BRAINTREE Town beat Dulwich Hamlet 3-2 at the Dunmow Group Stadium to maintain their unbeaten home record, writes DAVID WARD.

But at times, the Iron produced a sloppy second-half display in the National League South clash that left manager Angelo Harrop seething at the final whistle.

Once inside their dressing room, the players were perhaps thinking their boss would heap praise on them for winning and keeping their seventh place in the league.

However, they received a real verbal rollicking for their lack of discipline and concentration that almost allowed the visitors to snatch a late draw.

Harrop said: "I don't often let rip at the players but I had to make my anger known at their second-half performance when we could have lost the game.

"Just because we were 2-0 up at the break, I said the game was far from over but some of the players felt they were in a comfort zone and it nearly cost us.

"I set my standards high at this club and I expect the players and everyone else on the playing side to follow suit.

"They dropped that standard in the second half and there's no excuse for it - do that against high-riding Dartford this Saturday and they will severely suffer from it, as I told them.

"Some players had the idea of not doing the simple, straight forward things and tried to be clever and so complicated matters, giving the ball away unnecessarily and being generally sloppy in their play.

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"We had chances in the second half and failed to take them and then the opposition grab a second goal in added on time and we're in panic mode when there was no need to be like that.

"I told the players in no uncertain terms that we don't want a repeat ever."

With Willie Clemons joining the injured list, Braintree gave a debut to 19-year-old midfielder Gene Kennedy, on a month's loan from Colchester United, and he had an impressive game before coming off in the second half.

The Iron started well enough and took the lead on 20 minutes when Alfie Pavey worked the ball to Baris Altintop who turned on the visitors' penalty spot before driving the ball low into the net.

Pavey, again showing his striking potential and experience, was causing all kinds of problems for the visiting rearguard.

Six minutes from half-time he was crudely scythed down by Quade Taylor which deserved a straight red card but referee Ruebyn Ricardo only showed a yellow.

The Iron though deservedly grabbed their second four minutes from the interval and it was a typical centre-forward's goal.

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Pavey rose above everyone in the Hamlet area, including tall goalkeeper Charlie Grainger, to head home.

Naturally on the restart, Dulwich bucked up their ideas and had a productive spell as the Iron stupidly began to sit back and invite them to attack.

Indeed, it was again sloppy defending that allowed Taylor to get in between defenders to fire the ball into the home net.

Braintree were on the defensive for the next 15 minutes during which they failed to help themselves with some all round sloppy play.

However, at the other end Aaron Blair twice broke through only to put his shot wide of the goal, with Grainger well beaten.

Thankfully the visitors' cause was not helped on the 61st minute when Joe Felix, already booked, made a late and dangerous tackle on Altintop leaving the referee no option but to deservedly show him a red card.

The Iron then pressed forward for that crucial third goal to give them some breathing space and it came in 77 minutes.

Blair's fine through ball found substitute Joe Boachie who rushing goalwards and his shot parried straight to the feet of another Iron substitute, Jack Turner, who scrambled the ball into the empty net.

But any thoughts in the 554 crowd that the Iron would now coast home were given another shock in the first of seven minutes added time when the visitors added their second through Will Wood's fine first-time drive.

But Iron held out and overall deservedly win a game, although they won it the hard way when it really was unnecessary.

"We'll have to perform better for the whole 90 minutes against Dartford and I've told the players I don't want a repeat of what we saw in the secbnd half of this game," added Harrop.

Kick off on Saturday is 3pm and the following Tuesday, the Iron visit Welling United in the league.

Braintree will play their BBC Essex Senior Cup semi-final at rivals Chelmsford City on Monday, February 27, kick-off 7.45pm.