Grays were humbled in a spirited encounter as Conference South outfit Worcester City beat them 3-1 in the First Round of the FA Trophy.
Grays started well. Strong running by Harry Agombar forced a corner as Grays exerted early pressure. Both Richard Graham and Harlee Dean were able to stretch the home side but with only one recognised attacker were Grays being too cautious?
Worcester’s first attack came through a free kick in the 10th minute but skipper Gavin Hoyte was able to easily head away. A minute later Alfie Carter’s sizzling over head quick just flew over the bar.
A nasty tackle by Alain Lagombe just outside the box saw him receive a yellow but Craig Wilding’s rasping free kick went just wide of Stuart Robinson’s post.
Worcester’s pressure paid off in the 16th minute when, from a Wilding corner, Rob Elvin’s flew unmarked at the near post to head Worcester into the lead.
Grays got back into the game in bizarre fashion in the 21st minute when Agombar drove a free kick into the area, it clipped off the back of Wilding’s head and keeper Jake Meredith caught the ball but enough of the ball was over the line for the goal to stand.
Two minute later and Grays defenders playing statues, Alfie Carter latched onto a loose ball from close range and bobbled the ball past Stuart Robinson.
With only Hudson-Odoi as an outlet, the Grays midfield struggled to keep the ball and with Hudson-Odoi dropping deeper it looked like six in midfield.
Worcester should have made it three as Marc McGregor broke free on the right put in a marvellous cross from which Davies’ header struck the post.
Julian Dicks recognised the problem and brought on Glenn Poole and Fola Onibuje for Alsenny Cissoko and Harry Agombar but Worcester’s confidence was now sky-high.
Good work in the 51st minute by Richard Graham forced a corner which City comfortably defended. At the other end Worcester went close in a goalmouth scramble as they looked to extend their league.
Grays had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Glenn Poole was brought down in the box. Grays weren’t panicking and tried to play neat possession football but City’s hunger was overwhelming them.
The swift Carter forced a series of corners. In the 63rd minute Onibuje did well to force a header away.
In the 69th minute, Glenn Poole flashed the ball across the area but Hudson-Odoi just failed to connect with the ball.
Billy Bingham continued to work hard and produced two shots but they were square at the keeper.
A lot of the good work was coming down the right from Richard Graham. Onibuje went close with a header from a Graham cross as they desperately looked for the equaliser. Glenn Poole blazed over, Dean went close again and Gavin Hoyte’s shot from outside the box went straight at the keeper.
In the 84th minute, Glenn Poole hit the bar. He held his head in his hands clearly wondering what he had to do to score.
The spirited match continued to see action either end. Bunce was booked for a tackle on Dinsmore. From thirty yards, Craig Wilding’s free kick went straight through the wall and past Stuart Robinson to secure Worcester’s passage into the next round.
Due to reporting restrictions, YourThurrock was unable to interview Grays Athletic players and management.
Meredith J, Ward G, Clyde M, Wilding C, Daniel W, Kemp T, Davies R, Walker G, McGregor, Elvins R, Carter A (Dinsmore 78)
Subs not used: Dinsmore M, Adaggio M, Spencer K, Fitzpatrick J, Bridges L
Robinson S, Mawer C, Hoyte G (C), Lagombe A, Bunce D, Graham R, Cissoko A (Poole 37), Dean H, Bingham B, Agombar H (Onibuje 37), Hudson-Odoi B.
Subs not used: Edwards P, Davis K, Mallman C.