By Chris Jones
Courtesy of www.graysathletic.co.uk
Blues secured their third successive win at Rush Green thanks to first half goals from Joe Sweeney, James Bunn and Jake Hall.
Hakan Hayrettin named an unchanged starting line-up, with Kenny Beaney replacing Tyrone Scarlett on the bench. Heybridge had ex-blues goalkeeper Nicky Eyre between the sticks, with Ben Newson, Michael Cheek and Solomon Ofori in forward position, who between them had scored 18 goals between them already this season.
Blues showed their intention as early as the 4th minute with Joao Carlos smashing an effort at goal, which Eyre saved well.
It is clear the team are enjoying their new home, and none-more-so than striker Sweeney who scored his third goal in three home matches. The 22-year-old has always had the ability, but his confidence suffered last season, and he clearly struggled for form.
Leon Lalite was the creator as he delivered a deep cross towards Joao Carlos at the back post. His header at goal was only palmed into the path of Sweeney, who had the simple task of tapping in from close range.
Carlos was having plenty of space down the left and he should have done much better with an effort which flew high over the bar.
Fine work by Sweeney on the left hand side gave Lee Flynn the opportunity to deliver, and his cross was met by James Bunn, and he headed past Eyre at his near post. It was a good finish from the ex-Harlow Town player, but Eyre will have been disappointed he didn’t keep it out.
Carlos had a dipping effort well saved, before Sweeney had a spectacular overhead kick ruled out for offside, but it wasn’t long until Blues scored their third and final goal.
The Portuguese winger Carlos cut in from the left and struck at goal with a low powerful effort. Jake Hall got in front of his marker and managed to direct the ball past Eyre.
The visitors responded to the third goal by replacing centre half Chris Moore with striker Luke Callander before the break.
James Bunn was unfortunate not to have got a penalty shortly after the break, as he was shoved in the back, but the referee waved away appeals.
George Kamurasi was much more assured than in recent weeks, and he saved well from Michael Cheek, before an excellent double save moments later.
Blues had further chances through Luke Marshall, Craig Pope and the lively Carlos, but a combination of goalkeeper Eyre, and some relaxed efforts on goal ensured it stayed at three nil.
There is a return to FA Cup action on Saturday as Isthmian South Division side Maidstone United visit Rush Green.
Grays Athletic: – George Kamurasi, Craig Pope, Grant Cooper, Junior Baker, Lee Flynn, Luke Marshall, Leon Lalite, Jake Hall (Kenny Beaney 68), Joao Carlos, Joe Sweeney ( Danny Bunce 73), James Bunn (Jack West 82).
Subs not used: – David East, Jamie Richards