FA Cup 1st Prelim Rnd
Grays 1 v 2 Aveley
A BUMPER crowd enjoyed an action packed local FA Cup derby which saw Aveley run out winners 2-1 at Rookery Hill.
In the 2nd minute, a neat through ball by Kenny Beaney was just too long for Jean-Michel Sigere.
Aveley looked organised and seemed prepared to play the long ball and wait for their chance.
But Aveley in Reece Morgan had a dangerous looking central midfielder.
However Joao Carlos is on fire and especially if you leave him unmarked at the far post. In the 6th minute he easily headed past McCartney to put the Blues in the lead.
Aveley struck back in the 8th minute with a looping back header from Spencer Harrison.
In the 13th minute, David Cowley sent in a wonderful cross. Louis Dennis had the goal at his mercy but headed wide.
It went to the other end where Morgan missed a sitter from six yards.
Aveley’s defence looked there for the taking. A Harrison handball gave Grays a free kick but Agombars strike was easily dealt with.
This was the first time Grays looked under pressure this season and started to look scruffy.
Again, the Millers Johnson should have done better with a scuffed shot as Aveley looked more likely to score in a very even game.
Harrison was living dangerously as he committed another foul on Dennis for a free kick but Aveley managed to scramble the ball away.
Sherwin Stanley marauded on the break and was only prevented from shooting by a fine tackle from Kenny Beaney.
In the 32nd minute,keeper Dave McCartney produced an outstanding point blank save after great diagonal work from Grays. A minute later, Junior Baker blasted over the bar and soon after Dennis heading was once again off the target.
Cowley had the measure of Miller full back Donovan Wilson.
Andy Hall had looked nervous all game and he compounded it in the 36th minute by letting a speculative shot by Sherwin Stanley from the far right sail right over his head.
Aveley now had Grays for the taking as you could see the belief drain from them. They should have made it three when a shot in the area went through two Millermen.
Poor defending gave Grays a corner but once again a header failed to worry Dave McCartney.
In the 43rd minute, Louis Dennis had a chance to chip a stranded keeper but delayed and the moment was lost.
The Miilers were doing what no other team had done, go through the middle as one of Grays’ weaknesses is defending with two banks of four.
Grays came out of the blocks in the second half with Harry Agombar hitting the bar in the 48th minute.
The pressure was all Grays without producing anything of note and with mis-placed passes and a lack of cutting edge, it looked like they needed a Plan B.
Meanwhile, Aveley remained calm and assured as the clock ticked down which is more than could be said for Andy Hall who once again left a ball that ended up hitting the post.
In the 61st minute, Louis Dennis’ hit the bar and he was soon subbed for Joe Sweeney.
Lee Flynn’s free kick was easily saved by McCartney and you started to feel that the only thing that was going to beat Aveley was fatigue.
Grays fans grew frustrated as there seemed to be no plan B and the toothless subs Small and Sweeney were no the answers.
Aveley had the ball in the net but it was chalked off for offside.
Daniel Francis had a fine shot tipped over the bar by Andy Hall and Ellis Remy went close from the corner.
Meanwhile Grays kept hoofing the ball up when it should be going to feet.
The final throw of the die saw Eljay Worrell come on and play a 4-3-3 but he did not have enough time to make an impact.
There was a final semi-flourish but the Millers never looked really troubled and the men from Aveley go through to Mondays draw.
Referee: A Neil
Aveley: S Harrison
Grays Ath: A Hall, C Pope, B Thomas, J Baker, L Flynn, D Cowley, H Agombar, K Beaney, L Dennis (J Sweeney 66), Joao Carlos (E Worrell 81), J M Sigere (J Small 79)
Subs not used: J Fontaine,, R Oxby J McEvoy, AAksoy
Aveley: D McCartney, R Andrews, D Wilson, T Russell, S Harrison, R Morgan, J May, M Hyde, S Stanley, E Remy, S Bonnett-Johnson (D Francis 71)
Subs not used: C Griffiths, Kunle Adekoye, R Stalley, , C Reed, L Warren