GRAYS kept in touch with the play-off places with an easy if not particularly attractive victory at Rookery Hill this afternoon.
Forest are anchored at the bottom of the table. With just two substitutes they looked a sorry lot but to be fair they played with commitment for the whole ninety minutes for what must be a thankless task.
Grays have impressed with tough matches against East Thurrock, Needham Market and Enfield recently and could be forgiven for taking their foot a little off the gas this afternoon as they try to time their last twelve games in six weeks.
Alex Osborn started brightly as he tried to be the pivotal force for a lot of one-twos up front. Things didn’t really come off as this appeared to be more of a game that saw Grays wear Forest down.
In the 17th minute. Forest created the first real chance which brought out a fine save from Stephen Northwood.
In the 19th minute, John Docker fired through a free kick which Forest managed to bundle away.
Mistakes through miscues cost Grays a corner but luckly Forest had no real striker to threaten. Minutes later Forest broke clear but Danny Smith did well to usher the danger away.
Just before half time, Grays broke the deadlock when another keen Docker free kick was fluffed by the keeper and Duran Reynolds fired home from close range.
The action wasn’t over as the keeper was ordered off soon after. Osborn broke clear. The keeper tackled him just outside the area. The referee decided that his tackle was late and ordered him off.
There is no doubt that Julian Dicks had a few words with the team at half time and reminded them that not to win this match would be a cardinal sin. So it was hardly surprising that Grays scored two within the first five minutes of the second half.
Danny Morgan bundled another one home from close range and then John Docker produced a fabulous strike from twenty five yards to secure the three points.
Grays were able to being on three subs in the shape of Jared Small, Steven Demetriou and Jason Fontaine. Jared Small looked so assured and it was just desserts that he got on the score sheet in the 84th minute when the makeshift keeper seemed to let Small’s shot just pass straight into the goal.
There will be greater challenges to come for Grays as they face their final twelve games of the season. They are seven points behind with four games in hand. They can do it as they have a reasonable run of games. The crunch will come with the fixtures against a resurgent Brentwood and Wingate the end of the month.
S.Norwood, D Smith, D Reynolds, B Thomas, J Docker, D Pennant, A Osbourn, S Thomas,