Southport could not improve their Blue Square Bet Premier play-off hopes after a stale goalless draw at Braintree.

Matt Paine's hesitation may have cost the hosts an early breakthrough when he failed to get on the end of Pat O'Connor's cross.

Andy Owens then headed over for the visitors, while Ben Wright flashed a 20-yard volley narrowly over for the Iron after half-time.

They were also denied when Jai Reason saw an effort saved by Tony McMillan.

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Braintree Town manager Alan Devonshire told BBC Essex:

"They [Southport] are a difficult side to play against. That's a game three months ago we'd have got beat, so I think that's how far we've come.

"I can't ask for much more than what my boys give me. I'll take a point.

"They are a team that are playing really well at the moment and you can tell why. They keep balls bombing in the box, but we stood up to it and deserved a point."

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