Ryman Div One North
Grays Ath 0 v 0 Cheshunt
GRAYS produced a listless, error strewn performance, in a goal-less draw against Cheshunt at Rookery Hill on Sunday afternoon.
But the Blues have now extended their unbeaten run in the league and increased their lead at the top of the table.
Hakan gambled against the Ambers in leaving his two effective wingers on the bench and it did not come off.
Louis Dennis mazy dribble forced the first corner of the match and with Cheshunt fielding a very young team and two subs, there was an anticipation that this could be a mis-match. How wrong they were!
But Grays needed to put their game-face on as they made a series of unforced errors early on.
A Danny Bunce free kick went close in the eighth minute but the first fifteen minutes was marked by a total lack of fluency.
Once again, Louis Dennis danced past the Cheshunt defence but his final ball just failed to find Joe Sweeney.
Lee Flynn was very lucky to stay on the park after a very poor tackle but only received a warning.
Cheshunt matched Grays and illustrated why they are only one of only two teams to beat Waltham Forest.
In the 20th minute, keeper Joe Wright fell awkwardly hurting his head but with one sub on the bench it was a case of a Terry Butcher headband and carry on!
Jason Fontaine should have opened the scoring: he ghosted into the area to latch onto a great cross from Danny Bunce but could only find the keeper.
Indeed, the Ambers should have taken the lead when a magnificent strike from Josh Hutchinson beat Andy Hall and hit the post.
To their credit, Cheshunt worked their socks off in the first half and deservedly went in at half time, even.
Grays brought on Joao Carlos for the start of the second half to try and bring some dynamism to Grays’ game.
Tempers started to rise. Cheshunt Jordan Lumsden threw a punch at Craig Pope but once again the referee just had a quiet word.
Danny Bunce put through a great ball to Joe Sweeney but if he isn’t in the six yard box he looks totally ineffectual.
Bunce, like Fontaine in the first half squandered a chance in front of goal as the unforced errors continued to mark out Grays’ game.
Grays attacks continued but they were neutralising themselves. Corners drifted aimlessly out and players looked stuck for ideas.
The Cheshunt Ian Salt shouted “tempo” to his team and you felt they looked more likely to win.
In the 70th minute, Jean-Michel Sigere flicked a header into the path of Louis Dennis but his wayward shot was symptomatic of Grays’ malaise.
With the temperature passing 30 degrees, stamina would be key but although Cheshunt were starting to wilt, they had nothing to worry about if Grays could not hit the target, put in a cross, judge the offside trap.
To be fair, Harry Agombar was doing all he could to put players in but it was a thankless task.
Praise must go to Cheshunt who never gave up, who never stopped running, who exposed the questionable stamina of the Grays team and gave hope to all the other teams in the league that Grays can be exposed.
At the same time, Grays did not lose and they extended their lead at the top of the league to five points.
Grays now face Tilbury in what will be a very exciting local derby.
Grays Ath A Hall, C Pope, B Thomas, L Flynn, J Baker, J Fontaine (J Carlos 45), D Bunce (D Cowley), K Beaney, H Agombar, J Sweeney (J-M Sigere), L Dennis
Subs not used: E Worrell, G Cooper.