Thursday, December 7, 2023

Grays Athletic 2 v 1 Dagenham and Redbridge

Grays worked hard for a well-earned victory against a young and dangerous Dagenham side.

Grays started with an attacking formation with Mofoko and Graham bringing width. Graham played for an hour last night and has the touch of Damien Duff about him.

Solid challenges early on by Nick McKoy signalled an intent to boss the midfield.

In the 5th minute a superb through-ball to McLeod saw him with just the keeper to beat but his shot was aimed straight to the keeper.

But Wayne Burnett’s young charges were cutting through Grays at will. That has been a worrying common denominator in all six pre-seasons.

In the 12th minute, Davis conceded a foul just outside the box but the Daggers free kick came to nothing.

The Daggers incresed the pressure and a one handed save from Lunan saved Grays blushes.
Cool defending by Ngakam also kept things at bay but then sluggish defending by Thomas saw another free kick which just whistled past Lunan’s goal.

Daggers drew first blood in the 21st minute when a corner saw Smithee free on the far post. His shot was deflected into the net for Grays once again to go behind.

Grays perked up with Brayley and Slabber combining well but most of the attacks petered out through unforced errors.

Kenny Davis produced a fine 40 yard run but his shot was blocked.

The meagre crowd grew restless and it looked like the players could expect a blast from Craig Edwards at half time.

In the 34th minute, Grays produced the move of the half as mercurial Serge Mofoko produced a scintillating run to the dead ball line, his pull back went to Brayley but he was easily dispossessed.

The half ended with Jamie Slabber’s shot from just left of the area hitting the corner flag (Geoff Thomas;England v France ’92).

McLeod slid through another ball to Brayley but his shot hit the post. A minute later Slabber’s fine cross was just missed by Mofoko.

Space was opening up and when McLeod nodded down from the far post to Thomas he should have scored but the ball was scrambled away.

The second half started brightly: A neat passage of passing play between Davis and McLeod drew a blank while Slabber worked hard to dispossess a Daggers defender.

Grays didn’t let their heads drop and continued to dig away. Charles Taylor and Reggie Savage came on but the relentless number of misplaced passes and unforced errors made it a thankless task.

Having said that, Dagenham never really mounted a proper attack for the whole of the second half.

In the 78th minute Mofoko found space in the area and had a fair shout for a penalty as his shirt was tugged.

In the 80th minute, Grays got the well earned equaliser. Mckoy chipped through to Taylor who wrestled free from the defender. He passed square to Slabber who used all of his experience to slot the ball home.

Mofoko could have won the game, springing the offside trap but the keeper saved well with his feet.
Three minutes later he did with a fine solo run using pace and strength to surge into the area and score the winner.

Grays Athletic
Jamie Lunan
Kenny Davis
Bertie Brayley
Jamie Slabber
Allan McLeod
Jay Lovett
Nick McKoy
Serge Mofoko
Patrice Elbert
Bradley Thomas
Cedric Ngakam
Richard Graham

Paul Nichols
Charlie Taylor
Petrit Elbi
Reggie Savage
Jonathan Benoussan


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