Ryman Div One North
Grays Ath 1 v 2 Romford
By Stephen Allen
After a superbly met one minutes silence for the sad loss of Ken Buckley, Grays suffered a defeat at the hands of Romford after a dominant first half but failed to find the net after creating many chances to do so.
Romford looked to take the game to the Blues on a sticky pitch and from a free-kick floated the ball in but a clearance by Junior Baker shepherded the ball clear but Romford pushed forward to to keep the pressure on in the early exchanges. Grays started to find their rhythm with Paul Olima making his presence felt as he ran onto a Joao Carlos free kick to head just wide, then headed over again from a cross from David Cowley.
In a frantic spell Jared Small broke free to find space to put an inch perfect cross for Olima to head solidly onto the bar with Lamar Johnson beaten as the run of play was going the home sides way. A free-kick by Harry Agombar went straight to Johnson then another free-kick saw Craig Pope cross for Olima to hit the ball wide. Small and Olima were working well together as a long clearance was headed on by Small into the path of Olima but his cross was cleared by Paul Kavanagh. A free run by Ellis Skidmore saw Ali Aksoy hold his well hit shot.
Pope released Stanley Moguo on a run to see his shot held by the in form Johnson. The away keeper was in the right place to hold an Agombar shot after a good run by Cowley. A long clearance by Aksoy found Small in space but his twist and shot was again held by Johnson.
The game was going the Blues way as they settled in the Romford half but despite shots from Baker, Carlos, and Cowley couldn’t find a way past the away stopper as the momentum gathered. A smart move between Agombar and Cowley saw Small find space to fire just over the bar as Romford struggled to get hold of the ball and a final push from Cowley saw Johnson hold his hard shot for the last move of the half, and Grays without a goal for all their possession.
The Blues came out for the second half with the same mind-set to pressure Romford and Moguo headed wide from a Carlos cross with the first move of the half. A long clearance from Baker found Carlos but his cross was hit wide of goal by Agombar then a quick run by Pope and a pass to Cowley created a chance for Small, in front of goal, but his shot came back off the post with the away defence flat footed. Grays finally found the back of the net when a free-kick by Agombar was headed into the net by Grant Cooper who rose above the defence. Romford hit back almost immediately when a long ball into the Blues area saw an error of judgement by Brad Thomas as the ball rolled to Abs Seymore to fire the ball home to level the scores.
Romford upped their game and tried the long ball tactics as tiredness crept in but the Blues defence held firm. Leon McKenzie came on for Small as Grays pushed forward and Carlos found space to turn only to see his on target shot tipped over the bar by Johnson.
Louis Dennis came on for Cowley as the game stuttered in the middle of the park with both sides struggling to hold the ball but it was a quick break by Heywood, and a switch pass to Skidmore, that saw Seymore in space to fire the ball home with ten minutes left to put Romford in front. Heywood had to leave the field after a second yellow card for a clinical tackle on Baker to give the Blues hope as they pushed to take advantage.
An Agombar free-kick was cleared and a McKenzie shot went over as the game ran down to its conclusion. A scrappy last five minutes saw the ball stuck in midfield and even the presence of late sub Joe Sweeney could not change the result as the whistle went to see Grays suffer another defeat when they had the better of the play.
Grays Athletic ;- Ali Aksoy, Craig Pope, Bradley Thomas, Grant Cooper, Junior Baker, Joao Carlos, Harry Agombar, Stanley Moguo, David Cowley (Louis Dennis 77), Paul Olima (Joe Sweeney 83), Jared Small ( Leon McKenzie 66)