MANAGER Hakan Hayrettin admitted that a number of his Braintree Town players had let themselves down in their FA Trophy replay display at Dulwich Hamlet.
Despite looking the better team for almost an hour of their third round replay in South London, the Iron folded in the latter stages after a farcical own goal put the hosts 2-1 ahead when an attempted clearance by keeper Sam Beasant cannoned off the back of Manny Parry and looped 25 yards into his own net.
Braintree appeared unable to rouse themselves to get back into the game and allowed a team who play their league football two levels lower than them to boss the final 30 minutes.
The fact that Iron full-back Sean Clohessy was sent off for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity only compounded matters and meant they were unable to place themselves in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
Hayrettin said: “We were the better team for about an hour, but unfortunately if you make mistakes in football then you get punished and we got punished.
“We weren’t alive to a situation that arose.
“Is it a fluke how they went two-one up?
“We were then chasing the game but we should have had three or four goals by then.
“However, if you don’t score then you won’t win the game.
“We put some great balls in the box but we didn’t take the opportunities we had and they went up the other end and punished us.
“Fair play to them.
“After we went down to ten men we were chasing it, but take nothing away from Dulwich Hamlet because they are a good team.
“We should be going to places like that and winning, though.
“I said to the players that they had let themselves down in the second half.
“We didn’t react to certain situations and they did.
“We folded really; we went down to ten men, which didn’t help, and we just have to regroup and go again.
“I remember when I first came to the club, we were second from bottom (in the league) and fighting relegation with not enough points on the board.
“I have come in and said I would never be too high with success and never too low with failure.
“This won’t faze me.
“True, Dulwich were the lower ranked team but I have to keep focused and keep the players focused.
“Some of them may not like what I have to say to them and some may think I’m a bit harsh but I have a job to do for Braintree Town Football Club and I’ll do it to the best of my ability.
“We have a long way to go and there are a lot of points to play for.
“This was a one-off competition where the boys could have made a name for themselves but unfortunately after their second goal and we went down to ten men, it was a hard task because they are a good team - it’s as simple as that.
“They took their chances and we didn’t take ours.
“We put the ball in the box a lot more than them and we should have had four or five, but we didn’t take it.”