BRAINTREE Town's play-offs suffered a blow when they lost 2-1 at Worthing, writes DAVID WARD.

Iron manager Angelo Harrop called the defeat on the South Coast "an off day" and it certainly was, because his side in reality simply didn't deserve anything from the National League South contest.

Braintree huffed and puffed throughout the 90 minutes against a well drilled and organised home side also chasing a promotion play-off place.

The result means that the Iron's home game against another play-off chasing outfit Eastbourne Borough next weekend is one they have to definitely win, to keep alive their slim chances of extending their season.

For once, Braintree's management team seemed to some extent to get their tactics and choices plus timings of substitutions wrong in coping with Worthing, who play out from the back and with nippy forwards work quickly going forward to create goalscoring chances.

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Harrop said: "Yes, I am sickened by the outcome and thoroughly disappointed with our performance but they are an exceptionally good, well-organised side.

"Yet we should have done much better than we did on the day.

"I will continue to drive the team in these two remaining games because I am a winner and I want us to succeed in getting to those play-offs.

"We'll keep plugging away and we know that in this league their are no easy games.

"I'm not going to criticise the players for this performance because we have come such a long way in such a short time and who would have thought at the start of the season we would be up near the top chasing a play-off spot.

"We tried to press them at certain times today but I think our two successive wins over the Easter weekend did take its toll on the players and it showed at times in this game.

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"I'm not making excuses but we did have chances to have at least equalised and come home with a point.

"It is what it is and we all now knuckle down and work hard for these next two games which are vital for us to win."

It was overall a disappointing performance for the huge contingent of Iron fans in the 1,308 crowd.

Worthing scored their two goals with slack marking slack positioning by Iron players at the crucial times.

But for three outstanding saves - one in the first half and two in the second - by Iron keeper Jack Sims, the home side could have won by a bigger margin.

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And again the loss of influential skipper John White with another injury midway through the second half was a contributing factor, as Braintree seemed to lose their way once he had departed.

Braintree made the best possible start when midfielder Zak Bradshaw opening his club scoring account in the 14th minute.

He slipped the ball into the home net at the second attempt, having been put clear by Ansu Janneh's beautiful pass.

The Iron should have pushed on more from this goal but they tended to sit back too much inviting the home side to press.

That's what they did on 36 minutes when slack marking allowed Joshua Chambers time and space to drive the ball low into the net past the stranded Sims.

Again in the second the Iron lacked that bite and aggression seen in their two previous games.

And with 70 minutes left, a lack of marking and defensive discipline allowed Reece Myles-Meekums to find space and time to drive the ball past Sims.

For a short period the visitors seem to dominate winning most balls.

But the Iron worked harder and in the 77th minute, an almighty scramble in the home area saw Braintree try to force the ball home, only to be foiled by some last-minute desperate defending.

With the game entering stoppage time Alfie Pavey looked on target to find the net only for home keeper Harrison Male to pull off an outstanding save to deny the Iron striker the goal he so deserved.

So it's all now really down to this coming Saturday that will decide whether the Iron make the play-offs, in what has been a highly-successful campaign for the new manager and the players he has brought into the club.