Maidstone United v Grays Athletic
Preston Edwards, Kenny Davis, Craig Braham-Barrett, Paolo Vernazza, Cam Mawer, Gavin Hoyte, Serge Mafoko, Sam Cutler, Lee McEvilly, Richie Graham, Shelly Rigilioso
Colin Miles, Charlie Taylor, Peggy Lecando, Tommy Black, Bill Crowther, Danny Charge, Sam Long, David Bryan, Bill Lumley
Five days before the start of a new season, it appears that Craig Edwards may have become the first casualty of the season.
The club were remaining tight lipped, refusing to comment on the status of the manager but it doesn’t augur well when former Weymouth boss Alan Lewer appeared in the dugout with that one hell of a survivor, Gary Phillips.
The combination up front was certainly impressive. Seasoned Lee McEvilly and Shelly Rigilioso formed a considerable unit and in the early exchanges you could see that Mofoko and Graham appreciated having something to aim at.
Indeed when, in the 15th minute, McEvilly charged down the keeper’s clearance you could see the attraction of a forward such as the Ex-U.
Maidstone’s Nick Barnes showed great speed down the right forcing a foul from Braham-Barrett but the free kick was easily marshalled by Grays.
The first half hour lacked any real shape as the Grays players struggled to aquaint themselves with each other although Cammy Mawer and Gavin Hoyte looked a much more assured duo.
The keeper got away with a delayed clearance once but not a second time as Richard Graham charged him down in the 35th minute to roll the ball into the net.
Grays settled. Davis and Mofoko produced a lovely passage of play on the right. Sub Tommy Black started to spray the ball around.
Grays produced a beautiful passage of play on the stroke of half time as Mofoko surged into area and Rigilioso played a sumptuous one-two that the keeper did well to keep out.
Serge Mofoko then manfully tracked back, McEvilly showed deft skills and Cam Mawer was imperious at the back. In that passage of play you saw top quality Conference football from players comfortable at this level.
Grays rang the changes in the second half and the game suffered understandably.
Graham and Braham-Barrett continued to forage down the left while Bill Crowther looked assured in tandem with Mawer.
Tommy Black continued to impress, spraying a ball from the centre which left Barrett in but he was robustly tackled as the ball went away for a corner.
He recovered enough to produce a fine mazy dribble, passing several players before forcing Maidstone to concede a corner.
Maidstone’s first chance of the game came after 70 minutes as James Pinncocks; shot whistled over the bar.
The had another chance when Nugent broke free but his shot was well saved by Bill Lumley.
Grays continued to press with some impressive free flowing football but couldn’t press home the advantage