Manager Danny Searle was honest in his assessment of an underwhelming Braintree Town performance as they were beaten 1-0 by Vanarama National League relegation rivals Aldershot Town.

As good as they had been in his first three games in charge, Searle made no excuses for his players and said it was down to them to be accountable for displays in a game where he felt too many did not reach the levels he expected from them.

“It was incredibly frustrating," said the Iron boss.

“We had set a standard in the previous three games with our work ethic and the environment we wanted to create and we were nowhere near that against Aldershot.

“The best way to describe it was flat – that was how it looked out on the pitch.

“Sometimes you need people to step up and take responsibility, to become men and have accountability for themselves.

“It can’t always be driven from the side of the pitch.

“They were all in the dressing room feeling sorry for themselves afterwards but you have to take responsibility, look at yourselves and ask what you actually did.

“How many of them actually turned up?

“From an effort perspective – regardless of how well we’d played from a technical perspective – I’m not sure they could all look themselves in the mirror and say they gave everything in that game.

“Before you even talk about football, it was the mentality of the players."

A goal on 64 minutes from former Braintree striker Reece Grant proved the difference between two sides struggling to get clear of the National League's relegation zone.

Had Braintree taken anything from the game, it would have lifted them off the foot of the table, but Searle and his team were left to rue a missed chance.

He added: “There was an opportunity from this game; the bottom line was that if we didn’t get beaten, we were off the bottom of the table.

“We have goals we want to achieve and the first of those is to get off the foot of the table.

“This was a great opportunity to do that.

“Credit to Aldershot because they did what they did and we all knew what Reece Grant could do, but effort and attitude, desire and determination and all those clichés you can come out with, I’m not even sure we tested their goalkeeper."

As under-par as he felt his side were in the game against Aldershot, though, Searle said I would not permit anyone within the Braintree camp to let their minds linger on the result as they had to now prepare for a trip to another side struggling to get clear of relegation danger next weekend.

He said: “We now start planning for Dover, but it would have been nice doing it knowing we were off the bottom of the table.

“The lads have made it harder for themselves now but there are still 12 games to go.

“Life goes on, we keep fighting and hopefully we can put it right next Saturday.

“I don’t think the boys deserved anything out of that game (against Aldershot).

“In my time in charge, it was hands down our worst performance.

“However, it’s gone now and there is no point in dwelling on it.

“We’ll have conversations in the office about where we feel we could have been better, but we have to take forward the mentality now that we can go to Dover and win.

“If you dwell on a defeat, it just creates a negative environment so we have to pick out what we can.

“We had been good in the previous three games so hopefully this was just a blip and we’ll be back on it again at Dover."