Sunday, March 26, 2023

Grays Ath 1 Ware 1

A wonderfully observed one minute silence for Remembrance Day, heralded an entertaining, but frustrating game for the Blues.
Grays set their game plan as early as the second minute when Baker headed goal ward from an Odoi cross which was stopped by man of the match, Murefu, in the Ware goal. Both Odoi and Fontaine on the wings looked lively and took the game to the visitors. Apart from the occasional attack by Ware, Grays dominated the first half and should have had this match rapped up by the break..
Ware almost took the lead in the 13th minute after a mix up in the Blues defence between Reynolds and Northwood almost let Wade through but a last ditch tackle kept the ball clear. From this moment on Grays played a neat passing game and took the play to the opposition. Si Thomas put young Osborn through on the right side of goal only for the ball to go wide, Pennant hit the ball wide from the edge of the box and the extensive pressure was held back by some sterling tackling by the tough Ware defensive line. Si Thomas got through to a one on one only to be judged offside. Danny Bunce, playing his normal solid game, shot from fully 30 yards with a rocket shot that Murefu parried away. Ware had a shot saved on the line by Northwood on one of their rare attacks, and Pennant was booked for a challenge on Wade in the 43rd minute. Pennant, in the thick of things at both ends, sent a free kick over the bar late in the half to see out the whistle, leaving the home supporters wondering why it was still level after a good display.
Grays started the second half as they finished the first with Odoi, Osborn and Fontaine all missing decent chances for the home side to take the lead. Slowly the hard working Ware team got back into the game, their midfield started to take control and their forward line started to pressurize the defence of the blues. Wade, Marshall and Roles tried to push home their advantage with shots which were saved by Northwood, and the Grays defence held off forays into the box by Karagul and Mitchell. Grays were set in their own half. Julian Dicks tried to steady the ship by replacing Odoi with Welsh in the 65th minute. The game was lightened for the home supporters when the ball was put out for a throw in and ended up in the burger bar, which got one of the biggest cheers of the day. Unfortunately neither incident changed the pressure being applied by Ware. Another substitution, Aiken on for Fontaine, in the 75th minute seemed to settle the Blues and Grays attacked. Marefu saved from Osborn and Welsh and with the ball coming into the penalty area from Welsh no-one from the Grays attack could get their foot to the ball to send it into the visitors goal. Then came the defining moment in the game. In the 80th minute the Ware defence set the ball out to their midfield, Ruff combined well with Roles who passed the ball into the Blues penalty area to find Luke Marshall free in the box to slot home past Northwood, against the run of play, Ware were one up to silence the Grays fans.
From the kick off the Blues pushed for the equaliser, Bunce and Baker pushing up from defence to give the Blues extra bodies in the opponents penalty area this paid off in the 85th minute when Bunce crossed into the area to be stopped by the Ware keeper only for Osborn to stab it home from close range. Grays went looking for the winner with ten player in the Ware half at times but to no avail, a booking for Marshall late in the half ran down the clock as the Ref blew to end an entertaining game.


  1. Grays Ath have players allegedly playing below their standard, Welsh being one, he only gets on on after 65 minutes, by then the tired legs in the opposition number, should be bread and butter for him, is his fully motivated, is he enjoying playing here, he should be a match winner on his own at this time of the game.

    You hear in the interview that even the managers tone admits things are not right.

    I wonder how many managers would admit they couldn’t see either team scoring, (changing the tactics might help, after all he does have a part to play) all that may have been needed was a bit of motivation, I do read a lot about Aiken and Thomas, it does seem that Thomas has had more than enough time, is it now time to try something different.

    I also heard that he has used almost the same players for 3 games, which should stabilise the team, has gone some way to seeing the topsy turvey performances continue.

    Reading the forum, you read some posters are doubting the ability of the team or managers to be any better than a mid-table team.

    The reality of many of the positive comments are realistically just papering over the cracks.

    Grays have a manager who has been relegated in each of his seasons in charge of teams, is this part of the problem, is he motivated, can he motivate, does he have the tactical nous?

    Then to the players, there are those allegedly playing below themselves, those that are playing above their standard and those that should be playing in this league, however the problem is they don’t seem to have the ability to play together as a team, is it the game play / tactics that are causing the issues, is it the lack of tactics or understanding of what is trying to be put in place.

    With every game that passes this means ONE less to get it right.

    I know at this time local football is on a downer and at Grays over the recent seasons it has been expected, but why now, lets pull together there is a future or IS there?

    Get it right before its too late.


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