A HOPELESSLY outclassed Grays were given a real football education as they went down 5-0 to Oxford.
It is clear that Oxford are going to tun away with this league and return to the heights that their infrastructure certainly deserves.
James Constable opened the scoring in the 8th minute as he shrugged Gavin Hoyte aside to head from close range.
Grays didn’t panic but the 4-5-1 gave them no attacking options.
Oxford went further ahead in the 24th minute with a highly disputed goal. Preston Edwards mistimed his jump but Matt Green lent into him; the ball fell to Constable and walked it into the net.
Grays stuck to the 4-5-1 when they needed a Plan B. Graham produced another fine cross but there was no-one there.
In the 42nd minute, Constable ran free down the left stroked it across to Jamie Cook to make it 3-0. As he was on four yellows, Constable went off to a rapturous reception.
The gulf in the two teams was summed up in the 55th minute when Graham produced a fine diagonal ball to Poole in space. Robson was steaming into the area but Poole mis-controlled passed weakly and fell over.
Jamie Slabber replaced Kenny Davis to give some focus up front and for a while Grays were able to stem the tide. Oxfords first corner came on the hour and their first shot on target in the 65th as Matt Green shot on the edge of the box was well smothered by Preston Edwards.
In the 67th minute good work by sub Petar Rnkovic dispossessed Steven Kinniburgh on the dead ball line pulled the ball back to Jamie Slabber but the ball struck Foster and bounced safely away.
Sub Jack Midson scored the fourth goal as Grays failed to clear and the shot from 18 yards flew past the hapless Edwards and in.
Worse was to come as Preston Edwards upended Midson in the box and was sent off. Midon scored from the spot firing it past Uddin.
At the same time, Hoyte and Graham squared up to each other while Braham-Barrett who had been chipping into his colleagues all afternoon argued with Vernazza.
On too many occasions, Oxford players are allowed to run into positions with nobody tracking. Grays were far too comfortable to play against.
Grays have the stability in personnel but they do look very light on resources. No goalkeeper and three attackers on the bench was not the way to go into this game.
Rnkovic came on and injected real pace and timing. It was Rnkovic and Charge who were the difference at Stevenage but they haven;t played together since. Hoyte’s mistakes continue to be fatal and Vernazza keeps the shape but still looks like a luxury Grays can ill afford.
Oxford Utd: Clarke, Chapman, Creighton, Foster, Kinniburgh, Bulman, Murray (Woodley 78), Clist, Cook, Constable (Midson 44), Green (Batt 66).
Subs Not Used: Sandwith, Day.
Goals: Constable 9, 24, Cook 43, Midson 73, 90 pen.
Grays Athletic: Edwards, Mawer, Hoyte, Uddin, Braham-Barrett, Davis (Slabber 46), Vernazza, Robson, Poole, Charge (Rnkovic 59), Graham.
Subs Not Used: Beavan, Cutler, Taylor.
Sent Off: Edwards (90).
Booked: Edwards, Uddin.
Referee: R Merchant (Staffordshire).