steve McNulty (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

goal

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