Football: Grays Ath works hard for a draw

Bostik North

Grays Ath 2 v 2 Maldon and Tiptree

GRAYS showed great character to come back from two goals down with a fighting second half performance – equalising in the dying minutes with debutant Tommy Wade notching his first goal for the club. The draw was all the more satisfying considering they played for an hour with fullback Ryan Mahal donning the keepers jersey after Charlie Burns succumbed to injury. Also making his first appearance since the clubs Conference days was Dennis Oli.

The opening minutes saw both teams playing attractive passing football with neither side creating a clear opening until the sixteenth minute when James Folkes sent in a tantalising cross which just eluded the head of Wade. Maldon employing a high line were compressing the play and caught Blues offside on a number of occasions. The visitors saw their first opportunity fall to Ryan Clampin who rather ambitiously tried his luck from 35 yards but failed to trouble Burns.

The 30th minute saw the first incident of note when Burns succumbed to a dead leg. There then appeared to be confusion on the bench when back up keeper Joe Simmonds stripped ready to replace Burns, but following intervention by the referee, after consultation with a Grays official, Mahal was forced to don the keepers jersey due to an administrative error on the team sheet! All manager Jamie Stuarts’ plans were now disrupted, Callum Thompson came on to slot in at left back with James Folkes moving to right back.

Grays showed great character to come back from two goals down with a fighting second half performance – equalising in the dying minutes with debutant Tommy Wade notching his first goal for the club. The draw was all the more satisfying considering they played for an hour with fullback Ryan Mahal donning the keepers jersey after Charlie Burns succumbed to injury. Also making his first appearance since the clubs Conference days was Dennis Oli.

The opening minutes saw both teams playing attractive passing football with neither side creating a clear opening until the sixteenth minute when James Folkes sent in a tantalising cross which just eluded the head of Wade. Maldon employing a high line were compressing the play and caught Blues offside on a number of occasions. The visitors saw their first opportunity fall to Ryan Clampin who rather ambitiously tried his luck from 35 yards but failed to trouble Burns.

The 30th minute saw the first incident of note when Burns succumbed to a dead leg. There then appeared to be confusion on the bench when back up keeper Joe Simmonds stripped ready to replace Burns, but following intervention by the referee, after consultation with a Grays official, Mahal was forced to don the keepers jersey due to an administrative error on the team sheet! All manager Jamie Stuarts’ plans were now disrupted, Callum Thompson came on to slot in at left back with James Folkes moving to right back.

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