FA Cup Preliminary Rnd
AFC Dunstable 2 v 3 Grays Ath
GRAYS ATH made heavy weather to win 3-2 victory in the heart of Bedfordshire against AFC Dunstable in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.
The first chance came in the 2nd minute when Junior Baker’s header flashed across the area.
Debut keeper Andy Hall showed why he is so highly valued with a great low block in a crowded area in the 4th minute.
The early pressure told in the 9th minute when Louis Dennis scored from close range following a fine cross from Harry Agombar.
Grays looked well balanced and settled although Junior Baker and Danny Bunce seemed to spend most of the first half arguing.
Louis Dennis looked a different class as he skipped past players at will whist he should have scored with a glancing header on the 29th minute.
It was good to see Danny Bunce getting a run on the left of midfield as he brought a bite and dynamism to the flank.
But all the good work was undone by a pass back blunder by Bradley Thomas in the 36th minute which the AFC Dunstable striker Terry Billy latched onto easily to put them back in the game.
In the 40th minute, Junior Baker took the game by the scruff of the neck. Turned defence into attack, pushed the ball out to the left, the cross came in and he tucked it away from close range to restore the lead.
Dunstable nearly got back in again as the dangerous Billy broke free but both Thomas and Hall remained calm to snuff out the danger.
Grays third goal just came after the break when a fine Danny Bunce corner was met by the head of Bradley Thomas.
Grays continued to make life difficult for themselves as Danny Bunce was sent off for dragging back Billy when there was only the keeper to beat.
The (once again) ineffective Joe Sweeney made way for fans favourite Eljay Worrell.
The game went off the boil: Dennis produced a fine mazy run but it came back to life when the Dunst left back fired in a fine free kick from 25 yards that beat a stretching Andy Hall.
Dunstable should have equalised when the outstanding Billy shook off his marker but blasted wide when it would have been easier to score.
Grays defended a few half chances but safely saw out the game and enter the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.
Grays Ath: A Hall, C Pope, B Thomas, J Baker, L Flynn, J Fontaine (J Carlos 67), K Beaney, D Bunce, J Sweeney (E Worrell 51), L Dennis (J Small 88), H Agombar,
Subs not used: A Aksoy, D Cowley.