Ryman Div One North
Grays Athletic 3 v 2 Romford
JUNIOR BAKER’S injury time winner secured all three points for the Blues in a thrilling victory at Rush Green Stadium.
The first chance came in the first minute for Romford. Ben Jones found himself in space, thirty yards from goal but his attempted lob went over the bar.
Grays looked lively up front with Jared Small out wide and Harry Agombar in the hole whilst Jeff Hammond attacked.
The first corner of the game came for Romford. It came to nothing but signalled their intent to attack the team in the play off positions.
Grays opened the scoring in the 9th minute, when Joao Carlos headed in at the far post from a wonderful Jared Small cross.
And a minute later, Grays Ath made it 2-0. Harry Agombar took a free kick from thirty yards out, it struck the head of a defender in the wall and the ball looped over the Romford keeper, Chris Clark.
Grays were now comfortably in control. Danny Bunce produced a great run in the 19th minute, cutting in from the left but his shot was straight at the keeper.
Romford’s first chance for quite a while came in the 27th minute, when Michael Sammut unleashed a low hard drive that keeper George Kamarusi did well to get down low and turn away for a corner.
It didn’t get much better in the 34th minute when Ben Jones shot crashed off the bar and Nick Reynolds with an open goal feebly over.
Grays went slightly off the boil and despite good inter-linking play, were either trying to walk the ball in or bumping into each other.
Romford came out of the traps in the second half. In the 47th minute, a rare Junior Baker mistake in the form of a mis-placed back pass saw Ben Jones in but once again, the increasingly impressive George Kamarusi blocked the shot.
Having said that, a few minutes he completely missed a cross and was lucky to get a second chance. It made you wonder when Lamar Johnson would be picked again?
And sure enough, Romford got back into it in the 53rd minute, when Paul Clayton soared high in the area to head home.
Grays looked to have lost their momentum infact they lost it since the 10th minute. Jack West came on and the midfield upped the pace.
Things got worse as Grays conceded a penalty after keeper Kamarusi up ended Lewis Francis in the box. Nick Reynold’s pen was saved but Ben Jones nipped in to equalise.
Boss Hakan was wracking his brains as to how to get his team back in front. His situation was not helped with assistant manager Hassan Oktay and fellow coach, Mark Holloway both being absent.
Grays were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area but Harry Agombar could only blast it against the Romford wall.
This was now a test of Gray’s season. Joao Carlos danced past players, skidded the ball across the area but none of the players could get a final touch.
Romford were now defending stoutly as Grays tried valiantly to grab the winner. Things went form bad to worse as Jeff Hammond was sent off for after a second yellow card.
Kenny Beaney nearly stole it with a point blank header in the 86th minute.
And cometh the hour, cometh the man as Junior Baker, rushed onto a Beaney cross and bundled the ball home from close range.
It was a thrilling game with much for Grays Ath to reflect upon.
Referee: Elliott Kaye
Grays Ath: Kamurasi G, Pope C, Kirby R, Baker J, Bunce D, Carlos J (Marshall L 85), Beaney K, Hall J (Sweeney J 76), Agombar H, Small J (West J 54), Hammond J
Subs not used: East D, Marshall L, Lalite L, ,
Romford : Clark C, Salmon A, Dicks J, Clayton P, Payne L, Sammut M, Richardson T, Francis L, Reynolds N, Jones B, Woodward G.
Subs not used: Hilton A, Ngos A,, Smith K, Oates J, Hunt B
“Maidstones first chance,Grays awarded a penalty on the edge of the area”
Methinks a little too much New Year imbibing Michael?
Cant believe how poor we were second half compared to first. Maybe winning when playing poor is the sign of a good team!? Who knows, onwards and hopefully upwards!