Staines Town 3 v 0 Grays Athletic
No New Year Joy for Blues
THIS game was very much a case of after the Lord Mayors Show as Blues failed to reproduce the form and fighting spirit which brought them a well deserved win just 48 hours earlier at Folkestone.That they only conceded three goals was down to a man-of-the-match performance from keeper Amadou Tangara, who denied Staines with a series of stunning saves to keep the score line down to a respectable level.
Manager Jamie Stuart was forced to make one change from Saturday’s starting eleven with Jordan Aghatise coming in for the injured Ryan Mahal at right back.
The opening minutes saw Blues create a chance when Lheureux Menga fed Kwabene Osei who then produced a searching diagonal ball into the home 18 yard box, just failing to find Bishop. The move was to be a rare foray into the Staines half as the home side started to play with pace and purpose using the full width of the pitch with winger Barrat seeing plenty of the ball although he was guilty of poor delivery into the Blues area .
The Blues midfield were guilty of standing off their opponents allowing Staines to dictate proceedings. When the Blues did gain possession the ball was given away cheaply. Nathan Campbell who had been so impressive at Folkestone was guilty of careless play when he gave the ball away to the pacy Bettamer who sent in a testing cross which was deflected for a corner. It was a portent of things to come when Barrat capitalised on another error moving forward at pace. Tangara was forced to make what was to become one of many outstanding saves.
That the Blues goal remained intact was only down to Tangara and the home side’s inability to convert their numerous chances, but they finally made the breakthrough in the 21st minute and it was a goal that summed up Blues dismal opening period. A speculative ball was played in just outside the Blues box, there appeared to be no real danger but with Blues players seemingly rooted to the spot Ahmidi had time to pick his spot and drill the ball past Tangara’s despairing dive.
Staines continued to lay siege to the Blues goal cutting through them like a knife through butter, Tangara came to the rescue again making a double block from Bettamer and Barrat and then a superb one handed save from Brown’s goal bound effort.
Turner in the home goal was a virtual spectator as Blues failed to mount any meaningful attacks. Bishop suffering from a heavy cold and playing as a wide man was starved of any adequate service resorting to chasing down over hit passes or closing down the home defenders.
The half time whistle brought to and end a traumatic 45 minutes for the visitors Staines must have been wondering how they were only one goal to the good given their total domination.
Blues won a rare corner minutes after the break from the kick Osei saw his header saved by Turner . After that rare attack from Gray, the game then followed the same pattern as the opening half.
Staines once again took control of midfield seeming to have even more time on the ball as they stretched the Blues back four of which Luke Wilson was working overtime to stem the tide. Just eleven minutes into the half and Staines increased their lead from the penalty spot. Bettamer was pulled down and then took the penalty, which he fired past Tangara
The goal seemed to stir Blues from their stupor as they at last started to play with some urgency. Etienne Kababola replaced Harry Watkins and began to test the Staines defenders. Some good build up saw him in on goal forcing Turner into a rare save.
The Blues revival was short lived however as once again the home side upped the tempo. Tangara prevented what looked like a third goal when he bravely saved at the feet of the advancing Coker injuring himself in the process; after some lengthy treatment he was able to continue.
Staines added a third in the 80th minute when a fierce free kick cannoned off the post and Coker reacted quickly lashing in the rebound. With the game now lost Blues did have a couple of chances in the dying minutes. Turner saving Kababola’s shot and then diving to his left to keep out a Menga header from sub Luke Hornsley’s cross.
So a very disappointing result and display however three points from two difficult away games is in retrospect a good return and with other results going the their way Blues are still in the mix. The next two home games against mid table opposition take on added importance.
Worthing will be first up at Mill Field on Saturday ko 3pm
Staines Town: Jack Turner, De’Reece Vanderhyde, Chinua Cole, Wahda Ahmidi (Tyrell Miller-Rodney 63), Tommy Brewer, Afolabi Coker, Daniel Brown, Adrian Clifton (Tre Mitford 88), Mohamed Bettamer, Jonathan Hippolyte (Bayley Brown 77), Sam Barratt
Scorers – Wadah Ahmidi (21′), Mohamed Bettamer (58′), Afolabi Coker (80′)
Grays Athletic: Amadou Tangara, Jordan Aghatise(Arron Wickham 58) , Jamie Mascoll, Nathan Campbell, Luke Wilson, Terrell Forbers, Harry Watkins (Etienne Mukanya Kabobola 58), Kwabena Osei, Lheureux Menga, Kieran Bishop (Luke Hornsley 81), Joao Carlos