Vanarama National League South

Braintree Town will have no fond memories of their Vanarama National League South trip to Welling United as they went down to a disappointing 3-0 defeat.

It compounded the frustration of losing to Hemel Hempstead seven days before and continued a run that has hit the Iron’s hopes of challenging for the league title.

They have won just once in their last seven games and although they held out for a while after seeing Ricky Gabriel dismissed in the first half, conceded three times after the break on another poor day.

There were three changes for Braintree from the side that started the 2-1 defeat by Hemel Hempstead.

They saw returns for Mahrez Bettache, Luke Allen and Roman Michael-Percil, with Marc-Anthony Okoye, Ben Wyatt and Reece Grant dropping to the bench.

The way that game had ended – with a stoppage-time winner for Hemel – was a blow for the Iron and they took a while to find their feet in this game.

Welling’s Joe Healy fired a shot over the bar with just three minutes on the clock and it then took a last-ditch interception from Christian Frimpong to deny Bradley Goldberg a clear run on goal from a lobbed through ball by the hosts.

Goldberg then almost dispossessed Iron keeper Nathan McDonald in a dangerous position and the Wings stayed on top with Christian Nanetti only narrowly missing the target from a corner on 13 minutes.

It was not the start Braintree had been looking for and it went from bad to worse on 26 minutes when Braintree were reduced to ten men.

Things had become heated after Joe Ellul claimed he had been fouled on 21 minutes and five minutes later, Ricky Gabriel was given his marching orders.

Welling’s Callum Driver was booked in the same incident, but being reduced numerically forced a change from the Iron as Wyatt replaced Michael-Percil in a bid to provide more defensive cover.

With the man advantage, though, it was Welling who kept pressing for an opening goal.

Ellul had to make a strong sliding challenge to deny the Wings’ Olimide Durojaye a shooting opportunity and Jon Muleba blocked a goalbound effort by Healy.

However, the half came to a close with the Welling goal under threat.

In time added on, Braintree won a corner and Phil Roberts almost steered a beautiful effort in from outside the box, but there was no break to the deadlock before referee Jason Richards brought an end to the first half.

Welling were quickly back on the attack after the restart, with Jack Parkinson going close for the hosts and Healy then just unable to connect with a dangerous cross into the Iron area.

Braintree had to defend their lines to maintain parity and Wyatt made a strong block from a shot by Jeffrey Monakana, while Frimpong also showed strength with a good challenge.

However, the home tide couldn’t be kept back indefinitely and Welling eventually took the lead in the 61st minute.

The goal came after a foul gave the Wings a free-kick that was driven into the top corner by Driver.

Braintree knew they would have to come at their hosts now and there was nearly an instant reply as Roberts went close to squeezing in a shot from a forward ball by Wyatt.

However, the next strike came from Welling in the 67th minute after McDonald had tipped over a headed effort and, from the resulting corner, Anthony Acheampong forced the ball in.

The game now looked beyond Braintree and the final nail was hammered into their coffin with 13 minutes remaining when Welling substitute Jack Jebb curled a shot into the Iron goal from a wide position.

It set the seal on a disappointing day for the Iron and although Roberts went close twice in the closing minutes, there was to be no joy for them.

Braintree Town: Nathan McDonald, Mahrez Bettache (Reece Grant 70), Ricky Gabriel, Joe Ellul, Christian Frimpong, Jon Muleba, Luke Allen, Billy Crook, Phil Roberts, Roman Michael-Percil (Ben Wyatt 32), Marcel Barrington (Matt Baxter 80).

Subs not used: Marc-Anthony Okoye, Karl Oliyide.

Referee: Jason Richards.