BRAINTREE Town boss Ryan Maxwell was full of praise for his players’ tremendous second-half performance despite their 2-1 defeat to Oxford City, at Cressing Road, writes DAVID WARD.

The Iron came so close to grabbing a point which they would have fully deserved against one of National League South's promotion favourites.

Maxwell said: “It was a fantastic effort from the team because we put them under constant pressure in the second half forcing them to defend deeper and deeper and we had several chances that could have seen us equalise and end up with a point.

“As we know the difference between winning and losing is such a fine margin but we did enough to gain something out of the game.

“We’ve come a long way in such a short time but we’re getting there and in such as match like this one it’s about game management.

“They had their backs to the wall in all of the second half and we just needed that bit of luck to score but it was not to be.

“But again we have lots of positives coming from this encounter and it’s part of our gradual development in becoming a more competent and cohesive team and I know we’re on the right road.”

Maxwell admitted despite taking an early lead in the game, his side looked rather leggy in that first period.

He added: “They are a good side with plenty of movement – more than Dartford offered – and they break forward very quickly and we were caught out late in the first half when they scored their two goals.

“Again a lesson for the players to learn here and had we started and played in the first half as we did throughout the second I’m confident the outcome would have much different.

The half-time arrival of experienced striker Adam Yusuff certainly changed Braintree's fortunes.

He led the line with power and efficiency and caused the visitors’ rearguard all kinds of problems in that second half.

“He gave us a new dimension up front but the whole team responded magnificently and even their manager said at the end they were relieved to have heard the final whistle," added Maxwell.

“We now have to take this second-half performance into our next game at Slough on Saturday right from the first to the last whistle and I know we have a dedicated group of players united as a team."

Braintree took the lead through Corry Davidson but goals from Nana Owusu and Louis Coyle gave Oxford City a lead they didn't relinquish.

Maxwell added: “It was as they say a game to two halves really but again we can build on this performance and we now prepare for the trip to Slough."