BRAINTREE Town's 15-match unbeaten run came to an end after they were deservedly beaten 2-1 at Hungerford Town in National League South, writes DAVID WARD.

If the Iron players needed a wake-up call about their recent disappointing performances, then this was certainly it at Bulpit Lane.

They lost to a hungrier home side with players that wanted to win to ease their relegation fears and it showed throughout the whole 90 minutes.

There certainly can be no excuses for this dreadful Iron performance, particularly in the second half when having took the lead they should have gone on to win.

However, some appalling defending and a lack of team cohesion culminated in a schoolboy error which saw the hosts bag their winner.

Angelo Harrop described the game as 'a wake-up call', with the Iron boss disappointed that his side 'lacked leadership on the day.'

Harrop said: "You have come to these kind of places and dig in to get a result and we simply didn't do that on the day because they are a side fighting for their lives near the bottom of the league and their players showed such a great spirit which we sadly lacked.

"They deserved to win, full credit to them, and I have no complaints because we had an indifferent performance and paid the price.

"We have to take it on the chin, dust ourselves down and move on.

"We have seven league games left, we're still very much in the promotion race which I think we deserve over the season and we have to remain mentally strong and get back to winning ways."

Braintree have never done particularly well at the Crusaders compact, slopping pitch.

But having done well to survive coping with the rampant home forwards kicking up the hill in the first half, the Iron simply capitulated in the second period when going downhill.

Braintree and Witham Times:

It was a shocking second-half performance with some Iron players clearly thinking of not being injured and so being forced to miss Tuesday's BBC Essex Senior Cup Final.

But that's simply no excuse and again, they ended up playing the final ten minutes or so with ten men, with skipper John White going off injured having used all their substitutes.

Having kept Hungerford at bay in the first period, Braintree had the best possible start when Aaron Blair fired them into the lead on 52 minutes with a fine shot coming in from the left wing.

But a lack of defensive awareness allowed the hosts to equalise, three minutes later.

From then on with Hungerford's tails up, the Iron basically struggled to get their act together.

And despite some potentially positive moves going forward and chances created, the finishing was dreadful.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Ironically, the winning goal on 75 minutes came from Joe Boachie, their recent signing from Braintree.

He had the simplest of chances to score when the Iron midfield and back line went 'walk about' prompting keeper Jack Sims to needlessly rush out of his area to try and stop the ball going into the area.

Sims missed, leaving Boachie to slide the ball into an empty net.

"Lessons to be learn from this' was Harrop's final verdict and that was the stark reality of the Iron's disappointing performance, which they will need to put right for their crucial home game against Taunton, next Saturday.