Grays Ath hand two Christmas presents to Leiston as they blow two goal lead

Ryman Div One North

Leiston 2 v 2 Grays Ath

TONIGHT MATTHEW, Grays Athletic are going to be England. Unfortunately, this was England v West Germany in 1970. Cruising, 2-0 up. You make substitutions and you end up blowing the game.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing and it all made sense at the time but the moment Agombar, Cowley and Sweeney went off, the creative heart went out of the team. Having said that, it may have been the defence who ended up being the achilles heel.

Grays started strongly. David Cowley nearly opened the scoring in the 2nd minute when he released a thunderbolt which cracked the bar.

A minute later, Leiston broke free but keeper Andy Hall was quick in coming out of his area to cover.

Grays were clearly looking to press hard but that was leaving gaps and in the 10th minute, Hall had to be at his best to block another chance.

But both teams were committed to an open game with Hakan imploring his team to get the ball out wide.

The Leiston corners were coming thick and fast but Leiston couldn’t make them pay but Grays could. In the 22nd minute,Joao Carlos drove into the area and was chopped down. The referee pointed to the spot.

The impressive midfielder, Harry Agombar calmly drove the penalty home.

But Leiston looked like a dangerous unit and should have equalised in the 29th minute when a free header in front of goal went just over the bar.

Grays continued to attack without carving out any real chances and Leiston were conceding far too many fouls but at the other end they were exploiting the new Baker/Olima partnership.

Grays came out in the second half determined to extend their lead.  David Cowley produced a fine mazy run in the 55th minute that got to the heart of Leiston defence but he couldn’t produce the killer ball.

Paul Olima put a great through ball into Joe Sweeney but Joe as in the whole of the game just couldn’t produce anything.

Luckily Anthony Ryan has been a real find and in the 62nd minute ran onto a through ball to prod the second ball past the keeper and in.

That goal took the christmas stuffing out of Leiston who now endeavoured to get back. But they are an impressive team with an expansive and attractive game.

But this is where the game changed. Kenny Beaney came on for Harry Agombar as Hakan looked determined to shut down the midfield supply and then Danny Bunce and Jared Small also came on and the team lost its rhythm.

It didn’t succeed as Leiston got back into the game as Rhys Henry half volleyed from the far post in the 77th minute.

Everything went very frantic as Leiston sensed they could get a result and they were right as Henry scored again in the 83rd minute.

Grays tried to fight back but it was all too frantic. An away point but two points spurned that Grays may rue come April.

Leiston: Johnson, Saker, Wardley, Head, Jefford, Calver, Henry, Heath (Driver 58 mins), Stone (Smy 31 mins), Ottley-Gooch, P Brothers. Subs not used: Goldfinch, Munson and Norfolk.

Grays Athletic: Hall, Pope, Sweeney (Small 64 mins), Baker, Ryan, Mugus, Olima, Cowley (Bunce 72 mins), Flynn, Agombar (Beaney 68 mins), Carlos.

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