Maidstone United 2 v 1 Grays Ath
THE LAST four months have been a long slog for Grays Athletic but the team can hold their heads up high as they finished the season in 14th place.
Back in February, things were looking very bleak. When they lost 4-1 at home to Canvey Island on Feb 22nd, they looked like a busted flush. The re-structuring looked like a high risk strategy indeed. But it worked and since then Grays have either won games or gone down fighting. They have finished in 14th position, mid-table respectability and can rightly re-claim their position as the best team in the borough.
The challenge now is to retain a settled squad and work with them from the pre-season so that they can fulfil their ambitions for next season. Those ambitions may be a play-off berth or consolidation. The club are probably not in any rush.
There is also the question of the on-going quest for a new ground. The public inquiry into the planning application for 501 homes in Purfleet Road, Aveley will be held in July. There will no doubt be hopes that, should it go through, with the possibility of a sports hall for Treetops, that somewhere along the way, a parcel of land can be given to Grays Athletic in Blackshots for the development of a football stadium.
If that still sounds unlikely then maybe but then again, this newspaper has long stopped trying to second guess Grays Athletic. Somehow, they made it to the beginning of the season in August 2010, somehow they managed to claw back a fifteen point deficit on Maldon and Tiptree and somehow a team that looked dead and buried on Feb 22nd, 2014 finished in 14th position on April 26th.
An own goal by Phil Anderson and an individual effort by Frannie Collin were enough to guarantee the Kent side the three points in front of 1984 fans. Chris Benjamin scored late on for Grays Ath.
Grays Athletic: George Kamurasi, Helge Orome, Lee Flynn, Phil Anderson, Ruddock Yala, Jordan Wilson, Jared Small, Alex Cruickshank (John Mbamaran 76), Leroy Griffiths, Joel Nouble (Chris Benjamin 56), Joao Carlos. Subs not used: Craig Pope, Billy Dunn, Aarron Wickham.