SOUTHEND Manor manager Stuart Marshall could not fault his ‘outstanding’ players after they upset to odds to knock Braintree Town out of the Essex Senior Cup.

Goals from Jamie Brown and Jacob Cleaver ensured a 2-1 win at Cressing Road in the third round against the leaders of the National League South, who play three tiers higher in the pyramid.

Marshall told the Echo on Tuesday that avoiding a heavy defeat was important ahead of Manor’s bid to climb the Essex Senior League table.

Instead he is celebrating arguably his finest result as manager, and he said he was pleased for his players.

“It is a brilliant result for the club,” said Marshall. “Braintree had eight players in the squad last night that were in their squad on Saturday so it was a very tough opponent.

“I selected a defensive team to start with and, although they scored early, we were the better side, without really creating anything. It was 1-0 at half-time and I said to the players that the game was still there for them and to keep going.

“We changed to a more attacking shape at half-time and Jamie Brown scored a very good equaliser for us. In the last 10 minutes there was only one side that was going to win it.”

Former Billericay Town winger Roman Michael-Percil put The Iron ahead after just nine minutes, slotting underneath goalkeeper Russ Harley.

Both sides had changes to score, before the hosts were struck a blow when goalkeeper Harry Aldridge was forced off with 15 minutes to go, with outfield players Charlie Webb donning the gloves.

Brown equalised five minutes later before Cleaver profited from a defensive mistake in injury-time to send Manor through.

And Marshall has now called on his team to build on the result, with a trip to Sawbridgeworth Town coming on Saturday.

“It was a good performance but we need to kick on from that now. We need to take that into the league now,” he said. “We need that consistency as we were very poor on Saturday (against Redbridge) but very good against Braintree.

“The lads said I was miserable after the win but I told them, to be honest, that Saturday is more important for me.

“But they were buzzing afterwards and they should be. This shows we can match anyone on our day and can compete with most in this competition.

“I would love another big team away from home in the next round now, we will have tow ait and see.”