GRAYS ATHLETIC boosted their survival chances with a well-earned point against promotion chasing Torquay at Plainmoor last night (Tuesday).
The draw now sees them only three points behind Weymouth, two points ahead of Woking. Lewes are now relegated and Gray have also risen out of the relegation zone.
With back to back 4-1 defeats many tipped Grays to be in defensive mode and they had to be early on as a free kick by Nicky Wroe and a corner by Kevin Nicholson threatened keeper Rob Beckwith’s goal.
Grays couldn’t get out of their area for the first twenty minutes. Another foul on the edge of the area by Stuart Elliott gave Nicky Wroe another chance to chip in but it was well cleared by skipper Jamie Stuart.
On the half hour, winger Bradley Hudson-Odoi was starting to threaten and find the sprightly Jamie Taylor who just missed the target.
Grays had to re-shape with Tony Dinning going off. Sub George Beavan settled into the left back position while Kenny Davis bolstered the midfield.
With both sides conceding free kicks on dangerous positions, it seemed only a matter of time before one was converted. In the 38th minute, Gull’s Lee Hodges conceded a free kick for a foul on Jamie Taylor. Tommy Black crossed the ball and found Jamie Taylor whose clever angled header found the net.
The Blues piled on the pressure and could have made it two with former Gunner Tommy Black running the midfield and forcing an goal line clearance by Nicky Wroe.
The Gulls came out in the second half determined to not let the promotion points slip and immediately equalised.
In the 47th minute, Roscoe DSane found himself in space just outside the area and placed the ball neatly into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Grays knew that sitting back could be fatal but midfielders Black and Davis drove them on while Hudson-Odoi continued to fire in the crosses and prove a real handful for Torquay.
At the other end, Gulls left back put in in-swinging and out-swinging corners that tested all the experience of Fabian Wilnis and Jamie Stuart. Torquay just couldn’t find a way through as the Grays defence looked determined the hold on to the vital point.
Jamie Slabber replaced a near exhausted Jamie Taylor but he found himself with mainly defensive duties.
Torquay could have grabbed the winner with Chris Todd’s header missing the target by a whisker in the 86th minute.
Grays were elated to hear the final whistle blow knowing the importance of the vital point.
After the game, manager Gary Phillips said: “The boys have been fantastic tonight. From the off they have chased and harried. They would have deserved three points and go on to Burton full of determination.”
Torquay: Bevan, Robertson, Todd, Hodges, Nicholson, Carlisle, Wroe, Hargreaves, DSane (Stevens 79), Sills (Green 42), Benyon.
Subs Not Used: Carayol, Christie, Ellis.
Goals: DSane 48.
Grays Athletic: Beckwith, Elliott, Stuart, Wilnis, Davis, Cogan, Black, Dinning (Beavan 38), Hudson-Odoi, Taylor (Slabber 85), Pugh.
Subs Not Used: Quistin, Berry, Batchelor.
Goals: Taylor 39.
Ref: B Malone (Wiltshire).