Ryman Div One North
Grays Ath 3 v 1 Waltham Forest
GRAYS continued to march on with a solid if unspectacular performance beating Waltham Forest 3-1 at the Rush Green Stadium.
Grays really should have scored in the first minute when a neatly floated cross by Luke Marshall found an unmarked Jared Small but his header failed to find the target.
One could suspect that boss Hakan was resting a few players with Jeff Hammond and Jack West on the bench.
Waltham had a good chance in the 5th minute when they earned a free kick just outside the box but the kick was deflected away for a corner.
Grays opened the scoring in the 9th minute with a beautifully curled ball by Joe Sweeney from just inside the box. The goal highlighted the confidence that is flowing through the team. It was a credit to Joe Sweeney for continuing to try hard.
A Junior Baker header from close range was the wrong side of the Waltham post but illustrated that Grays were head and shoulders the better team here.
However, if you give Forest striker Jack Beachman an acre of space then he will score and that is just what he did in the 16th minute as he found space behind Ryan Kirby and picked his spot beyond Lamar Johnson.
Grays restored the lead five minutes later when Jared Samll found the deadball line, pushed the ball back and Luke Marshall slammed the ball into the back of the net.
The young winger has had a mixed season but he was really taking his chance today.
Grays had the rest of the first half but could not extend their lead.
The second half began with Forest keeper, Chico Ramos being kept busy. He pulled off a superb finger-tip save in the 50th minute from a close range header from Jared Small. In the 55th minute, Ramos managed to smother the ball after a goalmouth scramble following a great corner from Joao Carlos.
Jeff Hammond came on for Luke Marshall in the 55th minute as boss Hakan looked to secure the points.
Fans were getting impatient as Forest seemed to have got the measure of the Grays attacks and were starting to string together their own moves.
Jack West came on and immediately had two great chances. The first was a one-to-one with the keeper but again Ramos stopped it and then yet another wayward header from a blue shirt.
Hakan was shouting for the tempo to be raised as he feared being pegged back. But this was a game in which the midfield just weren’t really firing, which was unusual for them. At the same time, they were still putting a shift in, highlighted when Leon Lalite ran fifty yards to snuff out a Forest attack.
The third goal came after Jeff Hammond was fouled in the box in the 85th minute. Jack West slotted the penalty home to ensure the three points and to continue a great run by Grays continues.
Grays Ath: Johnson L, Pope C, Baker J, Kirby R (East D 75), Flynn L, Lalite L, Beaney K, Marshall L (Hammond J 55), Carlos J, Sweeney J (West J 65),, Small J.
Subs not used: Bunce D, Subola D,
Waltham Forest: Ramos C, Sackey M, Laran D, Retkooed A, Waldren M, Vickers T, Lutaayn G, Clifton A, Plamer J, Beachman J, Stanley L.
Subs: Dagher M, Pontin R, Taylor C, Mohammed A, Hallam F