BRAINTREE Town manager Ryan Maxwell was again left frustrated by refereeing decisions after his side lost 2-0 at Ebbsfleet United, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron's defeat to their third-placed hosts at the Kuflink Stadium saw them drop to the bottom of National League South, following an eighth defeat in all competitions.

Braintree more than held their own in a tight game and had repeatedly frustrated the home side's full-time players.

The Iron had the better scoring opportunities but they spurned three excellent chances in each half and in reality, should have been at least two goals to the good at half-time.

The culprits were Femi Akinwande, Tom Derry, Matt Johnson and a header from Luke Pennell, which at any level of the game should all have been buried in the opposition net.

And despite matching their hosts for commitment and endeavour, they paid the price late on for all those missed chances.

The game also all hinged on a controversial penalty given for the home side on 73 minutes by referee Isaac Searle.

Mr Searle pointed to the spot after a goalmouth melee where home striker Rakish Bingham theatrically fell to the ground, before duly dispatching the resultant penalty.

Maxwell said: "It was never a penalty in a million years.

"We then saw Femi twice wiped out by home defenders in what were clear fouls yet the referee failed to give us the free-kicks and when they warranted a yellow card at least.

"And in the second half Kyran Clements was then blatantly pushed over off the ball in front of the referee who didn't even book the culprit.

"It's hard to take such decisions when they are so clearly so wrong.

"I'm absolutely gutted for all the players who battled so hard, worked their socks off only to be denied by poor refereeing.

"We certainly had the better of the first, kept frustrating them with our pressing game and we had the chances to have come in at least a couple of goals up."

With Braintree pressing for an equaliser with Akinwande having another great chance through on goal in the last minutes of the game, the home side skipped away and added their second on 85 minutes, to seal the points.

The only major difference though throughout the game was Iron's poor midfield performance whereas their opposite midfield chief, Craig Turner, quietly ran the match for Ebbsfleet and was outstanding every time he passed the ball.

Despite their disappointing misses, the Iron clearly need someone of his ilk in their midfield to create more opportunities for the forwards because he constantly threaded through balls which caused panic in the Iron defence every time.