Ryman Div One North
Maldon and Tiptree 1 v 3 Grays Ath
Grays remain top of the league with a performance that was in doubt for a long time but in the end were worthy winners.
Grays looked like the pacy side of a week ago. In the 5th minute, Harry Agombar found Joe Sweeney down the left channel who in turn found Joao Carlos. The move came to nothing but illustrated how well Agombar plays with Sweeney.
A clumsy foul on David Cowley in the 15th minute earned Grays a free kick just outside the area. Lee Flynn stepped up and rifled the ball right into the heart of the net.
But Maldon got right back into it in the 17th minute when MacLeod headed in from close range.
Suddenly it was all Maldon and Grays needed to re-establish their authority which they were trying to do with the early ball.
Maldon were relishing this and clearly felt that there was a fragile confidence running through Grays. Indeed, Grant Cooper was calling for the team to just calm down.
There seemed to be more displaced passes in one half than there had been all season.
Grays started the second half continuing to dwell on the ball and making unforced errors.
For the first ten minutes of the second half there was no discernable action. The fact was that even on the hour mark, Maldon were running out of steam but Grays couldn’t gather any momentum or indeed come up with a plan B.
But that all changed in the 70th minute when a clumsy challenge in the area on Joao Carlos saw the Maldon defender receive a red card and Danny Bunce score from the spot.
This looked like the story of Maldon’s season so far and took the stuffing out of them. Grays were transformed and played with a lot more verve.
The game was out beyond doubt in the 90th minute when a free flowing move saw Joe Sweeney sweep the ball in to take all three points.
It wasn’t vintage football but it was three points, Grays remain top of the league but they will have to keep one eye on the form of Needham Market.
Grays Ath: A Hall, L Flynn, G Cooper, D Bunce, B Thomas, K Beaney, H Agombar, J Carlos, J Small, J Sweeney, D Cowley.
Subs not used: L Dennis, J-M Sigere, S Muguo, C Brien, S Thurgood