Manager Danny Searle said his Braintree Town team made a big task even bigger with how their decision making let them down against Chesterfield.

A 3-1 defeat saw the Iron’s hopes of Vanarama National League survival recede further as they were made to pay for defensive lapses at key times against the Spireites.

Two poorly defended goals set Chesterfield on course for victory in the first half and Searle said both showed a level of naivety from his players.

He said: “It was always going to be tough, especially with the manner in which we conceded goals.

“When you are put under pressure, the least you can do is ask the opposition that they are going to have to work hard for their goals.

“We knew about (Tom) Denton and Chesterfield’s game plan and unfortunately that again goes out of the window when they play a long ball in to him, he heads it down and someone walks through the penalty area unchallenged and slots it home.

“It was so straightforward to the point we thought it must have been offside because there was no way someone could have been in your six yard box unmarked unless they were, but I’ve been assured he wasn’t.

“So it wasn’t a good start and when you’re 2-0 down as quickly as we were, it was always going to be tough.

“We overloaded the centre of the pitch because we knew how they would play.

“We knew that people run off Denton and they like to get the ball centrally off his headers, so we overloaded that area because of that.

“It’s about discipline and people believing in themselves that they have to track a runner and get goal-side.

“Our lads challenged for headers but they were giving away five or six inches to him and sometimes you have to be clever, let him win it and make sure you pick up the second balls.

“So there was a naivety there.

“We talk about this level and people may be technically very good but it comes down to decision making.

“At times there were chances to play forward and cause problems but we didn’t take them and then there were times when we needed to secure possession and we didn’t do that.

“A few of the lads will be disappointed with themselves because of that and the second goal was a case of that.

“I’m still trying to work out why we came back inside the pitch when the ball down the line was the simple option.”

Despite falling behind in the first half, the hosts rallied after the break and got themselves back into it with a Luke Allen penalty, however, another lapse at the back saw the visitors wrap things up late on.

And the Iron boss said it was once again poor decision-making that had proved costly.

“We asked for a reaction in the second half and I thought they gave us one,” he added.

“We pulled the goal back and we felt there was a chance we could get something out of the game but to concede third goal in the way we did was criminal.

“The ball should never been allowed to bounce even before the keeper came out; if the centre-half deals with the ball over the top, Ben doesn’t have to come.

“Talking about individual errors costing you in games, unfortunately that one has probably cost us getting something from the game.

“The boys are devastated.

“I don’t think they could have given much more in terms of effort and commitment because they worked very hard.

“They didn’t let themselves down in that area.

“What let us down was decision making at crucial times and that slight lack of focus when it really mattered in and around our own penalty area.”