BRAINTREE Town's seven-match unbeaten run was ended after they lost 1-0 at Dulwich Hamlet, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron were beaten at the Champion Hill Stadium but not without a fantastic second-half fightback where had they been a little more clinical in front of goal they would have returned home with at least a deserved point, in National League South.

Braintree manager Ryan Maxwell although pleased with his team's overall performance against the play-off contenders also concurred that it was in that final third where they let themselves down.

Maxwell said: "It was disappointing not to come away with a draw because we more than compete against them, greatly improved in the second and overall we should have drawn the game.

"But everyone knows that it such a fine margin at times between winning and losing and that was certainly the case in this game.

"It was a really close game which we expected and in all honesty it could have gone either way.

"They created one really good chance in the first half and scored what was a good goal which just gave them an edge at that time but we came back strongly although in the end it turned out to be the winner.

"But I am proud with the way my players performed against one of the leading sides in the league and we put them under considerable pressure at the back, particularly in the second half, but we just had that little bit of missing out at the death where we need to be more clinical in front of the opposition goal."


Maxwell was forced to change his starting line-up, with promising young full-back Matt Moloney on loan from Luton now out with a broken foot for the season.

He brought in Ola Williams to fill the gap and Maxwell said: "We continue to improve as a team and I'm really satisfied with the amount of commitment and endeavour from every player.

"Both Khale Da Costa and Luke Pennell had to come off after suffering from bad knocks but their respective replacements Stefan Ilic and Jalen Jones did well to get straight into the game - it was Jalen's debut too."

Another newcomer to the squad is Jean-Baptiste Fischer, an attacking midfield player who has come on loan from Wycombe Wanderers for the rest of the season yet he remained on the bench in this game.

The only goal of the game came on 28 minutes from the home side's diminutive winger Darren McQueen.

It has to be said it was an excellent goal, with the youngster hitting a rising shot from outside the area into the top far corner of the net giving Iron keeper Billy Johnson no chance.

Although at times it was a scrappy game, Braintree more than held their own.


In the first half both Luke Holness and Gianni Crichlow fired great shots in on the home goal which were parried away by keeper Charlie Grainger.

The second half saw the Iron continue to press hard but for all their good build up and hard work it was that final ball in the danger area that was all too often missing.

Twice in the second both Crichlow and Illic were crudely brought down when skipping free into the home half in what were blatant professional fouls.

And although the culprits were booked, it denied Braintree of a possible equaliser on both occasions.

The only black mark for the Iron on the day was a second yellow card and a sending off for Alfie Payne four minutes from time.

Yet despite being one man down late on, Braintree put even more pressure on the home rearguard.

But the hosts held out, even in the six minutes of added time from referee Isaac Searle.

Next up for the Iron is a home game against Slough on Tuesday at the Dunmow Group Stadium, 7.45pm kick-off.

Braintree Town: Johnson; Williams, Porter, Clements, Pennell (72 Jones); Johnson, Crichlow, Payne, Da Costa (31 Illic); Conteh (60 Noel-Williams), Holness. Unused subs Davidson, Baptiste-Fischer.

Attendance: 2,705.