HEYBRIDGE Swifts will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing one of non-league football’s biggest sides after booking their place in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

It has been an extraordinary start to the season for Jody Brown’s team, who have lost just once in the Bostik League division north this year and are carrying that form into the cup as well.

Their latest success came as they beat Somerset side Frome Town – of the Evo-Stik Southern League premier division – 2-1 in the third qualifying round at Scraley Road.

And with National League top-flight sides now set to enter the competition, Swifts could find themselves facing a former Football League club like Tranmere Rovers or Hartlepool United.

It will make Monday’s fourth qualifying round draw interesting viewing for Heybridge and their fans but they by no means fluked their place in the next stage.

In front of a crowd of 244 at Scraley Road, Swifts deserved their victory against the Robins.

Harrison Chatting went close with a shot just past the post, before Juan Luque did give them the lead in the 30th minute as he curled an effort through a scrum of bodies and into the net.

It was a lead that Swifts held on to until half-time, and they had chances to stretch it after the restart as Sam Bantick fired over and Frome keeper Kyle Phillips saved well from Luque.

However, as the game headed into its closing stages, Frome, who play their league football at a level higher than their hosts, got an equaliser.

Heybridge, who had earned their third qualifying round place thanks to a penalty shootout win at the end of 120 minutes of football in a replay against Met Police on Tuesday, were left looking at the prospect of another replay.

But there were no such worries on this occasion as, following Chas Hemmings’ 74th minute equaliser, Swifts hit straight back with a goal that proved to be the winner.

Bantick was their hero as he fired home in the 78th minute and, with their lead back intact, Heybridge saw out the final 12 minutes to spark the cup celebrations.

Meanwhile, there wasn’t such good news for Braintree Town as a 4-1 defeat at Brackley Town ensured the Iron would miss out on a place in the fourth qualifying round draw.

They had featured in the first round proper every year for the past five, but won’t this season after finding themselves outclassed at the Vanarama National League North side.

It wasn’t the first FA Cup meeting between these two clubs as they had clashed in September 2006, when Brackley won 2-0 and they got the better of their Essex opponents again this time.

Braintree made one change from the side that started the 5-0 Vanarama National League South win against Hungerford Town seven days before, with Ben Wyatt replaced by Tyler Campbell.

However, things started going wrong for the Iron early on.

Goalkeeper Nathan McDonald was called into action with just four minutes on the clock and made a double save, but he was unable to repel the hosts a third time as Glen Walker fired Brackley ahead.

With their lead in the bag, the home side stayed on top and Alex Goodger hit the post in the 31st minute as their advantage remained until half-time.

It may have been a slender lead, but the tie was beyond Braintree after 21 minutes of the second half.

First, Luke Graham headed in from a 55th minute corner, then a poor clearance was punished as Ellis Myles drilled an effort into the corner of the goal two minutes later.

And when Aaron Williams headed into an open goal in the 66th minute, the game was up for the visitors.

They did give their travelling supporters something to cheer when Karl Oliyide fired in a goal from 20 yards with ten minutes remaining, but it was just a consolation for the Iron as they bowed out of the cup.