Basildon United 0 v 7 Grays Athletic
WHAT a difference a week makes ! After an abject FA cup exit last Sunday Blues bounced back in imperious style with this seven goal demolition of Basildon United . Anointed Chukwu and David Knight each helped themselves to a hat trick with Knight’s third worthy of the Premier League, Danny Gould added to the tally. In a blistering first period they found the back of the net four times but in truth with more accuracy in front of goal it could have been seven or eight. Playing with aggressive intent all over the park they dominated their hosts who had no answer to Blues passing movement and pressing creating a catalogue of chances which was a fair reflection of their control of the game. Geoffrey Okonkwo returning to the side provided security and stability at the back snuffing out the infrequent Bees forays. The win leaves Blues joint top of the early season table.
From the whistle it was evident Blues were intent on erasing memories of last week, their build up play was fluent, the passing crisp and controlled which brought an early reward with just seven minutes on the clock. A ball out of defence found Ryan Melaugh nodding the ball into the path of Knight who slotted past Tommy Dixon-Hodge.
Bees were struggling to contain the continuing pressure exerted on them and it was no surprise when they went further behind on 15 minutes and Melaugh was again the supplier, slipping the ball into the feet of Chukwu who slammed the ball into the bottom corner from an acute angle.
Now in complete control and with a two goal advantage Blues relaxed into the game playing with assured fluency their passing and movement restricting the hosts to defensive duties save for spasmodic long balls into the Blues half which invariably drifted harmlessly into touch, The home goal was being peppered with shots from all angles with Freddie Moncur and Mitch Hahn becoming increasingly influential providing the ammunition for others around them.
After a scintillating passage of play Blues went further in front on 24 minutes when Gould found himself in front of goal and making no mistake volleyed past the hapless Dixon-Hodge.
Not satisfied Blues continued to press , Melaugh blasted over and then Hahn unleashed a fierce drive flashing just wide of the upright. Blues control so effective it wasn’t until the 33rd minute that Bees managed to conjure up a chance when Tyrone Baker whipped a cross causing panic but without finding an amber shirt.
On 38 minutes Blues made it four when Knight picked the ball up and from outside the area drilled a speculative low effort into the bottom corner to virtually kill the game off and then just before the break Chukwu should have done better when he nodded a Hahn cross over from close range.
With nothing to lose Bees started the second half on the front foot and for once enjoyed a degree of possession without really troubling Blues rearguard where the fledgling partnership between Okonwo and Jack McQueen worked well to snuff out any danger. At the other end Chukwu and Knight worked well together forging a lethal partnership.
Any thoughts Bees could salvage something from the afternoon were extinguished when Blues won a free kick . Quick thinking by Moncur slipped the ball to an unpoliced Chukwu crashing the ball home on 56 minutes.
Gould was next to try his luck with a weaving run but his aim was wayward firing over , then Bees replied in the shape of Samuel Jeremiah bounding his way forward but again he failed to hit the target.
Six goals became seven and a hat trick for Chukwu on 71 minutes when he was involved in a tussle inside the six yard box confusing Bees defenders, improvising he touched the ball past Dixon-Hodge.
Danny Sambridge who had been a virtual spectator all afternoon had to be alert when he managed to hold on to a deflected shot , Bees looking for a consolation goal but it was Blues who finished off the scoring and what a goal it was in the 76th minute. Picking the ball up just inside his own half, Knight, seeing the keeper off his line fired the ball skywards seeing it drop into an unguarded net reminiscent of a certain more famous Essex boy.
To their credit the young Bees showed spirit in a late flurry, Jeremiah striking the crossbar from distance and then ex Blue Luke Hirst denied by Sambridge but the final whistle came soon after to bring to an end a comprehensive and accomplished performance from an all action Blues.
The win sets things up nicely for what now looks to be a mouth watering local derby with Aveley who themselves produced a big win on Friday evening.
Sambridge, Sammons Joynes, Moncur, Okonkwo, McQueen, Gould ( Watts 66), Hahn (Henry 75), Chukwu, Knight, Melaugh ( Paxman 59)
Sub not used Agunbiade