Ten-man Grays Ath salvage a valuable point against Needham
Date posted: 06-10-2012
Ryman Div One North
Grays Ath 1 v 1 Needham Market
TEN MAN Grays salvaged a valuable point against much fancied Needham Market at Rush Green Stadium in a 1-1 draw.
With Joe Sweeney injured, Grays Ath had to make a few changes, with Tyrone Scarlett starting up front. There was also a warm welcome for Harry Agombar, returning on a months loan.
An early Danny Bunce free kick went straight into the wall but the first real action of the game came when Jake Larkins pulled off a great save from a close range Kieron Leabon shot. A minute later he was in action again as the deadly Sam Newsom also went close.
Jack West was active early on. A shot from the young striker flashed across the area in the 10th minute. Tyrone Scarlett also sparked into life with some confident runs.
Grays management were imploring their team to release early from back to front as the attackers looked full of running and Needham a bit hesitant.
But the question was whether the game would be decided by the Grays Ath unforced error.
Grays continued on the offensive as they sensed that Market keeper, Louis Johnson looked less than confident.
In the 36th minute, Grays Ath midfielder Jake Hall was sent off for, what appeared to be, raising his hands at a Needham midfielder. It looked innocuous and young hothead Jake has been relatively disciplined of late but you still felt that cards like this are the risk you pose by playing him.
Needham should have opened the scoring when another unforced error saw Newsom stroke the ball across the area to Kieran Leabon but amazingly, from two yards, he hit the post.
Harry Agombar came on at half time but again it was Jake Larkins who was keeping Grays in the game.
Things looked brighter for Grays when a Harry Agombar free kick hit the post in the 49th minute.
Needham scored in the 41st minute. Grays attacked at a corner. The keeper caught the ball and launched a counter attack. The problem here was that some Grays defenders including Craig Pope in particular were caught upfield and failed to get back in time. Let us hope that the boss is as robust in pointing out this players shortcomings as he is with some of the younger players.
Needham marched up the pitch, played a neat one-two and Jack Wilkinson neatly slotted the ball home.
Luke Marshall came on for Danny Bunce as Hakan tried to get the team back in the game but the game got bogged down in midfield as Grays just couldn’t get a foothold in the match.
But it was not for the want of trying as the boss tried a number of formations and plans to try and get something out of the game.
In the 75th minute, Harry Agombar got to the deadball line, crossed and in the melee, Needham’s Duane Wright did well to clear the ball off the line.
Luke Marshall started to plough a furrow in the middle and it paid off in the 80th minute when he latched onto an Agombar through ball, burst into the box and put the ball beyond the keeper.
Grays now burst into life and it made for a very exciting final ten minutes which only the pedantic referee tried to choke the life out of.
Grays defended a Market free kick manfully and the put a lovely move together up the field.
The Blue saw out the final moments of the game to earn a valuable point.
Grays now have a key week. They are just four points off the top in a league headed by Tilbury. They play the Dockers next Saturday and before that they face high-flying Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. It will be interesting to see where Grays stand next Saturday at 5pm.
Grays Athletic: Larkins J, Pope C, Baker J, Kirby R, Flynn L, Hall J, Beaney K, Bunce D (Marshall L 60), Carlos J, Scarlett T (Agombar H 45), West J (Bunn J 88)
Subs not used: Lalite L,East D