Braintree Town manager Alan Devonshire hopes it was just a bit of rustiness from his players that saw them lose 3-0 at Lincoln City in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The Iron hadn’t had a game for more than two weeks after seeing consecutive games called off due to waterlogged pitches.
While the Imps’ opener was a fluke own goal, a lack of sharpness was evident in Braintree conceding twice in three minutes at the start of the second half.
Devonshire said: “It was really disappointing as it was our own mistakes that cost us.
“There was a bit of luck to them getting the first goal, but it was quite even after that and we said to them at half-time that we wanted them to keep it tight for the first ten to 15 minutes.
“But we gave them two goals as we went to sleep.
“I hope it was down to rustiness and nothing more.
“I was worried about our lack of match fitness before the game as we are a part-time team and the thing that keeps you fit and sharp is getting games.
“Not having a game for two-and-a-half weeks isn’t the best preparation so hopefully the cobwebs have now been blown away.
“I don’t think the FA Cup game (against Tranmere) was a distraction at all.
“The problem was that we hadn’t played for two-and-a-half weeks.
“We said to the players that they would suffer in the early stages of both halves because of that and even though Lincoln’s league position didn’t reflect it, we were playing a team that were in decent form.”
Compared to the Iron’s starting line-up for their previous game – the 3-2 FA Cup win against Lowestoft – Devonshire opted to make three changes to his back four for the game at Sincil Bank.
With Dean Wells and Sam Habergham recovering from shoulder injuries and Alan Massey available after being cup-tied, they all came back into the defence and, despite the eventual outcome, Devonshire said he had no regrets about making that many alterations.
He added: “I made the changes because there were people who I needed to find things out about.
“Deano’s shoulder was OK and the quicker we can get him back to his top form the better.
“I’ve no regrets about the changes I made.
“I pick sides who I think can get us good results, but it just didn’t work out this time.”
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