BRAINTREE Town suffered a third successive defeat in National League South after losing 3-0 at ten-man Chelmsford City, writes DAVID WARD.

To win any football match at any level a team has to score goals but unfortunately for the Iron this vital ingredient is clearly missing at present.

It means Braintree have now played more than 220 minutes without scoring a goal but conceded seven in the process which is seemingly see them slipping away from the play-offs and also down the league.

The Iron's lack of having a big, strong striker who could feed the ball off to the likes of Aaron Blair and Tom Blackwell is so obvious and its a missing link that the management need to get sorted and sorted quickly.

Braintree manager Angelo Harrop said: "We were so dominant in the first half, controlling the game and creating several chances that should have seen us two or three goals up.

"We then give a poor, unnecessary goal on 17 minutes in what was their first attack of the game.

"We had enough defenders to deal with and I can't understand until I see a replay why we didn't - there's no excuses for that.

"Then right on half-time we give away another poor goal from a free-kick with the ball floated towards the far post when we had five defenders and the goalkeeper there to deal with against just two of their forwards.

"But we allowed the ball to come back of the foot of the post and their man was simply quicker to react and poke the ball in the net - it was terrible to concede that way.

"It's always difficult when you're chasing the game and at times we were all over the place, the passing and everything went astray like easy passes - I'm really disappointed.

"We are simply missing that killer instinct and we've now gone three games losing and not scoring a goal so we know we have work to and get it sorted."

Braintree were outstanding in the first half and saw several comparatively easy chances go begging.

But despite all this dominance, they incredibly found themselves two goals down at the interval, much against the run of play.

Chelmsford took a shock lead on 17 minutes in their first attack when unnecessarily Alfie Payne gave the ball away in midfield and with defenders hesitating, the home side nipped in to score.

The Iron then had the advantage of playing against ten men when City skipper Dave Wingfield was sent off for a straight elbow in the face of Joe Grimwade.

Braintree continued to press and again missed chances whilst the reorganised home rearguard showed stubborn resistance backed up their young goalkeeper, who pulled off some fine saves.

It then went from bad to worse for the Iron on the stroke of half-time when they failed to clear a free-kick struck the bottom of a post and Chelmsford were quicker to react and score.

It was a turning point because the Iron lost their way in the second half with no real forward penetration.

They made substitutions but they really had no effect because the old, old problem remained of not having a big, robust striker on hand.

To add insult to injury for the Iron fans in the 1,550-plus crowd, they conceded a terrible 'soft' penalty on 56 minutes which was duly netted.

Braintree pushed hard right to the final whistle but in reality they ran out of ideas and the strong home defence stood firm to give City a deserved festive double.

Braintree host high-riding Hampton & Richmond on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.