Report by Chris Jones
Grays Athletic secured their first win of pre-season as they overcome the recently formed Essex United 4-0 at The Academy
After the physical match in midweek, Blues were able to control things a little more against Essex United this afternoon as both teams attempted to play football that was pleasing to the eye.
The first real chance of the match came midway through the first half as ex-Aveley winger Joao Carlos’ looping header got the better of Joe Woolley in the opposition goal, only for the ball to fall onto the bar. The Portuguese-born Carlos then took the game by the scruff of the neck as he carved out several chances for his team-mates to open the scoring.
First up, Carlos almost picked out Joe Sweeney but his attempts to reach the bar went agonisingly close, before Harry Agombar’s header hit the woodwork after 35 minutes. Shortly after, Carlos delivered to the back post where Eljay Worrell was waiting to head the ball in for the opening goal of the match.
Almost from the restart, Ali Aksoy, on trial with the Blues was forced into a fine save from a long range effort, forcing the ball behind for a corner.
The second goal again came courtesy of a header at the back post, and again was created by the trickery and fine delivery of Carlos. This time however, it was Grant Cooper who finished off the move.
In the dying seconds of the first half, one time Blues player Mark Wright found himself clean through with just the keeper to beat. He successfully took it past the ensuing keeper, only for his effort to blazed over the bar.
The second half saw plenty of substitutions by both sides which disrupted the flow of the game, however prior to being substituted, Sweeny himself found himself clear through, only for Joe Woolley to save as he tried to take it round it round the keeper.
From a corner, the ball fell to Lee Flynn who unleashed a powerful drive from all of 25 yards. The ball hit the upright before hitting the bar with both the players and crowd unsure if it had crossed the line. Joe Sweeney ensured the debating was over as he rushed in to stab home the loose ball.
Second half substitute Petri Elbi broke the offside trap before shooting low across the goal. His effort was parried, but only into the path of Jared Small who wrapped up the final goal.
A clean sheet, four separate scorers and a good run-out for the squad would have left the management team satisfied with their day’s work.
Next up for The Blues is Ryman Premier side AFC Hornchurch who travel to Rookery Hill on Wednesday night.
Starting Lineup – Ali Aksoy (Trialist), Dan Smith, Grant Cooper, Bradley Thomas, Lee Flynn, Eljay Worrell, Harry Agombar, Danny Bunce, Joao Carlos, Joe Sweeney, Jean-Michel Sigere
Subs – Trialist, Junior Baker, Jared Small, Papy Kanyuka, Richard Oxby, Jason Fontaine, Charlie Hurlock, Petri Elbi