The Iron responded to going down on two occasions, with Arjanit Krasniqi and Adeoye Yusuff cancelling out goals from Warren Harris and Ben Harris, but the visitors were unable to respond to Bird’s late finish.
The fixture began with both sides looking tame in attack, with Slough trying to back into the swing of matchday proceedings after a month out of action, and Braintree showing caution due to the value three points would make to their season.
But it was a defensive blunder by Braintree that almost presented Slough an early lead. Max Worsfold’s deep free kick evaded everyone in the box before Taofiq Olomowewe’s attempt at a headed clearance almost found the top corner, with the ball being tipped away brilliantly by debutant Jack Giddens.
The visitors responded with a similar push on goal. This time Correy Davidson’s whipped free kick bounced through the Slough back four before being parried away by Jack Turner.
Worsfold produced another testing free kick for the Braintree defence to challenge, but his low driven strike found its way through and forced Giddens into another fine save. The rebound fell to the feet of Ryan Bird, but his effort cannoned off Warren Harris and out for a goal kick.
But on the 39th minute the Rebels had their breakthrough. Ben Harris worked his way down the left before delivering a fantastic cross to Warren Harris, and the forward flicked his effort past Giddens and into the far corner to give Slough the lead.
It took only two minutes for Braintree to find their equaliser through Krasniqi. The attacker piled pressure on Turner’s clearance and the ball ricocheted into an open net moments before half-time.
Slough started the second half with intensity and quickly retook the lead. Josh Jackman’s pinpoint delivery found Ben Harris’ diving header on the edge of the six-yard box to restore the Rebels’ advantage with 57 minutes on the clock.
Braintree again took little time to find an equaliser when Turner was adjudged to have brought down an onrushing Yusuff. The midfielder found the bottom corner despite a heavy touch from Turner to bring the score level once again.
The visitors came close to taking the lead for the first time in the fixture after fantastic defending from Slough prevented a series of attacks from Iron forward Thomas Derry. The attacker’s most notable opportunity came in the 71st minute when his goal-bound header rattled the post before being smothered by Turner.
Both sides felt hopeful of finding a late winner, but it was Bird’s strike that sealed victory for Slough in the dying embers of the match. A loose header fell at the feet of the forward who made no mistake in slotting home from close range to spark scenes of jubilation for the Rebels bench.
The win is the club’s first since the end of October and the crucial three points push Slough up to 18th position.
Report: Daniel Lewis
Braintree Town Line up
Jack Giddens, George Allen (Marcus Johnson-Schuster 70), Kyran Clements, Matt Johnson (c), Taofiq Olomowewe, Arjanit Krasniqi, Johnvile Renee, Jack Thomas, Thomas Derry, Adeoye Yusuff, Correy Davidson. Unused substitutes: Nathan Smith, Percy Kiangebeni, Reece Prestedge, Ken Charles.