Grays Athletic 2 v 2 Mildenahll Town
ON a drab wet afternoon and for the second home game in a row Blues fought out a 2-2 draw against Mildenhall Town after twice going in front once again failing to protect a lead . A first half characterised by a high tempo and slick passing display contrasted starkly with a second which was just like last week at Canvey lacking in cohesion apart that is for the closing ten minutes when they could have snatched a win. A brace from Kieran Bishop was not enough to secure the points, two poorly defended goals allowed the visitors to come away with a point when at one stage Blues could and should have put the game beyond their reach.
Blues set the tempo from the first whistle and could so easily have gone in front inside three minutes when the predatory Bishop found himself in the six yard box squeezing out a shot deflected behind.Shortly after a great build up from the back saw Ade Cole presented with an opening and only a last ditch intervention denied him a goal.
At this stage the visitors had no answer to Blues free flowing football, James Folkes and Joao Carlos were providing a ready outlet down the flanks prompted by Barry Cogan and Stan Muguo and it seemed only a matter of time before a goal would be forthcoming . Blues fans didn’t have to wait long.
In the 12th minute after a patient build up the ball was fed through to Bishop, racing clear he deftly prodded the ball past the advancing Roach to give Blues a deserved lead. Cogan was next to try his luck from a free kick saved by Roach and then Bishop carved out an opportunity firing across Roach unfortunately no Blues player was on hand to pick up the loose ball.
Although the visitors rarely troubled keeper Ben McNamara the lively Brown and Call did enough to suggest they could cause problems given the right service and that proved to be the case.Blues looked comfortable with their goal advantage but the visitors struck back from nowhere on the half hour mark.There appeared no danger when Brown played the ball to Hood who sent in a low cross evading all but the lurking Pereira who stole in at the back post and bundled the ball home.
Just five minutes later and Blues found themselves back in front, Carlos drove into the visitors box and was upended as he was about to shoot winning a clear penalty. After a lengthy delay following treatment to the injured Carlos Bishop cooly stepped up to restore Blues advantage.
It seems the goal rather than energise Blues seemed to have the opposite effect. As in previous weeks they became careless on the ball dropped deeper and dropped their tempo. Mildenhall took advantage .Seizing the initiative Mildenhall pressed forward , in the 41st minute they were awarded a free kick, ball was played into the Blues area and nodded back to Brown who turned quickly and fired past McNamara to bring the visitors level.
A sluggish start to the second period saw a notable drop off in tempo from both sides, the visitors looked the sharper and enjoyed a good period of possession. Blues play lacked the same fluidity resorting to long balls to their front men which rarely troubled the visitors back line,Mildenhall played a high line squeezing play and denying Blues space in midfield .
The visitors energised began to cause problems at the back for Blues, McNamara was tested when sub Wilkinson sent in a fierce drive, the keeper pushing the ball away fortunately it fell to Sam Cross who cleared the danger.Simpson thought he had scored with a rasping drive but McNamara was equal to his effort diving to his right to turn the ball behind.
At the other end Slabber came close after he was played in by Cole but Roach rushed from his line to claim the ball, Bishop had a chance when the marauding Folkes sent in a cross which was cleared out to the Blues striker but his shot drifted wide of the upright.Cole had the next opportunity but failed to hit the target.
Despite these chances it looked like the game was heading for a draw which neither side given their league position would have been happy with.As the contest moved into the final ten minutes Blues finally stirred and started playing with the same urgency they had shown in the first half pushing the visitors back but failed to carve out a clear cut opportunity apart from a Mugou drive sailing harmlessly wide.
So another game where Blues got their noses in front but failed to manage the game and hold onto a lead and maintain the same tempo and slick passing throughout the 90 minutes.It’s a becoming a recurring problem which must be frustrating Manager Jamie Stuart as much as it does Blues loyal fans.
Next up is a visit to Parkside from another mid table side in Soham Town Rangers next Saturday let’s hope Blues have learned their lesson and record a much needed victory.
McNamara, Folkes, Cross,Cogan (Poole 62),Dunn, Halle, Muguo,Cole, Bishop (Monsheju 71) Slabber, Carlos (Brown 73)
Subs not used.Mahal, Fowler,