Wingate and Finchley 1 v 3 Grays Athletic
GRAYS ATHLETIC made it twelve points from twelve with a very accomplished performance to beat Wingate and Finchley 3-1 at Summers Lane.
Both teams started the game just feeling their way on the lush Wingate surface. The Blues looking smart in their brand new kit.
The first shot towards goal didn’t come until the 11th minute when Gate’s Leon Smith hit a shot high over the bar.
Grays first attack saw Jared Small display lovely touch and distribution in the middle of the park. He passed to Leon Lalite who crossed to Jack West who twisted the ball towards goal bit it went wide.
The game started to look like the three previous ones with the opposition starting to dominate but the Grays defence were shrewd enough to snuff out any danger.
Wingate were starting to make inroads down the flanks but in front of goal they made every attack turn into a game of pinball.
And once again, when there was a dangerous cross, as in the 23rd minute, George Kamarusi was able to punch the ball away from danger.
In the 26th minute, Jack West was the victim of a nasty challenge. Tempers flared and the referee gave Wingate defender, Paul Wright a yellow card. Lee Flynn also received a yellow for dissent.
Grays opened the scoring in the 33rd minute that in four games has become their trademark fashion. Jared Small got down the right hand side, whipped a vicious direct ball in the area of uncertainty and Joao Carlos smacked the ball home from close range.
Wingate continued to attack for the rest of the half but too many of their attacks ended with unforced errors.
And they came out of the trap in the second half. Wingate were using the smooth surface to ping the ball around, In the 50th minute a speculative effort from Mackie went close. Two corners soon followed but again, Wingate fluffed their lines.
Jack West pounced on a poor back pass but was dispossessed by the keeper as he attempted to go around him.
As the hour passed, Grays looked comfortable and continued to exert pressure whilst Wingate made more mistakes as they looked for a way to unpick the Blues. But in the 65th minute, they did equalise. A corner from the right and Ahmet Rifat came thundering in to produce an unstoppable bullet header.
This was now going to be a test for Grays as Wingate started to bomb forward.
But the Blues are made of stern stuff in these early days and showed great temperment, touch and close possession. Under pressure, they were still producing training pitch drills.
In the 83rd minute, such touches earned a corner. Leon Lalite sent it across and Junior Baker rose high in his trademark fashion to put the Blues back in front.
And you cannot keep a good man down and so it was that as Wingate went looking for an equaliser, Grays broke free, Jack West found Joao Carlos in space in the box and the Portuguese winger picked his spot to put the game beyond doubt.
Grays Ath now go on to Saturday’s local derby against East Thurrock United at Rookery Hill.
Grays Athletic: Kamarusi G, Pope C, Nightingill J, Baker J, Flynn L, Carlos J, Lalite L, Gonzalez A (Duru C 85), West J, Beaney K, Small J (Hamdan U 76)
Subs not used: Anderson P, Cruickshank A, Knight J
Wingate and Finchley: Smith B, Williams O, Wright P, Tejan-Sie T, Weatherstone M, Parsons J, Mackie H, Christian J (McCall S 69), Rifat A, Smith L, Mason D
Subs not used: Webb F, McGonigle D, Laird D, Milner M
Ref Donnellan T