Grays showed plenty of promise as they slowly edged past Met Police 4-2.
It must be difficult going from the challenge of the Premier League to the “shouty” world of Ryman Div One North and Grays took a while to adjust. The defence looked sound with the Thomas/Lovett combo assured but they needed a bit more protection from a defensive midfield.
In the 8th minute Nick McKoy worked hard to win a corner which came to nothing.
In the 16th. Met sprung the offside trap but the shot blasted over.
Grays earned another free kick on the quarter hour but once again they couldn’t pierce the Met defence.
Three minutes later, Met broke the deadlock as a harmless free kick sailed over the Blues defence and into the goal.
An impressive Michael Haswell was becoming frustrated as he continued to make space on left flank but his colleagues couldn’t see him.
Up front, Bertie Brayley was full of invention and trying to get others in the game.
In the 25th minute the inventive Nick McKoy produced a fine run into the left hand side of the box but his shot flashed across the box and into touch.
Met’s first touch was good and but for a Bradley Thomas block would have gone further ahead.
By now the team were starting to annoy Craig Edwards and he was starting to bark the orders.
Grays equalised in the 38th minute when some demolition tackling by Haswell created space fro Santos who was upended by the keeper in the box. Brayley neatly slotted the penalty home.
Grays began the second half with a 4-3-3 with Mafoko trying to stretch the front line and Vernazza beginning to dominate the midfield. A neat Cruyff turn by Brayley earned a free kick
In the 49th minute Grays took the lead when Saviger sprung the offside trap and made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
But for some reason Grays took their foot off the gas and let the Met back into the game. It was still no excuse as Vernazza was dispossessed on the edge of the box for Met to level the score.
It wasn’t for another fifteen minutes until Grays had another attack but again a lack of understanding saw the attack breakdown. Grays had wrung the changes but a lot of players seemed to want a touch which even against the Met they could ill-afford.
McLeod was coming more into the game as he desperately tried to drive the team forward. Louis saved the teams blushes. In the 75th minute Saviger sneaked round the back of a Grays free kick to volley the team back into the lead.
Class will out and five minutes later Saviger appeared on the left hand side of the box, he flicked a lovely chip over to the right hand side for Brayley to slam home.
Gray started to really gather steam: a one touch game appeared and you could start to see the nucleus of a starting eleven.