Harsh on Greens
Big-spending Stowmarket came to Emerald Park, had two shots and went away with all three points.
Ricci Butler made two changes to the side that had beaten Saffron Walden. Mitch McKay was injured and Elliott Hannant dropped to the bench with Jason Thompson and Jay Turner coming in.
This was the best the Greens have played so far this season, with some sublime passing and movement, but a combination of poor finishing and an inspired goalkeeper in Craig Brand meant they suffered their first defeat of the season.
Gorleston were up against it from the first minute.
A sweeping crossfield pass found Ethan Clarke on the left. He cut inside and was not closed down so had plenty of time to unleash a shot that gave Taurean Molloy no chance. 32 seconds were on the clock.
The Greens settled and began to find their feet with only defensive blocks denying Joel Watts, Connor Ingram and Ismael Fatadjo from equalising.
There was an escape for Gorleston in the 21st minute when the Greens were guilty of overplaying in midfield. Clarke rounded Molloy and squared the ball but Connor Deeks got back to keep his side in the game.
Two minutes later Deeks had a 30 yard free kick go a yard wide before Connor Ingram latched on to a Thompson through ball but his shot was wide of the far post.
Shortly before the break Watts and Fatadjo combined and this time the frame of the goal kept the ball out.
Gorleston had been the better team but two minutes into the second half hit the self destruct button to gift Stowmarket a penalty.
Luke Goreham made a challenge he didn't need to make and he did appear to win the ball, but the attacker went down and the referee pointed to the spot.
With a run up more akin to a fast bowler, Josh Mayhew made no mistake with the penalty.
Connor Ingram saw a free kick turned around the post by Brand before Brand then reacted quickly to tip over an effort from the resultant corner.
Some lenient officiating allowed a visiting player to throw the ball into Kyle Ingram's face without punishment. Although Ingram himself wasn't so lucky soon after after a minor melee saw him yellow carded.
The Greens were dominating possession and they were cutting through the Stow defences at will but couldn't find that clinical touch in the box.
Brand was becoming increasingly friendly with the referee who warned him at least four times about the time he was taking over goal kicks. Had the ref have added all the time on we would have been there until midnight!
After 65 minutes Brand again was at the centre of the action, firstly keeping out Aarron Taylor's header then reacting quickly to deny Deeks superbly low down from close range on the follow up.
Kyle Ingram tried his luck from twenty yards but was off target before Stowmarket mustered their only shot of the match, bar the goals, in the 73rd minute from Jemel Fox but it was high over the bar.
As was an attempt from Jack Garrod shortly after at the other end.
It looked like Gorleston had pulled a goal back with nine minutes remaining when a superb whipped in cross from Reece Hunn found Fatadjo just inside the box and he finished superbly in mid air with the outside of his foot, past the keeper.
Then the linesman's flag went up.
Must have been very tight as, from my position directly opposite the lino, I saw Fatadjo time his run and not pass the defender until after the ball had left Hunn's foot.
Isaac Burrage came on and soon found Deeks in the box with a superb pass. Deeks shot was saved although it was straight to the keeper.
Then, with two minutes left, Watts found himself through, he rounded the prone keeper and was virtually on the goal line when he shot but still, somehow, Brand got back to deny Gorleston a goal, which was the least they deserved.
Only three minutes of time was added on, about the time it took for one goal kick, but you got the sense that Brand would be equal to anything thrown at him on the day even if we'd played all night.
Match sponsor David Hudson awarded the Batemans man of the match to Kyle Ingram but the whole team deserve credit for their performance, they will play a lot worse and win on another day.
Gorleston: Taurean Molloy, Luke Goreham (Isaac Burrage 68), Reece Hunn, Jason Thompson, Connor Deeks, Aarron Taylor, Kyle Ingram (Matt Brown 80), Jay Turner (Jack Garrod 56), Joel Watts, Connor Ingram, Ismael Fatadjo
Booking: K Ingram 76; Garrod 90
Stowmarket Town: Craig Brand, Ollie Brown, Jemel Fox, Anton Clarke (c), Scott Mitchell, Phil Weavers, Billy Clarke (Duane Wright 60), Jack Baker (Ryan Yallop 71), Josh Mayhew (Remi Garrett 56), Andrew Wood, Ethan Clarke
Bookings: E Clarke 67; Garrett 83
Goals: E Clarke 1; Mayhew 47(p)
Ref Jon Block
|5||Other efforts on target||0|
|7||Other efforts off target||1|
|1||Other efforts against woodwork||0|
|15||Free kicks for||11|