IT WAS sunshine and champagne football all the way as Grays produced a fabulous 4-0 victory against Hertfordshire outfit, Ware.
Grays produced everything their fans would have hoped for after the dour Dick’s era with free flowing imaginative football mixed with industry and confidence.
The opening salvo came from Grays: Cowley fired the ball across and Joao Carlos fired over the bar.
Grays opened the scoring in the 7th minute when a long ball by keeper Aksoy was fumbled by the Ware defence and Joe Sweeney pounced to slot the ball sweetly into the net.
Ware responded with some good passing in midfield but there was some serious hustling in defence by Grays although having said that Ware looked a little short of ideas.
Dave Cowley was seeing a lot of the ball and Grant Cooper was classy in defence.
Grays first corner came in the 18th minute which Ware easily headed away.
On the other flank, Carlos looked classy and another shot was slightly off but he continued to look dangerous.
The rain fell heavily and each team looked like a moment away from disaster. Craig Pope just got away with it in front of keeper Aksoy.
A free kick for Grays in the 28th minute. Lee Flynn floated it over but nobody could get to it.
Kenny Beaney had a great chance in the 30th minute from from 25 yards; the keeper spilled it but Joe Sweeney just failed to get to it. A Lee Flynn free kick piled further pressure as Grays went looking for the second; another Carlos shot was parried by keeper Greenwood.
In the 25th minute, Harry Agombar produced a fantastic through ball to Joe Sweeney who couldn’t break free from his marker.
Ware’s best passage of play came in the 45th minute as the ball flashed past the Grays goal but that just prompted Grays best move as the team stroked the ball across the area and Sweeney from just outside the area picked his spot and rifled it past Greenwood.
In the second half, Grays picked up where they left off with Ware keeper under more pressure after another spill.
Grays picked up the pace and oozed confidence with players such as Harry Agombar really expressing themselves whilst Kenny Beaney was effective in the key “water-carrier” role.
The third goal should have come in the 59th with Carlos free on the far post but his downward header went wide.
It came on the 61st minute when Harry Agombar again slipped the ball through to Joe Sweeney who pushed it past the keeper for a hat-trick.
The movement from Grays was outstanding and the fans delighted in seeing such free-flowing and imaginative football.
The free flowing football continued as sub Eljay Worrell found space in the left side of the area, strode into the area and fired the fourth for Grays.
Ware had lost 4-0 in their final pre season friendly and Grays had won by a similar score.
Grays kept the pressure on in the final ten minutes. Eljay again went close twice whilst Harry Agombar simply never stopped.
Filmed interviews to come.
Ally Aksoy, Craig Pope, Lee Flynn, Kenny Beaney (Danny Bunce 75), Junior Baker, Grant Cooper, David Cowley (Jason Fontaine 78), Harry Agombar, Joe Sweeney, Jean-Michel Sigere, Joao Carlos (E Worrell 70)
Subs not used: Stephen Northwood, Jared Small
Booking: C Pope
Man of the Match: Joe Sweeney
Match Rating 9/10