Braintree Town’s play-offs hopes hit in defeat at St Albans
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
National League South St Albans City 2 Braintree Town 1 The Iron’s chances of making the end of season play-offs are slow ebbing away after this defeat at Clarence Park on Easter Monday in a game with three points dropped against one of their main promotion rivals, writes David Ward.
The Iron dominated the first half, missed several goal scoring chances and only defender John Hill’s curling shot into the top far corner of the net after only 90 seconds gave them a slender one goal lead at the interval.
As so often this season the Iron were to pay for these lost chances in the second half when the home side rallied, Iron players began to sit deeper inviting them forward while the closing down and chasing back from Iron players in the first half was sadly missing.
They paid the price on 59 minutes when the home side equalised with clearly a move worked out before on the training pitch.
A low, right wing corner from David Noble to the edge of the Iron area saw Paul Merson run in unchallenged to fired the ball into the net past keeper Nathan McDonald.
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With renewed confidence the home push forward and with the previously solid Iron back line looking uncomfortable and static they had a lucky escape on 69 minutes when James Sendles-White saw his low shot come off the post with the defence all at sea.
The inevitable home side winner came though on 85 minutes with another well worked piece that again saw Merson race into the Iron box again unmarked to slide the ball home from close range past McDonald.
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In the dying moment the Iron pushed hard for an equaliser but they never really threatened the home defence and with three more points lost, a play-off place now looks a remote hope.
Manager Brad Quinton said: “We will still keep working hard and keep our commitment and determination going to try and make the play-offs.
“It’s still possible but we need to now gain maximum points in our remaining games and hope others drop points on the way.”