Vanarama National League

A rare moment of quality from hosts Aldershot Town in the closing stages of their Vanarama National League encounter denied Braintree Town the chance to extend their unbeaten run under caretaker manager Hakan Hayrettin.

The Iron had drawn once and won twice in the league since Hayrettin had taken temporary charge of the Iron and they looked set to add another point to the tally, but the Shots managed to scramble that away late on with a 1-0 victory.

Hayrettin's previous trip to Aldershot in charge of a Braintree side had ended in pain for both him and the club as a 2-0 defeat confirmed their relegation from the National League at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Hayrettin said that day had been his worst in football and there was further heartbreak this time.

Despite his players battling well and creating some excellent chances, they were unable to breach the Shots' back line and were beaten by the one piece of quality - a stunning Adam McDonnell free-kick - seven minutes from the end.

Not surprisingly - given their recent form - Hayrettin had kept faith with the same side that had started the Iron's previous two league games.

They had both brought victories and the Iron were hoping that the same combination continued, but unlike in their trip to Bromley in midweek, there was no early goal for Braintree.

Neither was there one for Aldershot, though, and it was a relatively quiet start to the game with clear cut opportunities at a premium at both ends of the pitch.

As would be expected of the home side, the Shots did shade the possession and territory in the opening exchanges, but a lack of cutting edge in the final third meant there was no breakthrough.

Braintree were disciplined without the ball and kept a good shape to frustrate the hosts and gradually started to assert themselves at the other end.

On 25 minutes, they broke well after Justin Amaluzor had battled to win the ball before laying the ball in to Nottingham Forest loanee Virgil Gomis, who was denied by a block on the line by Aldershot's own loan player - from Reading - Gabriel Osho.

Aldershot offered little in the way of a goal threat through much of the early period of the game and any opportunities that did arise were off target or blocked before they could threaten the Iron goal.

They did go close just before half-time when Scott Rendell got a dangerous header to a free-kick that flew across the Braintree area before being cleared by an Iron foot to avert the threat.

In fact it was Braintree who finished the half the stronger as their high tempo play saw them press hard for the opening goal and some scrappy play by the Aldershot defence almost gifted them a chance.

Gomis tried to lift the ball past Will Mannion from close range, but after the save had been made by the Shots keeper, Reece Grant, looking to add to his two goals at Bromley and score for a fourth game in a row, headed the loose ball into the side netting of the goal.

Grant then almost finished a good move in the dying moments of the half as Mo Sagaf played in Gomis, who pushed forward down the right and laid the ball into the in-form Iron striker, who pivoted and fired a shot that flew inches wide of the near post.

With the breakthrough not coming at either end, the half ended with the teams locked together in a goalless stalemate although that nearly changed in the opening minutes of the second half.

Lyle Della-Verde fired a low cross into the Shots area, with a couple of Braintree players agonisingly close to getting the touch that would have earned a first goal.

While Aldershot were lacking the quality needed to finish off possession in the final third, the Iron continued to look dangerous at the other end at the start of the half.

Gomis fired in a strong shot after Cameron James had set them forward with a counter-attack and it took a save by the legs of Mannion to deny the Iron the opener.

With neither side able to find the breakthrough, the game remained goalless until a moment of quality from McDonnell on 83 minutes when he curled a left-footed free-kick into the top corner of the Iron goal from 25 yards.

It was a massive blow for Braintree and while they threw everything at the Shots goal in the time remaining, it was one they were not able to come back from as their unbeaten run came to an end.

Braintree Town: Ashlee Jones, Jon Muleba, Joe Ellul, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Ricky Gabriel, Mo Sagaf, Lyle Della-Verde (Jake Cass 88), Justin Amaluzor (Christie Pattison 56), Cameron James, Reece Grant, Virgil Gomis.

Subs not used: Pat Webber, Luke Allen, Henry Ochieng.

Referee: Andrew Miller.