BRAINTREE Town boss Angelo Harrop admits his team's performance was the worst since he took over as manager after they were beaten 3-0 at home by Chelmsford City in their Boxing Day derby, writes DAVID WARD.

Football at any level is all about players having passion and none more so when it comes to local derby games with bragging rights also at stake.

But the Iron totally failed the test from every perspective in the National League South clash at the Rear Breed Meat Company Stadium when they were outfought, out thought and simply outplayed from start to finish.

It was an appalling performance and simply no excuses can be offered for what was obviously a dreadful show in front of a biggest home crowd of the season of 1,527.

Full credit to City as they'd done their homework, set their stall out and every player knew what they had to do and they also had passion, commitment and endeavour.

But the woeful Iron side literally had no midfield all afternoon which meant constant pressure on their defence while up front the non-existence of somebody who could hold the ball up for them was so blatantly missing.

Braintree's tactics of trying to play the long, high ball forward was another disaster as the tall, strong City rearguard easily soaked up every attack while the Iron's usual style of passing, playing feet football was practically non-existent plus the changing and use of second-half substitutes and player positioning was wrong on the day.

Little wonder many Iron fans were streaming out of the ground before the final whistle having seen their side capitulate, conceding three quick goals within an 11-minute spell in the second half after which City could in reality have scored at least a couple more goals.

Braintree manager Angelo Harrop said: "It's so disappointing and certainly the worse performance of my time here as a manager.

"I'm really hurting and I hope the players are too because they lacked energy, heart and players have to win their own battles too.

"I'm sorry for the fans and I want to apologise to them because they turned out today expecting to see up play our football, rise to the occasion of a local derby but it simply didn't happen.

"It's beyond me and I can't understand it and the players must each take a reality check because there's no excuses for that performance.

"Yes, full marks to City they fully deserved to win and were far the better side on the day.

Braintree and Witham Times:

"Their players fought for every ball and seemed more determined to win the 50-50 balls whereas we didn't - it was that simple.

"We all have to take stock and realise where we went wrong and we need to bounce back and bounce back straight away."

Chelmsford in effect controlled the game from start to finish and the only time the Iron looked dangerous was in the last ten minutes of the first half, forcing several corners.

Their only chance of the game came in the second minute of first half added time when Reggie Lambe let go a vicious drive that hit the inside of the City upright with the ball shooting away across the goalmouth to safety.

The second half was much the same with the Iron clearly lacking anything in midfield and still continuing to hike long balls forwards in a case of 'hit and hope' so it was no surprise when City settle the issue with their three quick goals.

Braintree fans will be hoping for a vastly all-round improved performance in the return game at Melbourne Stadium on New Year's Day, kick-off 3pm.