BRAINTREE Town slipped to their seventh consecutive defeat with another rudderless display against Dulwich Hamlet in the National League South, writes RON FOSKER.

But there were bright spots. For a start, they scored a goal, their first in 505 minutes, which produced a final scoreline of 2-1.

And secondly, they have at last got a target man up front.

Tom Derry, brought in by manager Ryan Maxwell at the end of last season, spent the opening months of the season at Slough Town, but showed on his return what Iron have been missing up front.

In past games the hopeful balls punted upfield remained just that, hopeful rather than constructive.

This time Derry, not the tallest man on the field, made it his job to get on the end of them, often sprinting a substantial distance to challenge – and win the ball more often than not.

There was little end product, apart from one moment of near genius, but it gave a glimpse of what might be possible.

That moment came in the 70th minute, with Iron 2-0 down. A cross into the penalty area looked like meeting the same fate as any other cross into the penalty area, but this time Derry made room for himself, took it down expertly on his chest while almost side on to the ball and then unleashed an unstoppable shot from an acute angle.

There was a bit more spark to their play after that and they were nearly level when a long throw skimmed off a defender’s head over the keeper but rebounded off the bar. It fell to Femi Akinwande but he was at an awkward angle and could not turn the ball in.

Apart from a wildly hopeful penalty appeal when Derry slammed the ball against a defender from around five metres and expected the referee to deem that his opponent had had time to handle the ball deliberately, there were no further alarms for the visitors.

It was not as comfortable for them as it had looked like being when they took the lead after only eight minutes with a goal that bordered on farce. A long ball over the top left the Iron defence so flat-footed that Hamlet striker Darren McQueen was already halfway to the goal before they realised what was happening.

Keeper Billy Johnson was unwisely out of his area and could do little to prevent McQueen passing him for a simple goal.

The second goal followed in the 30th minute when the defence failed to clear a cross. Several forwards had a go at putting it in the net before full back Quade Taylor finally did so.

Dulwich even had the luxury of missing a penalty – Michael Timlin’s effort hit the post – after Danny Mills had been fouled by Correy Davidson.

After two improved displays away from home, this was yet another disappointment to put before the Braintree public.

It left them one place off the bottom and Maxwell needs to come up with some answers pretty quickly rather than constantly complaining about referees, something that once again earned him a yellow card.

Braintree: Billy Johnson; Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Nathan Cooper, Luke Pennell, Jay Porter (Arjan Krasniqi 86); Myles Anderson; Femi Akinwande, Alfie Payne, Matt Johnson, Harry Hope (Correy Davidson 46); Tom Derry