Ryman Div One North
Tilbury 2 v 1 Grays Ath
TILBURY performed manfully, stuck to their task and never gave up as they came from behind to beat Grays Athletic 2-1 at Chadfields this afternoon.
Grays suffered an early blow when star midfielder Harry Agombar limped out at the warm up.
Tilbury should have opened the scoring. Paul Olima was fast asleep and let Bradley Barnes in who rounded the keeper but could only find the side netting.
The deadlock was broken in the 14th minute when Joao Carlos was downed in the box. Louis Dennis converted the penalty despite the efforts of James Marrable who got a hand to it.
Grays could have made it two. Anthony Ryan burst into the box and all he needed to do was pull back to an un-marked Leon McKenzie but his pass went astray.
Hakan was not happy with his defence who looked uncertain. In the 26th minute, Alex Read was able to turn Junior Baker so easily but his shot was again just wide of the mark.
Tilbury were digging away and finding spaces down the channel. Striker Harry Cook looks a real find but like last week at Harlow needed to stop wearing the face of the victim. However, he is a handful and when Craig Pope fouled him just outside the box, he was lucky to just get a yellow.
It may not have been pretty but Grays were keeping their shape. The odd chance came here and there:Louis Dennis shot straight at James Marrable but it was hard going for Anthony Ryan and Leon McKenzie who were getting very little supply.
Dockers Paul King was very lucky to stay on the pitch: a nasty challenge on Kenny Beaney saw him been given a yellow and an even nastier challenge saw a “warning” from the referee a few minutes later.
Grays started the second half brightly. Danny Bunce free kick in the 50th minute just went wide and with the wind at their back they looked intent on getting the three points. And so were Tilbury and Tony Tucker produced a great save from low down from a fine Alex Read header.
Hakan implored his players to up the work rate and he berated Joao Carlos for going through the motions while Paul Vaughan was more reflective.
But it was at this point that the game changed. The Dockers started to see more of the game whilst the Grays attacks lacked a cutting edge.
The Dockers kept plugging away, kept their shape whilst Grays once again became a collection of individuals.
Grays should have scored a second. A Joao Carlos corner was met by Junior Baker but his header went in the wrong direction.
The inevitable equaliser came in the 71st minute when ex-Grays player Joe Nightingil sneaked in at the far post to slide the ball past Tony Tucker.
It was no more than the Dockers deserved as Grays defence had been at sea all afternoon.
Things got worse for Grays and perhaps summed up their season when the Dockers took the lead in a move that summed up everything good about the Dockers. They plugged away at the edge of the box, played one-twos until Good saw his chance and shot from just inside the box and into the goal.
The Dockers saw out the rest of the game comfortably whilst Grays Ath missed gilt edged chances.
But what perhaps personified the problems at Grays was at the awarding of a corer in the 87th minute, with everything still to play for, Joao Carlos strolled to take the corner.
After the game, Hakan Hayrettin was incandescent with rage and kept the players in the changing room for over half an hour. The body language amongst the players is not good and it appears there is a cultural and systemic problem at the heart of their slump in form.
Once again, there were changes in personnel. Most may have been forced but it cannot have helped.
You can tell that these are players that are trying. Fans pay money and are entitled to be angry.
Perhaps, they signed too many players and have not nurtered the team ethic and culture that a team such as East Thurrock has. They have only got fifteen players but they all play for each other and have a telepathy that comes with such bonding.
Meanwhile, the Dockers sit just outside the play offs, equal on points with Grays and credit has to go to Paul Vaughan, the staff, the players and the very passionate fans for a great season so far.
Grays Ath: Tucker T, Pope C, Thomas B, Baker J, Bunce D, Beaney K, Carlos J, Dennis L, Muguo S, Ryan A, McKenzie L
Subs: Cooper G, Small J, Cowley D, Sweeney J,
Tilbury: Marrable J, Bansende B (West S 36), Worrell E, King P, Nightingill J, Henty G, Aiken E, Good S, Read A, Cook H, Barnes B.
Subs:Bryan D, Webb T, Matthews A, Mead C