Ryman Div One North
Chatham 0 v 2 Grays Ath
GRAYS continued their unbeaten start to the season with an emphatic and stylish victory against second placed Chatham.
Far from a tense opening both teams looked to play expansive football
Gray should have opened the scoring in the eighth minute when beautiful link up lay in the middle of the park saw David Cowley put Jao Carlos free. Carlos attempted to lift the ball over the keeper, who did well to pluck the ball and scramble it away.
Grays movement was impressive but Chatham looked durable. Too durable perhaps as two nasty fouls saw a couple of Chatham players receive yellow cards.
Gray steadily applied pressure: Cowley had a thunderbolt charged down but he was a villain at the other end in the 25th minute as he needlessly scythed down a Chatham attacker on the edge of the area. Grays easily headed the free kick away but they would have heard Hakan’s demands for the team to ‘Wake up!”
A point blank Junior Baker header was well saved by the keeper and a rasping Cowley shot went close but the first half was becoming a fraught affair.
The key seemed to be whether Grays could read the runs of Louis Dennis. Infact a stray Carlos pass as Dennis over-lapped illustrated the teams dilemma.
But Grays pressure paid off in the 38th minute. Carlos put Lee Flynn free on the left, he passed low and hard to Louis Dennis who was upended by the Chats defender.
Young Harry Agombar held his nerve to strike the ball high into the goal.
Chatham began the second half getting at Grays. A free kick in the 48th minute went close.
At the other end, Louis Dennis wove past two players on the edge of the area before being tripped. He stayed on his feet and was about to pull the trigger but the referee called it back. Grays went close from the free kick but the team had to go on and get the second otherwise the draw like Heybridge looked very much on the cards.
In the 54th minute, Dennis produced more brilliance as a wonderful curling shot was denied by the keeper who tipped it over for a corner.
From the corner came the second goal as Harry Agombar whipped on ein which fooled everyone and gave Grays the daylight they needed.
Grays were high on confidence with defenders moving effortlessly into midfield, attackers trying scissor kicks and all the players a pace quicker and more alert than Chatham.
Andy Hall didn’t have a lot to do but dealt very well with a Chatham free kick in the 70th minute.
Danny Bunce came on for David Cowley to beef up the midfield but it was their artistry that held sway and none more so than Louis Dennis who should have scored again with another dazzling run that the keeper did well to fend off.
Chatham should have got back into the game but dwelt on a number of chances whilst Grays had the luxury of stepping off the gas, saving players energy, enjoying being top of the league as they head towards Wednesdays clash against Sudbury.
Grays Athletic: A Hall, C Pope, L Flynn, B Thomas, J Baker, D Cowley (D Bunce 71), JM Sigere (J Small 75), K Beaney (E Worrell 80), H Agombar, L Dennis, J Carlos
Subs not used: G Cooper, J Fontaine,