BRAD Quinton admitted that his team’s poor performance at Brackley Town was one that had caught him by surprise.

The Braintree Town manager said he was so disappointed by his players’ collective display that he found it tough to look them in the eye in the immediate aftermath of the game as they tumbled out of the FA Cup in ignominious fashion.

It denied the Iron a place in the fourth qualifying round - when they would have faced old Essex foes Billericay Town had they got through - and Quinton said it was a defeat that had been tough to come to terms with.

He said: “The players will have a tough week to make sure we correct it.

“I never saw it coming.

“We worked hard for two weeks preparing for it so we knew the way they would come at us; we had them watched and we knew they get the ball out wide, put in crosses and are strong to the second ball, but all four goals came from crosses.

“Our players just weren’t switched on and I think for some of the young ones, the occasion got to them.

“We had chances to pull the trigger in front of goal, but we opted to take another touch or get another pass away rather than work their keeper.

“It’s tough for me to take and I couldn’t look at them afterwards.

“Every game so far, we have created chances, but we had one shot on target - that we scored from.

“It was very disappointing for me personally as a manager.”

The Iron boss laid the blame for the defeat with his players, adding that he and his coaching staff had prepped them thoroughly on how Brackley would come at them and ways to counter that.

He said the game panned out how they had expected, but the Braintree players just failed to react in teh way they had been instructed.

“The information was there how Brackley would play,” added Quinton.

“In the sessions leading up to the game, we had analysed them thoroughly; how they got the ball out wide early, how they attacked the ball and took chances, but all four goals came that way.

“I feel we did all we could to prepare our boys and give them the platform to win the game, but they didn’t follow it through.

“I work hard seven days a week, but it comes down to the players to perform on the pitch and they can’t be happy with that performance.

“But it has happened and we have to be honest with ourselves because that wasn’t acceptable.”

Following Saturday’s league trip to Gloucester City, the Iron are then due to host Southend Manor in the Essex Senior Cup third round at the Ironmongery Direct Satdium on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm)