A SHAMBOLIC second-half performance from Braintree Town that lacked any intensity, cohesion and energy allowed their already-relegated visitors Billericay Town to walk away with a 1-0 victory at the final game at the Dunmow Group Stadium, writes DAVID WARD.

To say it was a disappointing end to the season was an understatement and coming on the back of two outstanding Iron victories this was a big let down for home fans in the 805 crowd and it was in reality a case of some players already believing they were on the beach on holiday because they showed little regard to fight for every ball.

It will be interesting to see how many of the current squad keep their places come July but it's clear that some are clearly not up to it although manager Ryan Maxwell admitted after this flop he hope to keep the nucleus of the side and build on what they have achieved this season.

"I'm very sorry for the fans with this performance, particularly in the second half, because they have given tremendous support to the players and have played their part in seeing us stay at this level," he declared.

"I thought the game had a draw written all over it and it was a typical end of season affair with nothing really at stake for either club although I wanted us to end up top dog of all the Essex clubs.

"It was a poor game and we failed to show the energy and intensity which has become our DNA this season and it'd difficult to explain why.

"We were well on top in the first half and at times played some good football and we had chances that could have given us two or three goals before half time - but again we didn't punish the opposition when we should have done and that has been one of our problems all season.

"Yes, their keeper pulled off some excellent saves to deny us but we know you have to score when you're on top."

Blues' keeper Rhy Lovett certainly kept his side in the game at times denying six goalbound shots with tremendous saves and yes the Iron were denied a blatant penalty on 74 minutes when Khale Da Costa was clearly bundles over in the area by Toby Stevenson with referee Stephen Parkinson, right in front of the incident, waving play on.

Throughout the game the visitors repeated time wasted, noticeably keeper Lovett who kept being told off about it by the referee who failed to show what most other officials would have been a yellow card earlier on.

Six minutes from time he did show a red card to Stevenson for crudely fouling Gio Crichlow for about the fourth time but with the Iron playing in such an immobile fashion it didn't make any difference to the outcome.

The one goal that broke the deadlock came on 71 minutes in a rare attack from the visitors when young substitute Robert Adams, on the field for just three minutes, curled a beautiful right foot shot into the far corner of the Iron net giving Billy Johnson no chance.

So the game ended as frustrated as ever for Iron fans who will hope that the recent improvement in performances and results can be on board from the big kick off next August.

Maxwell, summing up the season, said: "In the end it has come good but it's been a difficult season as everyone knew from the start because of problems with resources compared to other clubs in this league.

"Since the turn of the year I believe we have really turned things round and we have the players on board to make us a more solid unit come the restart," he felt.

"The younger players in particular have learned so much together as a team and they will continue to grow and get even better.

"We are now heading in the right direction I believe and work starts now on next season and we will be much better prepared than we were this last season's start."

The Iron kick off their pre-season friendlies on Saturday, July 9 with the traditional visit to Newmarket Town which will be followed by another friendly away the following week on Saturday, July 16th at Needham Market.