BRAINTREE Town boss Ryan Maxwell was frustrated his side were denied a penalty in their 2-0 home defeat against St Albans City, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron came up against an in-form, well organised and experienced visiting outfit who over the 90 minutes, were just the better side and probably deserved the points.

But the turning points in the game at the Dunmow Group Stadium came in two crucial first-half moments.

Braintree, pressing from the kick-off and showing far more commitment, endeavour and effort than in recent games, were denied what looked like a quite blatant penalty on 24 minutes when Femi Akinwande, charging through the visiting defence in their area saw the ball clearly hit the hand of a St Albans defender.

It seemed to deny Akinwande his run on with the ball towards goal but referee Jason Richardson simply waved protests away with his nearby assistant also ignoring the appeals, claiming it hit the player on the chest.

Maxwell said: "It was a clear handball and penalty to us and I cannot understand such a refereeing decision.

"We should have had a spot-kick and had we scored, it would have given us a deserved lead at that stage.

"Also going 1-0 up would have given our lads a tremendous confidence boost and I believe we could have gone on to have won the game.

"Such obvious wrong decisions have been going against us of late and I terribly disappointed because it in effect turned the game.

"I have to be honest and say the standard of refereeing we are experiencing this season so far has overall been very poor and I would add these officials to that list.

"Nothing though ever seems to be done about it and it obviously has a detrimental effect on a game and clearly players naturally become frustrated. It's all about fine margins as we know."

Braintree found themselves a goal down on 34 minutes when St Albans top-scorer Shaun Jeffers was fouled in the area by Jay Porter and he picked himself up to fire home the resultant spot-kick.

Maxwell added: "We then picked ourselves up and I think came back strongly at them and we had chances and even half chances which at this level you simply have to take one or two and we should have been on equal terms into the second half.

"We were forced to make a change at half-time with Luke Holness having to go off but the boys battled on and tried hard to get themselves back on level terms.

"We knew it would be a tight game against them so we tried hard to overcome this by keeping the pressure on because they like to stroll about and take all the time in the world, particularly when they are in the lead."