Football: Grays record away win on last day of the season

Bostik Div North

Mildenhall Town 0 v 3 Grays Athletic

BLUES finished the season in style with this comfortable win over relegated Mildenhall Town – going in front after two minutes, the result was never in doubt – two up at half time they eased off the pace in the second adding a third to seal victory. Shorn of the services of Macaulay Joynes, Ryan Mahal, Jamie Hursit and Michael Finneran the win was all the more impressive. Jim Cooper’s policy of giving youth a chance he gave a debut to young Karl Kayembe and also featured Denzil Adebiyi both giving good accounts of themselves. The win propelled Blues into a final seventh place, a creditable position considering they competed with clubs on higher playing budgets.

Blues got off to the best possible start scoring with their first attack after just two minutes, a through ball split the hosts defence finding Dennis Oli beating Jake Hayhoe with a clever lob.

Undeterred the young Mildenhall side took the game to their visitors playing some neat constructive football, causing a stir when Tommy Robinson capitalised on a loose ball firing just wide of the upright. A quick riposte saw Mitch Hahn try his luck from distance with a fierce effort flying inches wide.

After weathering early pressure, Blues, buoyed by intricate probing confidently took the game to their hosts – enjoying a period of sustained creative football. Hahn given the freedom in the middle of the park orchestrated proceedings setting up a number of raids – Dennis Oli rolled back the years linking the play and with Correy Davidson contributing with swift penetrating runs Mildenhall worked overtime to stem the tide.

A second goal in the 23rd minute came as no surprise – a goal crafted by Davidson, who spotting a late run from Hahn into the six yard box he funnelled an astute pass, Hahn took a touch and slid the ball past the exposed Hayhoe.

The two goal cushion allowed Blues to mount a number of swift and rapier raids putting further pressure on an already overworked defence. Mildenhall still had their moments though in the shape of Thomas Debenham who produced a volley whistling past the post. At the back Stan Muguo was a strong presence with calm consistent covering and passing.

Just before the break Davidson came close to increasing Blues advantage from a free kick, Hayhoe performing acrobatically to paw the ball away.

HT 0-2

Dennis Oli made way for Aron Gordon at the break after suffering a first half injury .

From the whistle it was clear the hosts had been instructed to press higher up the pitch compressing the play, but it was Blues who came close when Davidson fed Joao Carlos – he looked odds on to score but scuffed his effort and the chance was lost.

Mildenhall gamely plugged away but found their opponents a hard nut to crack – Blues took their time enjoying minutes of domination having the luxury of the two goal advantage ensuring they didn’t have to force the pace. Gordon and Carlos looked menacing on the flanks getting behind the home defence. It was Gordon and Davidson who were involved in Blues third goal on 64 minutes . A Davidson short corner found Gordon, he engineered an opening sending in a low drive, Michael Toner stole into the box and touched the ball past Hayhoe.

Adebiyi and Kayembe were introduced and looked comfortable on the ball – Kayembe was strong in the tackle and on the ball adding bite and protection in midfield allowing Blues to run down the clock – Mildenhall looked to have run out of steam, resigned to defeat but came close when Clarke Bogard who had been underemployed did well to beat away a Kaine Manels pile driver late in the game to ensure a clean sheet.

A final chance fell to Hahn driving just wide bringing to an end to an impressive team performance .

Bogard, Pinto, Wokoma, Muguo, Toner, Livings (Adebiyi 74), Hahn, Davidson, Carlos, Oli (Gordon 45), Hutchinson (Kayembe 74)

Subs not used: Pearce

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