Saturday, June 15, 2024

Football: Brave Grays go close at they hold Welling to a draw in FA Cup

FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

Grays Ath 1 v 1 Welling United

GRAYS Athletic produced an impressive performance to hold National Conference outfit Welling to a 1-1 draw at Mill Field.

They may well see this as their best chance but they have everything to be proud of.

Grays Ath dominated the early stages playing a confident, expansive brand of football that has become Mark Bentley’s trademark.

If Grays had a fault it was over-enthusiasm as they were tending to run the ball too far an close possession.

Dumebi Dumaka dominated the two central defenders but he struggled to get someone to play off him.

A Roman Michael-Persil shot was easily saved by Welling keeper, McEntegrat but even so the Blues dominated the first fifteen minutes.

Jay Leader was the epitome of calm and control at the back and Jay Siva also produced a great piece of defensive skill.

But if Grays were going to lose this game it was simply going to be about unforced errors and giving the ball away.

There was a period close to the twentieth minute where the Ryman Premier team managed to keep passing to Welling from close to their own penalty area. However, Welling lacked bite and were very unconvincing.

Grays tried to inject bite into their game with player-manager Mark Bentley driving his team forward. The team retain their shape, remained calm and were easily snuffing out Welling before they got anywhere near the Grays’ goal.

The best chance of the half came from a great move in the 34th minute that saw Joao Carlos break free in the box, chip the keeper but the ball agonisingly hit the post and ran out.

Mark Bentley was starting to produce a masterclass in being a defensive midfielder with one wonderful recovery tackle in the area being out of the top drawer.

Grays went in at half time knowing that Welling had hardly threatened their goal but they had to cut out those unforced errors and take their chances.

Grays picked up where they left off with a confident passing game that looked to get Dumaka involved. Persil was busy even if he struggled to get the cross in at the vital time.

At this point there was little mention of Welling as they simply had not produced much of note.

In the 53rd minute, Grays earned a free kick when Carlos was upended just outside the box. Harry Agombar’s free kick was palmed away by the keeper and just evaded Mark Bentley.

A Jay Siva corner peppered the Welling bar as this now looked like the best time for Grays.

But as we said this, Welling started to produce a classy passing game, forcing a corner (that came to nothing).

Welling were extremely underwhelming as Grays continued to plug away.

Welling’s best chance came in the 71st minute when a smart period of passing saw Flanagan, with the goal at his mercy, from three yards but the tricky bounce saw the ball go over.

Flying winger Alex Addai came on as a sub and soon made an impression in the 75th minute with a fantastic goal when after a one-two with Dumaka he struck the ball from the right hand side of the area and into the back of the net.

The players celebrated, the crowd went mad as Grays scented an FA Cup upset.

Welling may have been insipid throughout the match but they were a team two leagues above.

The crowd had been tremendous but their hearts were broken when, in the 83rd minute, Sam Corne sneaked in and curled the ball around Lamar Johnson.

They were going for the win and Lamar Johnson produced a fine save to keep them out.

Dumebi Dumaka had a great chance to seal it in the 86th minute for the Blues but his shot struck the bar.

The game ended in a draw. You would have thought that Grays had lost but perhaps the fans really though they had won this. Nevertheless, the fan rose as one to give their team a warm round of applause.

Grays can be very proud of themselves in what was the performance of the season by the Blues. Their manager was such a talisman, who maybe a little sore on Monday morning.

The team will now have to re-group for a replay at Welling on Tuesday night.

Grays Ath: Johnson L, Illif L, Siva J, Leader J,Cronin S, Carlos J, Bentley M, Michael Persil R (Addai A 69),, Beaney K, Dumaka D, Agombar H,

Subs not used: Kamarusi G, Cummings T, Reynolds L, Fortune-Tomlinson B, Stevens J, Little G

Welling United: McEntegrat M, Jefford B, Chambers M, Kabba S, Wellard R, Obafemi A, (Flanagan Z 46) Lokko K, (Abbare D), Corne S, Harris R, Williams B, Vidal X.

Subs not used: Fagan Z, Cottrell C, Cumberbatch K, Gunner S, Johnson A.

Attendance: 512


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