BRAINTREE Town conceded a late goal to lose 2-1 at Torquay United in National League South, writes DAVID WARD.

Goalkeepers at any level of football are either heroes or villains and in this game at Plainmoor on Bank Holiday Monday it was the Iron's stopper Jack Sims who was the villain for gifting the home side two goals and presenting them with a victory that over the 90 minutes they certainly didn't deserve.

It was a bittersweet finale for the Iron players who had battled hard all afternoon and for most part were the better side, taking a deserved half-time lead and even in the latter stages of the game when some of the younger players naturally tired, they defended magnificently.

But losing to two dreadful goalkeeper errors is difficult to take, particularly for the loyal 23 Iron supporters who made the long trek to the English Riviera and certainly for manager Angelo Harrop who declared afterwards: "I can't believe we didn't win the game.

"I am really disappointed with Jack because the first goal we conceded from a free-kick out on their left wing but he was totally out of position and allowed the ball to float over him into the top far corner of the net.

"Then we are into added and I thought we will at least get a draw and a point.

"But the ball dropped into our area and with two of our defenders ready to kick the ball out of the ground he somehow poised himself to stretch out and dived on the ball on the ground unnecessarily bringing their forward down giving away a blatant penalty.

"This was hard to take considering how well we had played, going one goal up and it should have been more because we did outplay them for long periods."

An added problem for Harrop too is that again he had a wafer-thin squad of players to call on with only two recognised players on the bench - including a young goalkeeper - so his choice of trying to change things around on the day were totally impossible.

"I'm really sick at what has happened and it's the worse point of my managerial career and we will certainly have to put it right this coming week.

"I know we have limitations on playing staff compared to most other sides in this league but you can't get away with it at this level and I shall be sorting this out during the week before we host Worthing on Saturday."

"I would mind but they didn't outplay us, we were the better side and should have come home with a win."

There were two other crucial elements in this defeat too because in reality, Torquay are full-time professionals and it showed late on in the game.

It is also ridiculous that at National League level, the Iron for the second game on the trot couldn't muster five substitutes on the bench.

The other crucial element was the erratic and inconsistent performance of referee Elliott Swallow, who booked six players and Harrop for most what were nonsensical decisions.

It's ironic too that two Essex-based senior referees have recently been demoted this season but referees like Mr Swallow appear to being fast tracked to higher levels.

As for the game itself the Iron had a great start, scoring the opening goal on six minutes courtesy of great run through by Will Davies.

Such was Braintree's control of the game they should have had at least two more goals before the break and they certainly dented the verbal enthusiasm of the 2,500 home crowd.

The Iron started the second in similar fashion and it was only on 57 minutes when Sims committed his first howler allowing the home side to equalise through Jack Stobbs' free-kick.

To their credit the Iron kept battling away and again they saw three decent goalscoring chances go missing, mainly through the inexperience of the younger players.

With the referee somehow finding eight minutes of added time, the game was in the fifth minute of this when Sims committed his second howler leaving Aaron Jarvis to fire home the resultant penalty.

It was a cruel end to a game the Iron were for long period the better side with Harrop adding: "To come all this way, stay overnight and be fully prepared and play the way we did to lose like that is just heartbreaking."

Next up for the Iron is the home game against Worthing on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.