The six-game unbeaten run that had carried Braintree Town past their 50-point Skrill Premier target was ended by a robust challenge at Lincoln City.
A physical Imps side had out-muscled the Iron when they met in the FA Trophy in December and Braintree boss Alan Devonshire admitted they were overpowered in this league meeting that ended 2-0 to the hosts.
The demands of playing four games in a week proved too much for the Iron at Sincil Bank, but Devonshire said that was no excuse and expects to make changes when the two meet again at the Amlin Stadium tomorrow.
He said: “I’ve no complaints, but we’ll see them again on Tuesday.
“They’re hard to play against, but you have to be able to play different ways to win games sometimes.
“I’m not complaining about the way they play.
“It’s difficult to play against and good luck to them.”
The game saw a sending off as the hosts had Kris Bright dismissed for an off-the-ball incident with Braintree’s Matt Paine with ten minutes to go but there was no way back for the Iron as they were already 2-0 down by then.
Tom Miller opened the scoring in the 64th minute goal and a 73rd minute strike from Thierry Audel wrapped it up to end a six-game unbeaten run for Devonshire’s team.
They had got past the 50-point target that Devonshire believes will guarantee their survival this year with a 2-0 win at Forest Green Rovers on Thursday.
Despite the defeat at Lincoln and Braintree dropping a place to 12th in the Skrill Premier table, they are still only five points off the plasy-off positions with five games in hand on fifth-placed FC Halifax.