A WORKMANLIKE performance in freezing conditions was enough for Grays to march through to the next round of the Essex Senior Cup.
Grays got the break in the 8th minute, the beneficiaries of more muddled refereeing at this level. In the 7th minute Duran Reynold’s free kick from just outside the area struck the arm of a player in the wall and the referee pointed to the spot. Danny Bunce scored from the spot but only after the ball struck the post and went in.
Grays worked hard to produce fluency on a ground that was no more than a park pitch with barriers. Emile Aiken picked up where he left off as he put in a shift. At the other end, Stansted striker Ryan Murray was proving a handful.
Stansted equalised in the 28th minute when Junior Baker was adjudged to have taken down a player in the area. They should have made it two after a lovely passing move saw the ball sky over the bar.
Grays continued to move the ball well up front. Ishmael Welsh and Danny Bunce combined well on the left with the keeper saving well from a firm Welsh strike in the 28th minute and again five minutes later.
Grays scored the winner in the 52nd minute. Aiken produced good build up play as he thundered towards the Stansted goal. He slipped the ball to Alex Osbourn who slotted the ball past the keeper.
Stansted rarely threatened for the rest of the half. Jared Small came on for Grays and immediately made an impression. It was clear that Grays had really missed the busy striker. Aiken had a number of clear cut chances including a one on one with the keeper but like Simon Thomas doesn’t have the confidence to take a chance.
Special mention to the Grays fans who made the long trip on a bitterly cold night.
4-4-2 Northwood S, Worrall E, Baker J, Reynolds D, Bunce D, Docker J, Welsh I, Harvey T, Pennant D, Aiken E, Osbourn A