Bowers & Pitsea 1 v 0 Grays Athletic
IT was another frustrating evening for the Blues as the proverbial game of two halves took place at Bowers’ Len Salmon Stadium on Tuesday night witnessed by reporter Don Keye.
Bowers started this Bostik North encounter the better and Grays had to rely on a string of saves from keeper Lamar Johnson and also the crossbar to keep the match goalless as the home side exploited Gray’s weakness to the long ball game that has been their undoing in recent matches.
Eventually, after 20 minutes, the pressure told and Bowers took a deserved lead. Keeper Callum Chaffer launched the ball down field and the Gray’s defence hesitated and allowed the ball to bounce and as it was played across the box Tony Stokes had the freedom of the Len Salmon Stadium to tap home into an empty net.
In reply Callum Ibe and Kieran Bishop both had speculative shots but neither really troubled Chaffer in the home goal as the rain started to fall. Lamar Johnson once again came to Blue’s rescue with a fine save to keep the score 1-0 to Bowers at half time.
During the interval Grays manager Jamie Stuart brought himself on and the second half was a different story with Grays dominating possession in the search for an equaliser.
Kieran Bishop tested Chaffer but he dealt with the shot comfortably. In the 63rd minute Blues winger Carlos limped off and Jamie Slabber replaced him to give Grays an aerial target and crank up the pressure even more.
Slabber and Ibe both went close with headed chances although Ibe may feel he should have tested the keeper as he glanced a great opportunity wide with the goal at his mercy. By now Bowers were reduced to counter attacking as they looked to protect their lead but the Grays defence looked a lot more solid by now and snuffed out any chances.
With time running out the home side defended resolutely and in the end a flurry of late corners come to nothing. It was a case of Grays huffing and puffing but they couldn’t blow the Bowers house down as the home side held on to claim the points.