Third Place Slipping Away
This was only Gorleston’s second defeat in 23 league games and probably one of their most disappointing performances for a long time, just when they needed a good one to help them in their quest for third.
The Greens unusually made no changes from the Godmanchester game although there was a welcome return on the bench for Bradley Hough.
A scrappy opening quarter of the game, littered with free kicks, saw Brantham have the first shot after eight minutes but Alex Drennan’s shot was always going wide.
After quarter of an hour Christy Finch was brought down just outside the box but his free kick deflected up off the wall into the keeper’s hands then, three minutes later, another Finch shot went straight to the keeper Ryan Bedingfield, which he grabbed at the second attempt.
Brantham were playing the better football, passing the ball nicely on the ground, and they were dominating in the midfield area. It was no real surprise when they took the lead after 35 minutes when a corner from the left was met by Adam Bloss at the near post, unchallenged, and he glanced it into the net.
The first time Gorleston strung a good passing move together was two minutes before the break when again Finch was denied, this time by a defensive block.
Eight minutes into the second period the Greens won their first corner of the game after Finch and Ally McKenna linked up well. The corner found its way to Liam Harvey-Cooper's head but he could only direct it straight at the keeper.
Two minutes later a Carl Poppy through ball found Chris Sandford running in behind, he dinked the ball past the keeper but saw it rebound off the outside of the post.
Sandford also came close to winning his side a penalty later on when a grounded Matt Ryland appeared to keep the ball under his body with his elbows, but nothing was forthcoming from referee Mr Goodman.
Brantham’s second came after 61 minutes and was a cracking effort.
Right back Simon Mann picked up the ball on the right flank and cut inside, where he had acres of space to unleash a left foot shot that flew into the top corner of Elliot Pride’s goal, giving him no chance.
The Greens needed to make a change to find a spark and made a double substitution on 65 minutes with Hough and Reece Hunn coming on and they began to gain more slightly more possession.
Finch turned in the box and drilled a low effort just wide but Brantham’s Ben Deacon could have extended his sides lead at the other end when he rounded Pride, but the keeper recovered to get a block in.
Hough showing some deft touches, forced a save from Bedingfield with five minutes remaining.
Brantham looked like they wanted it more and were battling better with Gorleston winning very few tussles and not picking up the second balls and, at the final whistle, the better side on the night had won to move up into third place.
Worryingly for manager Stewart Larter, his side, who have been the league’s leading scorers for much of the season, have now only found the net twice in their last four games.
Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Carl Poppy, Jack Marsden (Reece Hunn 65), David Hinton (Bradley Hough 65), Andy Howell, Josh Armes, Liam Harvey-Cooper, Chris Sandford, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch, Gary Williams (Keegan Middleton 76)
Bookings: Sandford 76, Poppy 90
Brantham: Ryan Bedingfield, Simon Mann, Matt Ryland, Nicholas Farthing, Jack Gibbons, Alex Drennan, Adam Bloss, David Greenwood, Ben Deacon, Josh mayhew, Sean Gunn (Lee Grimwood 76)
Bookings: Gunn 56, Deacon 70, Grimwood 86
Goals: Bloss 35, Mann 61
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