GRAYS missed the opportunity to collect another three points when they let ten-man Heybridge back into the game to draw at the Scraley Road ground.
Cowley immediately looked more comfortable on this surface. Kenny Beaney winning early exchanges in midfield. Grays were forcing mistakes.
In the 11th minute, Joe Sweeney shot from 30 yards out and keeper Jason Willis fumbled it.
Swifts seemed to be looking for the fouls but the referee Mr Wood wasn’t having any of it.
Ian Gayle nearly bundled in a corner in the 15th minute as pressure continued to mount and a minute later Wills redeemed himself with a point blank save.
The deserved breakthrough came in the 19th minute when Jared Small was upended in the box. Danny Bunce confidently put the ball away.
Heybridge should have equalised immediately when a header from two yards out went over the bar.
Heybridge are tipped for promotion but seemed a tad nervous. They out-thought Grays last year but this season seemed to be thinking too deeply about Grays.
The game soured in the 25th minute when a poor poor tackle by Craig Pope led to a mass brawl. Many players steamed in including Michael Toner who raised his hands. Pope should have walked but he got a yellow.
Agombar received a yellow on the half hour and Swifts Ashley Hawkins a minute later. It was essential that the referee take a grip of the game.
When Harry Agmobar tried a 35 yard shot in the 37th minute it felt like the first piece of football in ten minutes.
Two clearances off the line by Swifts illustrated the pressure they were under not helped by an absolute drenching.
In the 42nd minute, Ian Gayle gave away a free kick just outside the box. Taylor Hasting kick went straight into the wall as Grays ushered the ball away.
The half finished with a Danny Bunce piledriver and a Jared Small strike both going over the bar as Grays went looking for the vital second goal.
A collection of errors punctuated the start of the second half as the wet conditions took its toll. Swifts pressed. A 52nd minute corner was easily dealt with but stressed how important the second goal would be.
Jason Fontaine came on for Dave Cowley in the 55th minute as Grays continued to let Swifts back in the game. A Swifts free kick was deflected for a corner that Ali Aksoy spilled and with Hakan berating Carlos for his profligacy, you started to worry for Grays.
Another Bunce piledriver was turned over neatly by Willis for a corner From which, Danny put in another one and once again Willis fended it off. Kenny Beaney tried an overhead kick but it went wide.
An Aksoy miscue ceded a corner. He did well to hang on to the ball when it came in but is starting to annoy his strikers with his distribution.
A well worked free kick earned Grays a corner. Junior Baker got a head but no more as another chance lacked penetration.
Grays started to get more of the possession. Eljay Worrell came on for Joao Carlos.
A rare attack by Swifts saw Tom Broadhurst fire in from the right which Ian Gayle cut out.
The quality of play declined until the 75th minute Eljay Worrell curled a lovely ball just over the Swifts bar.
The equaliser came in the 79th minute when former Blues Bertie Brayley chipped a static Ali Aksoy from the right hand side.
Swifts went looking for a winner whilst Grays players continued to slip and slide.
Stephen Northwood may want to pencil himself in for Monday as Aksoy once again let the ball slip out of his hands and how the ball stayed out fo the goal is beyond everyone.
Grays tried to press for the winner without looking convincing.
Ian Gayle was dispossessed on the half way line but managed to get back to correct his mistake.
A final free kick was once again spilled by Aksoy but Grays hung on against the admirable Heybridge to claim an away point.