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.

Luton's remaining fixtures

  • Sat 19 Apr: Welling (a)
  • Mon 21 Apr: Forest Green (h)
  • Sat 26 Apr: Hyde (a)

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.

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."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Luton Town

  • 01 Tyler
  • 02 Franks Booked
  • 25 Henry
  • 05 McNulty
  • 12 Griffiths
  • 11 Howells
  • 23 Robinson (Ruddock Mpanzu - 60' )
  • 07 Lawless (Rooney - 13' )
  • 19 McGeehan
  • 13 Cullen
  • 26 Benson

Substitutes

  • 09 Shaw
  • 16 Justham
  • 15 Rooney (Wall - 60' Booked )
  • 10 Wall
  • 43 Ruddock Mpanzu

Braintree Town

  • 20 Hamann Dismissed
  • 19 Wells
  • 05 Paine
  • 03 Habergham
  • 15 Massey
  • 04 Isaac (Laurent - 77' )
  • 26 Mulley Booked
  • 11 Sparkes
  • 22 Cox Booked (Jakubiak - 83' )
  • 10 Holman (McDonald - 31' )
  • 02 Peters

Substitutes

  • 12 Daley
  • 23 Laurent
  • 01 McDonald
  • 27 Jakubiak
  • 14 Carney
Ref: Lee Swabey
Att: 10,020

Match Stats

Shots

11 5

On target

3 4

Corners

0 0

Fouls

13 12

Live Text Commentary

+7:00 Full time

Full Time Match ends, Luton Town 2, Braintree Town 3.

90:00 +6:00 Full time

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

90:00 +5:48

Foul by Alex Wall (Luton Town).

90:00 +5:48

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

90:00 +5:32

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

90:00 +4:37

Foul by Fraser Franks (Luton Town).

90:00 +4:37

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

90:00 +2:17

Corner, Luton Town.

90:00 +2:02

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

90:00 +1:41

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

90:00 +0:54 Booking

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

90:00 +0:35

Foul by Fraser Franks (Luton Town).

90:00 +0:35

Alex Jakubiak (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

88:54

Corner, Luton Town.

88:40

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

86:40

Foul by Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town).

86:40

Daniel Sparkes (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

85:07

Foul by Alex Wall (Luton Town).

85:07

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

84:50

Corner, Luton Town.

84:33

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

82:22 Substitution

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

78:16 Booking

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

78:11

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

76:48 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Braintree Town. Josh Laurent replaces Chez Isaac.

71:56

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

69:39

Foul by Sam Habergham (Braintree Town).

69:39

Mark Cullen (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

68:11

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

68:11

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

66:56 Booking

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

65:23

Foul by Alex Wall (Luton Town).

65:23

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

64:08 Goal scored

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

61:41 Goal scored

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.

60:53

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

59:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Luton Town. Pelly Ruddock replaces Matt Robinson.

59:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Luton Town. Alex Wall replaces Luke Rooney.

59:28

Foul by Jordan Cox (Braintree Town).

59:28

Steve McNulty (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

58:44

Attempt saved. Jordan Cox (Braintree Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved.

57:19

Hand ball by Matt Paine (Braintree Town).

55:43 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Luton Town 0, Braintree Town 3. Chez Isaac (Braintree Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jordan Cox.

51:46

Foul by Chez Isaac (Braintree Town).

51:46

Luke Rooney (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

50:36

Corner, Luton Town.

50:24

Corner, Luton Town.

50:07

Corner, Luton Town.

49:32

Paul Benson (Luton Town) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

45:00

Second Half begins Luton Town 0, Braintree Town 2.

45:00 +2:15 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Luton Town 0, Braintree Town 2.

45:00 +1:46

Corner, Luton Town.

45:00 +1:11 Booking

Booking James Mulley (Braintree Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

45:00 +1:00

Hand ball by James Mulley (Braintree Town).

45:00 +0:01

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

45:00 +0:01

Alan Massey (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

44:30

Foul by Daniel Sparkes (Braintree Town).

44:30

Luke Rooney (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

43:47

Attempt saved. Matt Robinson (Luton Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved. Assisted by Scott Griffiths.

43:18

Foul by James Mulley (Braintree Town).

43:18

Scott Griffiths (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

41:34

Foul by Paul Benson (Luton Town).

41:34

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

41:09

Foul by Jordan Cox (Braintree Town).

41:09

Ron Henry (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

36:04

Foul by Steve McNulty (Luton Town).

36:04

Jordan Cox (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

35:29

Attempt missed. Fraser Franks (Luton Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

32:04

Attempt missed. Scott Griffiths (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jake Howells.

31:41

Attempt blocked. Jake Howells (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

30:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Braintree Town. Nathan McDonald replaces Dan Holman.

29:40 Dismissal

Dismissal Nick Hamann (Braintree Town) is shown the red card for a bad foul.

29:19

Foul by Nick Hamann (Braintree Town).

29:19

Paul Benson (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

28:43

Foul by Luke Rooney (Luton Town).

28:43

James Mulley (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

27:28

Offside, Luton Town. Paul Benson tries a through ball, but Paul Benson is caught offside.

25:20

Foul by Ryan Peters (Braintree Town).

25:20

Jake Howells (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

20:29 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Luton Town 0, Braintree Town 2. James Mulley (Braintree Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Dan Holman with a cross.

15:28 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Luton Town 0, Braintree Town 1. Dean Wells (Braintree Town) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Daniel Sparkes with a cross.

15:02

Corner, Braintree Town.

14:37

Corner, Braintree Town.

13:45

Offside, Luton Town. Paul Benson tries a through ball, but Paul Benson is caught offside.

12:58 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Luton Town. Luke Rooney replaces Alex Lawless because of an injury.

9:49

Offside, Luton Town. Alex Lawless tries a through ball, but Alex Lawless is caught offside.

6:03

Corner, Luton Town.

2:15

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

2:15

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

1:45

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

1:45

Dean Wells (Braintree Town) wins a free kick.

1:21

Foul by Chez Isaac (Braintree Town).

1:21

Matt Robinson (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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