Ryman Div One North
Grays Athletic 1 v 3 Tilbury Town
GRAYS ATHLETIC lost their unbeaten run to a brave and resolute Tilbury Town in a 3-1 defeat at Rookery Hill.
Grays should have scored in the first minute. Danny Bunce blasted in a free kick which James Marrable palmed into the path of Jean-Michel Sigere but the Dockers bundled it away.
Grays had started like a train and were clearly hoping for the early breakthrough that had characterised many of their recent victories.
Both groups of fans were in good voice.
Tilbury opened the scoring in the 9th minute when lax defending saw the ball fall to Jack West and he hammered the ball out from 30 yards out.
With Harry Agombar out injured there was a question as to where the creativity would come from, especially with two defensive midfielders in the middle. However they didn’t panic and played some neat possession football.
West went close again in the 17th minute and the Dockers looked like they were playing without fear whilst Grays were perhaps trying to force things a bit.
Tom Webb sent in a free kick that swirled in the wind which was clearly a problem for Grays in the first half
Grays produced another fine sweeping move down the left involving Lee Flynn, Dave Cowley and then Louis Dennis but his shot was well blocked by Paul King.
A speculative Bunce free kick dropped just under the bar and was deftly tipped over by Marrable. The Dockers robust play saw the free kick mount up and you wondered if that was a reckless policy against the league leaders.
However, when Junior Baker headed over from two yards, you feared that Grays’ profligacy in front of goal could cost them again.
Sigere missed another two gilt-edged chances before half time: the first: he took a touch, the second he was a danger to shipping!
The Dockers went further in front on the stroke of half time when a goalmouth scramble saw former Blue Emil Aiken punt home from close range.
The second half began controversially as a Docker header looked to have hit the net but the referee waived away.
Grays went up the other end, Louis Dennis was upended in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Danny Bunce cooly slotted the ball home.
The wind increased. James Marrable’s goal kicks were struggling to get out of the area.
But for all their possession, Grays were not creating chances as the players lacked conviction and you could tell as the players bickered and it took Grant Gordon to tell them to relax.
Sigere ice again went close after a beautifully flighted cross from the right but in many ways Grays were flattering to deceive as the Dockers absorbed the pressure with discipline and organisation that had seen them take a few scalps this season.
The corners rained down, flirting with the crossbar.
Jack West could have made it three after great work by Emil Aiken down the right.
Eljay Worrell and Joe Sweeney joined the fray as the minutes ticked down and for every slick move from Grays, Tilbury produced a stout piece of defence.
Another great chance came in the 83rd as Joe Sweeney swept the ball from the right but Jean-Michel Sigere’s fancy dummy simply fooled everyone and avoided the goal.
Jack West did make it three in injury time latching on to a through ball and deftly passing the ball round the keeper and into the net.
The Dockers fans went mad at the final whistle and can be justly proud of their players who played like lions.
Grays Ath: A Hall, C Pope, L Flynn (J Sweeney 75),, J Baker, J M Sigere, G Cooper, D Bunce, K Beaney, L Dennis, D Cowley (E Worrell 74), J Carlos.
Subs not used: J Small, B Thomas, R Oxby,
Tilbury: J Marrable, B Bansende, B Barnes, P King (S West 46), J Nightingill, S Good, E Aitken, M Medine, J West, T Webb, A Matthews
Subs not used: T Wright, C Mead, J Fry, C Taylor