Grantham Town are beaten by Consett AFC in the Northern Premier League
Grantham almost came back from Consett with at least a point despite a poor start to Saturday's Northern Premier League East Division match.
Three goals down after 10 minutes, the Gingerbreads gave their hosts a scare with two late goals and almost got an equaliser deep in added time.
But manager Paul Rawden was left to rue how his side had started the contest against their fourth-placed hosts, writes Graham Cowell.
Rawden said: "It's frustrating that we are talking about what might have been.
"We started so poorly that we were chasing the game from 10 minutes in.
"We were the better side in the second half and probably deserved a point, but we can't continue to start games like that."
It could have been a different start to the afternoon as the Gingerbreads claimed a penalty immediately before Consett got their first goal.
From a Grantham corner, Arjan Purewal seemed to go up to win the header with both hands on Gregg Smith's back, However, referee Mr Chell saw nothing wrong and the home side broke quickly.
A cross from the Gingerbreads' right found Will Shaw with enough time to fire a volley low past Curtis Hall.
Two minutes later, a ball over the top undid Grantham. This time it was the other winger, Ben Ramsey, who had time to decide whether to shoot or cross before tucking a shot past Hall.
It was 3-0 after only nine minutes when Mr Chell awarded the home side spot kick. A shot deflected onto Ryan Ebanks' arm and the penalty was comfortably put away by Scott Fenwick.
Grantham continued to give the home side space on the flanks and in front of the defence, but Consett struggled to create clear chances despite the possession they enjoyed.
Crosses into the Grantham penalty area were comfortably dealt with as the Gingerbreads defence began to settle.
Iffy Ofuegbu, Luke Hinsley and Smith all got on the end of hopeful balls into the penalty area but they hurried their shots and volleyed off target.
Consett had the ball in the net on 36 minutes, but an offside flag denied them.
Grantham came out after the break looking a different team.
They closed Consett down and stopped the home side feeding their wide players.
With better possession, the Gingerbreads began to create chances and Curtis Morrison caused problems for Consett down the Grantham left.
Twice in a couple of minutes early in the second half he delivered dangerous crosses, one was just cleared by the home defence while the second found Chris Salt at the far post, but he just missed the target.
Substitutions began to make an impact for the Gingerbreads as the game moved into its final throes.
Eight minutes from time, Smith sent Rodrigo Goncalves in and his cross found Harry Olivant but his shot was wide of the mark.
A minute later Grantham had their first goal. Goncalves played a lovely pass through for Harry Levick who ran on at goal and lifted his shot over Consett goalkeeper James Anderson.
Olivant continued to cause problems for the home side and one cross was headed clear under pressure by the Consett defence while Anderson made another good save from Salt as the 90 minutes expired.
Two minutes into added time, Olivant was clattered by a challenge from Dan Capewell that brought a yellow card for the defender and a free kick for Grantham 20 yards out. Elliott Walker drove the free kick round the wall into the bottom corner of the net.
With only a couple of minutes to go, it was all Grantham as the Gingerbreads looked for an equaliser.
Olivant tried to set up the leveller with a cross to the far post that Smith met with a firm header, but Anderson saved to preserve the win for the home side.
Grantham are on their travels again on Tuesday night when they visit North Ferriby.