Luck is a funny thing in football, but there’s very little to find amusing in it for Braintree Town at the moment.

Maybe it’s just a perception, but when you’re at the top of the table, good fortune follows you around like a faithful four-legged companion. But it wanders off like a stray pooch in need of some discipline by Barbara Woodhouse when you’re at the bottom.

And the Iron are in the doghouse right now following their 2-0 defeat by Barrow.

They head to old rivals Chelmsford City for a fourth round Essex Senior Cup tie on Monday night and some respite from Vanarama National League action may be welcome as they look to get over that weekend disappointment against the Bluebirds.

The luck just wasn’t with Braintree on the day as a run that has now seen them claim just a single point from their last five games has left them in a perilous situation at the foot of the table.

It could - and should - have been so much better on Saturday.

I genuinely felt they dominated for large parts of the game and that view is backed up by all the other independent reports I’ve seen, including ones from a Barrow perspective.

So why did they finish up second best again?

Were the tactics or the way the team was prepared to face Barrow at fault?

The end result shows obviously something wasn't right, but I don't think it's fair to say they were tactically out-thought.

If that had been the case, then it would have been Barrow dominating possession rather than the other way round and the visitors would have had more than the two real sights of goal that they got.

Braintree, despite being a part-time club in a league packed with full-timers, try to play with a high attacking tempo, getting the ball as quickly and regularly into the areas where they feel they can hurt teams.

That side of their game worked well and Barrow looked on the back foot for a large part of the game – it was just two bits of sloppy defending and a number of missed chances that combined to prove costly for Braintree.

The Iron showed – and other reports concur on this point - that they were the better side, so maybe it was just down to fortune and they shouldn’t beat themselves up too much over the result.

Partly, yes, but only partly.

They just didn’t have the luck with them as befits a team battling in the position they find themselves in.

Callum Morton somehow scooped a header over from two yards in the first half when 99 other times out of 100 it’s a goal that would have stood the game on its head and several other attempts were just unable to get the Iron on the scoresheet.

It’s a strange paradox in football that luck goes against you when you need it most.

However, I suppose the counter argument to that is that you create your own luck and Braintree’s players will know that they have to do better to get the right side of the fine margin between success and failure.

They are good enough and, as I’ve said before - both under Brad Quinton and Hakan Hayrettin - I feel they’ve shown it this season that they can compete at this level.

They did on Saturday in my view against a side now sitting in the top half in the table.

Even with players injured and suspended and recent departures, there was enough talent wearing orange on the pitch to have got more from that game.

But they are too often coming up short and, now we’re in the second half of the season, they must realise why that is and really must kick an increasingly dangerous habit.

Billy Crook summed it up in a chat after the game when he said they needed to be ruthless at both ends of the pitch.

If they can do that and maintain the high-paced pressing that opens up chances, then I'm still convinced the second half of the season can be significantly more prosperous than the first.

It needs to be.

Hopefully supporters will keep the faith because if there's one thing going to hamper efforts, it's negativity leeching from the terraces on to the pitch.

While it's tough not to allow dissatisfaction to affect your judgement when sitting at the bottom of the league, a united club will stand a much better chance of getting clear than one divided.