A dominant Pools were denied their first win of the season in agonising fashion as Braintree Town snatched an injury-time leveller at Cressing Road on Tuesday night.
Matthew Bates’ men looked all set to collect three points after Niko Muir snatched his second goal for the Club midway through the first half as Pools turned in their best display of the season.
However, with three of four added minutes played Town managed to find a route through to goal and front man Mohamed Bettamer gleefully rifled home a leveller to break Pools hearts.
Bates had made four changes to the side which started in the weekend defeat to Ebbsfleet United, bringing Myles Anderson in to defence to replace the injured Andrew Davies and restoring Ryan Donaldson, Nicky Featherstone and Michael Woods to a five-man midfield.
The shape allowed Liam Noble and Wood to bomb on and offer good support to front two Muir and Luke James who looked a threat all night against the National League new boys.
Pools sounded a warning shot within minutes of the first whistle when Noble bent a free-kick just wide of the post after a neat one-two with Woods had shifted the angle for the midfield star.
Noble – wearing the captain’s armband – had an even better chance on nine minutes when James was set free by Muir before being tripped in the penalty area but Noble’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by keeper Ben Killip low to his right.
For a few minutes the setback affected Pools and the hosts almost took advantage to open the scoring but Christie Pattison dragged his shot wide after a rare foray in to the attacking third.
Midway through the first half Pools did make good of their dominance by scoring a beautifully-worked opening goal. Donaldson did well to work the ball out wide right to Noble who whipped a looping cross to the far post which was knocked down by Kitching to Muir who prodded home from close range.
Kitching could have doubled the lead not long after when he got on the end of another right-wing cross but this time his header drew a brilliant reaction save from Killip.
Woods then brilliantly anticipated a square ball in the midfield area and skipped through one-on-one with the keeper who again came out on top, making himself big to smother the shot.
And a one-sided first period came to a close after Donaldson had further tested the home keeper with a low shot from twenty-five yards which he did well to push away.
The second half set off with a similar pattern with Featherstone slipping a ball through to Muir on the right edge of the area but this time the striker couldn’t manufacture a clean strike and his shot hit the side netting.
Bettamer let fly with a shot as The Iron produced a counter-attack, while substitute Irnti Rapai added some threat but fired a shot wide shortly after coming off the bench.
Noble’s right-wing corner was then met strongly by Peter Kioso but the header grazed the side netting on its way wide as Pools got back on the front foot.
Woods was then released on the end of some more great interplay between Muir and James but scooped his shot too high, whilst the front two combined to provide the midfielder with an even better chance a minute later but he sent it agonisingly wide.
Noble hit a free-kick in to the wall and the follow-up wide as Pools looked to see the game out before Luke Allen sent a warning by volleying a Braintree effort just wide of the left-hand post with Scott Loach scrambling.
The long journey for fans and players looked set to be rewarded until the final seconds when Town produced perhaps their most incisive move of the night to free Bettamer on the right of the area and the striker made no mistake with a crisp finish.
Full Time: Braintree Town 1 Pools 1
Booked: Kitching (34), Newton (6)
Braintree Town: Killip, Muleba, Webber, Durojaiye (Della Verde 70), Clark, Hill (Frimpong 22), Allen, Rowe (Rapai 55), Lyons-Foster, Bettamer, Pattisson.
Subs Not Used: Bettache, Ochieng.
Pools: Loach, Kioso, Magnay, Anderson, Donaldson, Featherstone, Woods (Newton 68), Noble (McLaughlin 90), Kitching, Muir, James (Cassidy 85).
Subs Not Used: Laing, Dinanga.