Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Football: Grays Athletic edged out by Swifts

Bostik Div North

Heybridge Swifts 2 v 1 Grays Athletic

Blues six game unbeaten run came to an ignominious end at Scrayley Road, the performance lacked the commitment and drive of previous weeks succumbing to promotion chasing Swifts. Going into the break with a one goal advantage Blues failed to hold on to the lead, if you consistently squander possession and make poor decisions on the park you will be punished and that’s what happened and once again defensive lapses contributed to the defeat. Arguably the absence of Michael Finneran forcing Jim Cooper to reshuffle the pack didn’t help, Stan Muguo was drafted into the back four with Mitch Hahn playing a deeper role it blunted Blues creative play. Losing both Correy Davidson and Dennis Oli to injury further hampered Blues prospects going forward, but allowing for these setbacks it was still a below par display. The only bright note was the debut of 17 year old Robinson Wokoma, another youngster from the club’s productive youth system.

Swifts made a swift start to proceedings when Elliot Ronto forced Clarke Bogard into an early save to block the strikers effort in an entertaining opening. A clumsy challenge by Correy Davidson set up a free kick opportunity for the hosts which Jack Adlington-Pile squandered.

The game was being played at pace – Swifts especially quick to close down Blues back line to prevent build up from the back, resulting in some worrying moments for Blues fans. Going forward the pace of Joao Carlos and Davidson unsettled Swifts ponderous central defenders leading to the opening goal of the afternoon. Winning a corner, the ball was cleared away finding Carlos – driving forward he took the ball into the box firing a low cross, which struck the unfortunate Daniel Walker turning the ball past Chris Haigh.

Heybridge responded pushing Blues back creating a number of shooting opportunities, but wayward aim left Bogard untroubled – Blues looked comfortable at the back and threatening going forward – Oli was again holding the ball up and bringing others into play. A subtle passage of play saw Davidson deliver a pin point cross on to the head of Michael Toner bringing a comfortable save from Haigh.

As the half progressed Blues play became increasingly disjointed, the midfield giving the ball away repeatedly putting pressure on the back four – the pressure increased and only wayward finishing by the hosts illustrated by Walker slicing the ball wide of the upright, with the goal gaping ensured Blues went into the break with a one goal advantage.

HT 0-1

A bright start and corner provided an opportunity for Craig Stone, unfortunately he couldn’t generate enough power from his header to trouble Haigh. At the other end a quick break created an opening for Nicholas Brown, who like his counterparts spurned the chance slicing his effort wide. Swifts though were not to be denied in the 51st minute , when a corner was touched home unchallenged by Toid Adeyemi.

Blues reacted well to the set back, winning a free kick on the edge of the box Hahn seeing his kick saved comfortably by Haigh. Swifts countered when Elliot Ronto fired over from distance, Stone went close with a drive flying over – it was end to end now – Jake Hutchinson on for the injured Oli playing a subtle pass into the path of Carlos sending an effort whistling agonisingly over with Haigh beaten.

It was Blues goal though which came under increasing pressure mainly through sloppy play, passes failing to reach their intended target, the pressure grew and eventually told in the 67th minute. Winning a free kick Adlington-Pile struck the ball well, but without any curl it seemed to deceive Bogard, whether he was unsighted or wrong footed is a matter of conjecture the ball flew straight in despite his despairing dive.

Heybridge sensed they could increase their advantage , a rasping drive struck the woodwork with Bogard beaten , for a period Blues huffed and puffed, but without any real cohesion leaving the hosts to claim the points and Blues to rue what was a lacklustre performance.

Bogard, Hursit ( Wokomo 70), Stone Muguo, Joynes, Davidson (Gordon 30), Pinto, Toner, Hahn, Carlos, Oli ( Hutchinson 50),

Subs not used: Pearce, Mahal,


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles