Sunday, March 26, 2023

Enfield Town 2 v 0 Grays Athletic

THIS game had a bad day at the office written all over it. Two RTC’s and a North London Derby meant it took players and fans over to travel the two miles from Junction 25 of the M25 to the Brimsdown ground.

From the outset the Grays team looked off balance. The injured Jerome Ingram and Stephen Demetriou looked sorely missed as the team struggled to find any sort of rhythm.

Grays play looked rushed. Jason Fontaine looked headless and players such as Danny Bunce ill-at ease. Only Duran Reynolds played with any poise and composure.

The Samuels-Harvey axis looked over-run in midfield.

Enfield deservedly opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Keeper Nick Wilson had started to look nervous. Again he spilt the ball, tried to gather. Tom Harveys tried to intercept but upended the Enfield striker Hall who got up to score from the spot.

Grays tried to inject some urgency into the game but they couldn’t find any momentum. Jared Small tried to inject some invention and a shot from the right hand side troubled the keeper but not the net.

Ishmael Welsh came on for the second half but those hoping for a repeat of Saturday’s rampaging down the left were to be sorely disappointed. Welsh tucked in on the left and it was only in the 70th minute that he was able to produce a trademark run to the byeline but his cross was too strong.

By that time, the game had disappeared from Grays grasp. In the 55th minute, Marvin Samuel had incensed the home fans with a perfectly robust 50-50 challenge. The referee saw it that way as well. Marvin would have been advised to have kept it quiet for a while but on the contrary, he produced a reckless challenge that the referee saw fit to produce a straight red for.

It looked harsh but it summed up Grays night. Two minutes later, an individual piece of skill from Valenti saw Enfield put the game beyond doubt.

The game petered out. Enfield could have and should have made it 3-0 but they knew Grays had nothing more to give.

After five straight victories, Grays have now not won in three. The reality is that they need time to bed into this league and adapt. One of the key challenges is that Grays don’t look like a Ryman Div One North team. Many of the players look too good but then again so Charlton in League One.

Before the winter hits, Grays will need to carve out a football identity. Having said that, they may well have learned more in this defeat than the five victories.


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