Football: Grays Ath crash out of Essex Senior Cup

Barking 5 v 2 Grays Athletic

Essex Senior Cup 3rd Round

GRAYS Athletic crashed out of the Essex Senior Cup last night in a performance that can best be described as a horror show and which left their manager Jamie Stuart so annoyed that he was seen to leave the ground shortly after the final whistle had been blown.

The Blues have been having a torrid time of things lately in the Ryman Premier and currently sit bottom of the table. Barking, incidentally also nicknamed the Blues, are looking to regain their Ryman League status and took time out from leading the Essex Senior League to take on their bigger rivals. Both teams made a plethora of changes to their line-ups, giving fringe players an opportunity but it was Barking who took the game by the horns and were playing the better football in the first half. Joe Pearman was a constant thorn in the side of Grays Athletic and when he wasn’t laying off passes or drilling over crosses, was having shots at goal himself. He unleashed a 25 yard effort at the ten minute mark that was only narrowly to high and then moments later sent over a cross that Tyrell Forbes, a recent signing for Grays who comes with loads of Football League experience, headed off the line. The ball went straight to Omari Delgardo who met the ball with a powerful header. But whilst there was plenty of venom there was little in way of direction as the ball was headed straight at Jordan Stansbury, who was the Gray custodian for the evening.

It took Grays until the 18th minute to finally muster a chance. Alexander Cunningham was able to go on a run that took him past several Barking players before he fired of a shot that was blocked on the line with Richard Pacquette stealing in at the far post to hit the rebound, which was also blocked.

Grays simply could not settle whereas Barking always looked lively with Pearman attempting an overhead kick after 21 minutes that rattled the crossbar. It began a spell of Barking pressure and Pearman was involved in the next attack when he played a defence splitting one-two manoeuvre but his final shot was just wide of the mark. Barking were starting to find plenty of space to play the ball in the midfield area and they were starting to create chances with the best falling to Petrit Elbi who turned and volleyed inches over the bar. Just on the half hour mark another Barking attack was thwarted when Forbes headed away James Peagram’s tantalising cross.

It was Grays who took the lead however on 32 minutes. A throw on was flicked onto the path of Pacquette who fired past Michael Green. The goal may have been against the run of play but all of a sudden it brought Grays to life and Cunningham almost doubled the lead when his shot from the right sailed over the head of Green and clipped the post. Pacquette reacted first to the loose ball but could only fire it into the side netting. With Pearman now dropping into a more midfield role it meant that the Grays backline was able to stem most of the Barking attacks and they had another chance to extend their lead in the 43rd minute when a defence-splitting cross from Cunningham was dragged wide by Pacquette.

Barking were able to level the game in the final seconds of the first half when a corner wasn’t effectively dealt with, allowing Paul Oshin to have a second bite of the cherry after his initial header had been blocked. The ball should have been hooked away to safety. Instead it bobbled dangerously around the penalty box allowing Oshin to have another shot on goal – this time smashing the ball past Stansbury.

Grays opened the second half with a brief flourish after Adeyinka Cole played a one-two with Harry Watkins and then showed a clean pair of heels to escape his marker and play in Pacquette. However the Grays goal scorer took too long getting the ball under control and he was soon crowded out by Barking defenders and the ball ended up being cleared away from the danger zone. Cole, who replaced David Fallah at the start of the second half, also tried his luck with a header that alas sailed over the bar.

Gradually Barking came back into the game, showing some nice passing and running moves. Grays meanwhile were showing a very disjointed style of play and their passing was lacklustre, struggling to string passes together. Grays’ nightmare began in the 59th minute when a free-kick sailed in and Peagram reacted quickest, getting to the ball and rifling it past Stansbury. There was a degree of bad luck leading to the third Barking goal. Omari Delgardo worked his way into the Grays penalty box but the attack looked over after Jordan Aghatise put in a tackle to dispossess the Barking player. However the ball ricocheted back towards goal and Kolade Salaudeen’s attempt to clear the ball away ended up thumping Peagram in the chest; the Barking substitute then controlled the ball and made no mistake from close range, scoring his second goal of the game and giving Barking a 3-1 lead. It became 4-1 barely two minutes later when Delgardo was able to shirk off Saludeen’s challenge and run to the right touchline, putting a ball across the six yard box that John Bricknell slammed home from close range.

Jamie Stuart subbed himself on at the 75 minute mark in an attempt to up the Blues game or at least stem the flow as by now Barking were trying to run through the Grays midfield with Dalgardo almost adding another goal after he tore up the Grays defence but saw his shot tipped away by Stansbury. Stuart found himself booked for a rash challenge as his team started to disintegrate. A Cunningham free-kick almost bought joy, as it swerved away from the Barking keeper but clipped the bar. Joe Staunton also hit the crossbar with an audacious shot from inside his own area that left Stansbury stranded but luckily for him it also hit the crossbar. However it came as no surprise when Barking did get their fifth goal of the evening in the 83rd minute. Delgado received the ball and then charged at the Grays defence, getting himself in a good position to crack off a fierce shot that burst the net. At this point the Grays team looked totally deflated and had there been more time on the clock it is likely they may have shipped a few more goals. As it was Lheureux Menga was able to pull a goal back in the final minute when he turned and volleyed past Green. But by then it was merely academic, the Blues from Barking had beaten the Blues from Grays and quite convincingly as well. The way Grays capitulated in eight second half minutes has to be a major worry and it needs to be addressed and quickly as they return to Ryman Premier action on Saturday.

Barking: Michael Green, Ben Higgs, Ricky Tarbard, Paul Oshin, Glen Golby (James Peagram 24), Omari Delgardo, Joe Staunton, Ben O’Brien, Petrit Elbi (John Bricknell 71), Joe Pearman, Liam Burgess

Scorers – Paul Oshin (45 + 1′), James Peagram (59′, 65′), John Bricknell ( 67′), Omari Delgardo (83′)

Grays Athletic: Jordan Stansbury, Arron Wycombe, Kolade Salaudeen, Henry Watkins (Jamie Stuart 75), Jordan Aghatise, Terrell Forbes, Alexander Cunningham, Kwabena Osei, Richard Pacquette, Luke Hornsley (Lheureux Menga 84), David Fallah (Adeyinka Cole 45)

Scorers – Richard Pacquette (32′), Lheureux Menga (89′)

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