Football: Grays Ath hit by late sucker punch

Bostik Div North

Grays Athletic 1 v 1 Mildenhall Town

Blues regret missed opportunities.

Grays Athletic were left disappointed at the conclusion of their home game against Mildenhall Town on Saturday. A series of missed chances from the Grays’ front men saw Hall stay in the game and snatch a point with a late goal.

The opening exchanges of the match were scrappy with a number of free kicks being awarded by the referee, although neither defence were seriously troubled with the deliveries into their penalty areas. Grays began to gain some composure and possession with some intricate midfield play and manufactured a couple of one on one opportunities for Shomari Barnwell and Michael Mignot, both of which were saved well by Blake Horton in the Mildenhall goal. Barnwell was also unlucky with a close range effort that hit the crossbar.

The Blues did take a deserved lead in 28th minute when Callum Thompson’s clever pass into the opposition penalty area found Michael Mignot whose chest and turn allowed him to smash a superb half volley past Horton. Mignot had an opportunity to double his and The Blues’ tally with a further chance before half time, however Horton managed to get the better of him again.

At half-time, the injured Thompson was replaced by debutant Michael Toner as Grays had to undertake a defensive reshuffle. The intensity seemed to ebb out of the game in the early exchanges of the second half, although Ade Cole and Mignot both went close with half chances. Mildenhall defended manfully, and managed to put in a number of defensive blocks to protect their goal, although they were lucky that the hard-working Mitch Hahn was unable to convert the best chance of the half following good work on the overlap from Geof Okonkwo. At the opposite end, Hall missed a gilt-edged chance when a point blank header was sent wide with the Blues’ defence static and waiting for an offside flag.

With Grays failing to build on their lead – and their record of surrendering leading positions – there was a feeling that Mildenhall could snatch something from the game and that is exactly what happened when they scored their equaliser following a free kick from their left in the 82nd minute. The ball into the box found a Hall head and despite a parry from Lloyd Anderson, the ball was swept home by Panayiotis Boxer.

Despite both sides pushing forward for a winner, no further clear cut chances were created and therefore it finished a point apiece. Blues now move on to a very challenging evening home league tie on Wednesday 26th September 2018 against unbeaten (in the league at least) Bowers & Pitsea for what should be a cracking game.

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