Saturday, July 13, 2024

Football: Guy forks Grays’ promotion hopes at Maldon

Ryman Div One North

Maldon and Tiptree 2 v 1 Grays Ath

A PATCHED-UP Grays Athletic went down fighting to league leaders Maldon in an excellent battle at the Wallace Binder Stadium.

It isn’t often that Hakan leads the group hug before the whistle but that was an indication of how important this game was.

Grays started assertively, on a perfect surface, that allowed them to find their feet and spray the ball around.

In the 5th minute, Jake Hall put a great ball down the left channel to Jared Small. The keeper Joe Wright came way out of his goal, fouled Small and was very lucky to just receive a yellow card.

The free kick came to nothing nor did another a minute later but it showed what pressure Grays were putting the league leaders under.

It was good to see Jared Small back and early on he was getting into great positions.

Maldon were struggling to find any rhythm with unforced errors but when James Robinson skipped past two players near the box, you could sense how dangerous Maldon can be.

And a minute later it took all the guile of Ryan Kirby to dispossess Robinson.

Harry Agombar had two excellent chances as one curling shot from outside the box was well saved by Joe Wright and then another hit the top of the bar.

Again, on the half hour, Ryan Kirby saved the day as Robinson threatened from six yards out but the veteran defender knocked the ball out for a corner.

Small continued to work hard on his own up front but for all the possession, you did wonder where the Grays goal was coming from?

But in the 34th minute, Maldon showed why they are top of the league with a goal from the top drawer. James Robinson dispossessed Craig Pope, he nipped it through to Jamie Guy who did the same to Ollie Berquez who slotted it home.

Jared Small showed a neat turn before half time but his shot was straight at the keeper and a header also went close.

Grays resumed for the second half in a 4-3-3 formation as Hakan committed his men to attack and placing faith in his midfield trio.

Maldon also came out looking for the second.

Once again, Grays produced another great passage of play, punching the ball around the area but never truly threatening.

The risk did not come off as in the 54th minute, Maldon broke free and with a comfortable one-two with James Robinson left Jamie Guy to sprint into the area and put the ball away.

Matters got worse as another reckless display of indiscipline saw Jake Hall sent off for a second bookable offence.

Grays were in danger of coming apart. Kamrausi flapped badly at a corner but made up for it with a fine point-blank save from Jamie Guy.

Joe Sweeney and Dan Fry came on but to no avail as they lacked effective movement. But to be fair to Grays, they never gave up. Harry Agombar in particular did the work of two men.

Maldon earned a penalty when George Kaarusi upended sub David Wareham in the area. Surprisingly, the keeper was given just a yellow and to add insult to injury, Kamarusi saved the penalty.

In the 85th minute, Grays got back in the game with a 30 yard wonderstrike from Harry Agombar

Maldon kept Grays at bay but only just. Sub Brian Moses went close at the death but they held on to extend their lead at the top.

Overview

Grays have worked very hard to get to where they are now in the league. After losing Lamar Johnson, George Kamarusi has done very well. Ryan Kirby was colossal today and David East sound. Both Lee Flynn and Craig Pope have their lapses but they should be ok with the run of matches Grays have coming up.

The midfield have been impressive as well. In todays match, Kenny Beaney, Harry Agombar and Leon Lalite never gave up. Jake Hall, as we said, is a lovely lad but a liability. He’s not even malicious but he may need to be honest with himself.

The problem continues to be up front. Last year it was too much tinkering. This time, it seems to be injuries. Today there was simply no outlet. Jared had a good game but he did what he always does: holds the ball up and er…that is it.

Grays have a manageable run of games now and hopefully, the injured ones can come back.

It is also good to see the young players from the reserves coming through. It is not ideal but it will help in the future.

Once again, the fans were tremendous and the club is lucky to have such loyal supporters.

Grays Ath: Kamarusi G, Pope C, Flynn L (Fry D 73), Kirby R, East D, Hall J, Beaney K, Small J (Moses B 80), Agombar H, Lalite L (Sweeney J 58), Carlos J

Subs not used: Baker J, Scarlett T

Maldon and Tiptree: Wright J, Sedall, Everett, Berquez O, Golby, Tonner M, Robinson J, Park, Glowacki J,Guy J (Wareham D 70), Bryan

Subs not used:, Bradbury, Durrant, Best, Gardner

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