Eastbourne Borough concluded their National League South campaign with a battling 3-2 win at play-off bound Braintree Town.

It was a performance that summed up Borough’s character in recent months as they fought to turn their season around, and Adam Murray’s side never gave up in Essex.

Braintree drew level against the Sports as the clock edged to 90 minutes, and despite having a man sent off Imran Uche’s first goal of the season in stoppage time gave Borough victory.

That came despite the Sports ending with nine men with Brad Barry shown a straight red card.

Murray named the same starting line up from the draw at Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday night, with the point enough to seal Borough’s survival from the drop after Taunton’s defeat on Thursday to the same opposition.

The Sports started on the front foot in Essex, with Yahya Bamba looking lively down the left. His cross was just headed away from Matt Green at the far post, before the winger teed up Alfie Bendle on the edge of the area but his low drive was parried away by Jack Sims.

Braintree started the day in fourth – and could have finished anywhere from second to fifth come full-time. It took time for the hosts to get going, but signs were there when Jayden Davis fired over the bar before Freddie Sears should have done better with just Harrison Foulkes to beat, but his attempted lob went straight into the arms of the Borough keeper.

However, the former West Ham and Ipswich Town forward made amends with nineteen minutes on the clock. Sears played the ball through to Davis who broke down the left, before teeing up the striker whose first-time finish picked out the far bottom corner.

Borough looked to get back into the game, but found chances hard to come by. A loose pass back from Trent Rendall almost caught Sims out, before the keeper did well to claw Bendle’s corner away from under his own crossbar.

And the Sports drew level just before half-time. Bendle’s corner wasn’t cleared at the far post and the ball dropped to Bamba ten yards out and he hit a superb half-volley into the top corner.

After the game, Murray admitted a few harsh words were said at half-time and they looked to have the desired effect. Bamba picked out David Sesay who saw a shot held by Sims, before the Sports went in front.

Bamba continued to be a dangerous outlet and he drove down the left before cutting the ball across to Bendle, and his low shot through a crowd of players beat Sims for his first goal for the Sports.

Bendle then almost became the provider when his free-kick picked out the run of Pierce Bird, but his header went just over.

But back came the hosts. Joe Grimwood saw his looping header well tipped over by Foulkes, before Sesay was on the line to clear Rendall’s header off the line from the resulting corner.

As the game headed into the final ten minutes, Borough were dealt a blow when Bamba was shown a second yellow card.

But despite that, the Sports looked to be holding out for all three points until the hosts fought back as the clock edged towards 90 minutes.

Lewis Miccio was given room to deliver the ball in from the left and he picked out Grimwood at the far post, whose header gave Foulkes no chance as it found the top corner.

The board showed eight minutes of stoppage time, and just when you thought Borough’s backs would be against the wall, they fought back.

Beard floated in a corner to the far post and Bird’s downward header back across goal picked out an unmarked Uche, and the substitute drove the ball home from six yards out for his first goal all season.

But there was still time for more drama. Skipper Barry was shown a straight red card by referee Tommy Breen and Borough were reduced to nine men with three minutes to go.

And the Iron had one last chance. A corner ran to Baris Altintop at the far post, and his cross back in found Grimwood at the far post. After taking a touch, his low effort beat Foulkes but Beard was on the line to block as Borough saw out the game to win at Braintree for the first time in the club’s history.