SOMETIMES when you write Grays Ath reports it is good to have just a little time to reflect upon the game so as to gain a little perspective.
The bottom line is that this afternoons victory at Theobalds Lane saw Grays Athletic gain another three points and climb to third in the league.
Needham Market lost and Leiston could only draw at home to lowly Ware. The second half was one of the poorest exhibitions of football that Grays have displayed all season but in many ways it matters not. You get the feeling that Hakan believes that his men just need to be near to the top and when we start to approach the business end of the league then they will come good.
With only one win in ten for Cheshunt, Grays could afford to gamble against the Ambers as all five subs were strikers.
It was a quiet start but Grays burst into the lead in the eighth minute when Joao Carlos burst free on the left, slipped the ball to Leon McKenzie who neatly slid the ball into the net.
The key for Grays Ath was to build on this lead. Joe Sweeney had another fine chance on the fifteenth minute. McKenzie dispossessed a defender soon after but his shot from 15 yards was weak.
Grays were forcing the corners. Cheshunt headed a Junior Baker header off the line.
It was good to see Danny Bunce getting a run and he was impressing as he made a number of bursting runs down the left flank.
Cheshunt started to come back into it and seemed just a good one-two away from levelling the game.
Chances came and went.A back header by Stanley Muguo landed softly in the keepers hands. Carlos wrestled free from his marker down the left, crossed but again Leon McKenzie’ shot drifted harmlessly wide.
But praise for the Cheshunt keeper after Stanley Muguo produced a cracker of a shot which keeper Glenn Williamson did well to save.
In the 38th minute, Grays were awarded a penalty after MacKenzie was ajudged to have been fouled in the box. Williamson did not have to move as Danny Bunce blasted the ball way over the bar.
The first twenty minutes of the second half was a dreadful affair as the game could not find any fluency. Tony Tucker never looked under threat but then again nor did the Cheshunt keeper as Grays either drifted offside or could not muster a forward move.
In the 65th minute, David Cowley sent over a free kick but once again it ended with a foul and the game broke down.
It was shaping up to be the worst half of football we had seen all season and you worried that Cheshunt were going to sneak a goal.
Two chances came and went for Cheshunt with sloppy marking and skied clearances.
Hakan brought on Louis Dennis for Joe Sweeney.
To be fair, Grays were plugging away. Louis showed a clean pair of heels down the left to inject some speed but the ball went out for a goal kick.
Dennis went clear but again the Cheshunt keeper smuggled the ball away for a corner and from the corner, Junior Baker swivelled from three yards but blasted way over the box. David Cowley produced a lung bursting run but yet again the end result was weak.
Grays nearly made it two before the end when Louis Dennis jumped high to head but the ball hit the post.
A moment later, Cheshunt header just looped over the bar when they looked destined to score.
But as the final whistle went, Grays were ecstatic. They know they have a tough task against Redbridge, conquerors of Needham on Wednesday but they also know that three points there leaves them just two points behind the leaders.
Grays Athletic: Tucker T, Pope C, Bunce D, Baker J,Cooper B (Olima P), Carlos J, Beaney K, Cowley D, Sweeney J (Dennis L 73), McKenzie L (Sigere J 85), Muguo S
Subs not used: Small J, Ryan A,