Thursday, September 28, 2023

Waltham Abbey 2 v 0 Grays Athletic

GRAYS recent run of good form came crashing down this afternoon as they lost 2-0 to a hard-working Waltham Abbey.

The man of the match was Abbey keeper Harry Ricketts as time after time he kept the Grays attack at bay. Critics may say that Gray should have tucked the chances away but his finger tips saves were a sight to see on a bone chillingly cold day.

Gray started with confidence and style as the recent run had imbued the players with self belief. An early Steven Demetriou shot was cleared off the line and John Docker, still looking somewhat isolated on the right showed invention and wit as he made chance after chance for the attack.

But it was Abbey who had the best chances. A flowing attack in the 11th minute saw Stephen Northwood smother a close range shot.

In the 15th minute, Docker dribbled across the edge of the penalty area but his clumsy shot went wide.

Danny Bunce was booked in the 23rd minute as he became frustrated with the assistant referee. It seemed appropriate that, at the home of the final resting place of King Harold, the linesmen was also having a little problem with his vision.

It also seemed ironic that there were females questioning whether this man had a firm grasp of the offside rule!

Demetriou produced another fine example of ball control on the edge of the area, volleying the ball into the top corner but the keeper produced a marvellous finger tip save to deny the Blues.

It seemed only a matter of time before Grays scored, just a matter of time beforw Alex Osbourn got the rub of the green but as the second half went on, it seemed that Grays started to run out of ideas.

Whereas you thought, they might have a go at the 3-5-2 that cropped up a few weeks ago, we saw the welcome return of Daniel Charge but somewhat out of position. It was Dean Pennant and Marvin Samuel who failed to create anything substantial.

In the 51st minute, Simon Thomas was through with just the keeper to beat but again he thwarted Grays.

The breakthrough came in the 56th minute when Kieron Ogunkoya got behind Junior Baker and he deftly lobbed the ball over the marooned and into the net.

Alex Osbourn almost scored from the restart but the ball trickled past the post.

For the rest of the half, Grays really failed to penetrate the defence. Fair play to Abbey who kept Grays at bay but it appeared that there was no real Plan B when you needed one.

Tom Saxton put the result beyond doubt on the stroke of full time as Grays trudged off to a disappointing defeat.

The Grays dressing room remained shut for a considerable time so we were unable to get an interview but there will be no doubt that the manager will ask the players for a lot more come Wednesday when they play Southend in the Essex Senior Cup.


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