A COOL, calm and collected finish from sub Alex Osborn saw Grays dig out a well-earned 2-2 draw against Ryman Premier outfit Bury Town.
Grays had the best 45 minutes of the season as they gave played wonderful possession football in midfield and attack while the defence effectively shackled former Ipswich star James Scowcroft.
In the 7th minute, Bury striker Lee Reed showed deft control and a fine shot skimmed the Gray’s bar.
But Ishmael Welsh, playing in the hole and Jared Small started to trouble the Bury defence while the midfield successfully broke up the Bury game and never game the chance to settle.
Grays’ first corner came in the 12th minute. Steven Demetriou sent it over, Duran Reynolds turned and drove it into the keeper Marcus Garnham.
With Garnham looking increasingly hesitant Grays had a couple of chances to beat him but desperate defending beat them off.
While at the other end, Junior Baker vital header spurned another Bury advance away.
In the 32nd minute, Jared Small’s shot was deflected, the ball fell to Ishmael Welsh who should have done better as his shot went astray
In the 35th minute, keeper Garnham’s airshot almost gave Grays the lead. In the 39th, Grays made the breakthrough when a fine passage of passing play saw Jason Fontaine cross from the right and Steven Demetriou volley the ball to the right of the keeper and into the net.
Grays knew that Bury would come out fighting but what was surprising was how meek Grays were. The game was stopped for a couple of minutes after Baker received a knock. It upset Grays momentum as in the 48th minute, the dangerous Scowcroft nodded the ball down into Sam Reed’s path who struck it home from close range.
Worse was to come as in the 55th minute, Duran Reynolds upended Shawcroft in the box. The referee had no hesitation and Chris Henderson put the Suffolk side into the lead.
Now was the time for Bury to bury Grays as the Blues simply lost all rhythm and bite.
What became clear is that Gray may be in real need of a Conference standard midfielder just as they have in defence and attack.
Speaking of which, Alex Osborn came on for Ishmael Welsh in the 71st minute and immediately brought speed, class and guile up front.
Bury missed a number of chances as Grays went to three at the back as Duran Reynolds made way for Chris Barry.
In the 83rd minute, Grays got back on terms. For all their passing football, it was route one football. The long ball forward played into Alex Osborn’s path. Whilst every other striker from both sides fluffed their lines, Osborn was right on cue as he fended off the Bury defenders and fired the ball home past keeper Garnham.
Bury came back and the last fifteen minutes should have seen them win the game.
Chris Henderson should have scored when clear but chipped over.
Grays held on admirably to bring Bury back to Rookery Hill on Wednesday night.
Ross Brown, Eljay Worrell, Junior Baker, Duran Reynolds, Danny Bunce, Jason Fontaine, Marvin Samuels, Tom Harvey, Ishmael Welsh, Steven Demetriou, Jared Small
Subs: Stuart Robinson, Chris Barry, Jerome Ingram, Alex Osborn, Danny Hearty