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Iron's play-off hopes dented by Silkmen
Braintree Town missed the chance to move back into the Skrill Premier play-off places after losing 1-0 at home to Macclesfield Town.
Iron fell to a second successive home defeat after Scott Boden’s well-taken strike just after the hour mark gave the Silkmen all three points at the Amlin.
The defeat leaves Iron two points adrift of the play-off places, with five games to go.
Braintree made three changes to their line-up from the side that lost at home to Salisbury City.
Striker Jordan Cox was handed his first start after his injury lay-off in place of the suspended Sean Marks and Dan Sparkes and James Mulley also returned for Alex Jakubiak and Josh Laurent, who were both on the bench.
With this being Braintree’s final game in hand on some of the teams situated them, a win was important for Alan Devonshire’s side if they were to boost their promotion dreams.
But in truth the first half was a largely uninspiring affair, with little in the way of goalmouth action.
Macclesfield went into the game with little to play for but produced a performance befitting a side higher up the table.
They edged the possession in the first half, where both sides spent much of their time assessing one another’s threat.
Chris Holroyd, who linked up well with Boden early on, fired straight at Iron keeper Nick Hamann, as a midfield battle ensued in the first half.
Cox looked lively at times but took time to strike up an understanding with strike partner Dan Holman and it was the visitors who looked the more threatening.
Holroyd side-footed wide from a good position while Andy Halls fired a long-range effort just wide for Macclesfield, nine minutes before half-time.
Braintree registered their first meaningful shot on target five minutes before the break when Sparkes’ fizzing effort forced keeper Rhys Taylor to save low down.
Skipper Kenny Davis’s effort whistled just past the post soon after, as the hosts finished a quiet first half strongly.
And Iron started the second period brightly too, with Mulley’s goalbound effort headed away by covering Macclesfield defender Joe Connor before Cox’s glancing header flashed just wide, seconds later.
Chez Isaac’s free-kick evaded the wall but not keeper Taylor who pushed the ball away for a corner but just as Braintree looked threatening they fell behind just after the hour mark.
After Alan Massey failed to deal with a high ball on the edge of his own area, Scott Boden collected possession before lashing a shot past Iron goalkeeper Nick Hamann.
Josh Laurent and Alex Jakubiak were sent on soon after, in a bid to get Braintree back into the game and Iron felt they should have had a penalty when Mulley went down under Danny Andrew’s challenge in the area.
As Iron pushed forward looked for an equaliser, gaps began to appear at the back and Hamann had to push Danny Whitaker’s drive over for a corner, with eight minutes to go.
Jakubiak's low drive flashed just wide of the far post in stoppage-time.
But having been unable to salvage a point, Braintree will no doubt feel that this was an opportunity missed.
BRAINTREE TOWN: Hamann, Paine, Wells, Massey, Habergham, Davis, Isaac (sub Laurent, 70), Mulley, Sparkes (sub Daley, 79), Cox (sub Jakubiak, 72), Holman. Subs (not used): Carney, McDonald.
Goal: Macclesfield: Boden (62).
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