Saturday, October 1, 2022

Football: Chukky is hat-trick hero as Grays hit five to keep up promotion bid

Isthmian North

Grays Athletic 5 v 1 Great Wakering Rovers

IF it’s goals you want Grays are certainly the team to watch lately, their last three outings have seen eighteen goals hit the back of the net, Blues grabbing twelve . Last Saturday six goals were put past Romford and today another five saw Great Wakering on the receiving end, in between it was Blues on the receiving end conceding five at Barking.

Today though they were rampant in the first forty five minutes with Anointed Chukwu helping himself to a first half hat trick after Aron Gordon had opened the scoring – David Knight wrapped up Blues tally in the second half.

On paper this looked a tricky encounter, Rovers had been rejuvenated by the appointment of John Coventry as manager beating then league leaders Canvey, and in midweek putting three past Basildon, but they had no answer to Blues first half goal fest, it could have been more than four at the break such was Blues dominance.

It was an inauspicious opening both teams finding the blustery conditions a problem, but Blues settled quickly with Kai Brown testing Tim Brown after two minutes.

Blues early pressure paid off in the sixth minute, Gordon who looked threatening from the outset received the ball out wide drove into the box and hit a sweet strike across the static Brown .

Rovers gave notice not to be underestimated at the restart, a cross into the heart of Blues box was met by a decisive header forcing Danny Sambridge to clutch the ball gratefully, it was a warning for Blues not to take their foot off the pedal.

Blues play was structured , disciplined, and canny with Jimmy Smith between the lines knitting moves together, some of his deft touches and passes sublimely pushing Blues forward.

Gordon, again in a good position sent in a tantalising cross just inches from Chukwu’s head. By now Rovers defence was in disarray not helped by a nervy Brown between the sticks .In another near miss a Macca Joynes corner was met with a glancing header from Clark skimming the woodwork.

Blues control of the game led to a second on 19 minutes and a first for Chukwu and again Gordon was involved, laying the ball to Knight his effort was blocked and in the subsequent melee Chukwu emerged to slam the ball past Brown from close range.

Seven minutes later it was three and again Gordon was the provider with a whippy arcing ball finding the run of Chukwu who converted at the far post.

Billy Harris in an effort to claw back the deficit drove through Blues midfield getting in a measured shot well saved by Sambridge .

Rovers defensive woes got worse when Chukwu chasing down what looked a futile mission forced a poor back pass to Brown who made a mess trying to control the ball leaving the Blues striker the simple task to blast home.

The opportunities kept coming, Smith unleashed a fierce effort cannoning of angle post and cross bar and then Knight from a corner saw his header hacked off the line.

HT 4-0

Knight was in action again shortly after the break testing Brown who saved well.

Understandably with the four goal advantage Blues intensity dropped off allowing Rovers to push forward and ask questions of Blues defensive set up. The experienced Martin Tuohy worked hard but he came up against a determined Geoff Okonkwo and Lewis Clark shutting down the threat. Sambridge behind them busier than the first half was safe and sure with his handling thwarting danger.

Blues always looked dangerous from corners so no surprise when Clark was first to react from one of many, glancing a header dropping wide of the far post. A quick reply from Rovers forced Sambridge to save a deflected free kick.

Another slick move found Knight out wide crossing into the box he found Brown who was inches from making a telling contact.

Rovers, who continued to probe finally got themselves on the scoresheet in the 73rd minute – Blues were caught out by a deep cross which Darnell Mavanga-Kithambo converted planting a firm header past Sambridge.

But Blues were back in control increasing their advantage four minutes later when Knight picked the ball up in the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

The game beyond them, Rovers offered little further goal threat allowing Blues to control the closing minutes. Smith saw an effort deflected behind and then sub Joe Paxman was denied by Brown to cap off an impressive Blues afternoon where every player contributed to an impressive win.

The win pushes Blues into fourth place in the table and firmly in the promotion hunt.

Sambridge, Sammons, Joynes, Okonkwo, Clark, Dark (Moncur 65), Brown (Hahn 79),Smith, Chukwu (Paxman 79), Knight, Gordon

Subs not used: Akins McQueen


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