Isthmian Division North
Coggeshall Town 0 v 0 Grays Athletic
Report by Michael Parker
GRAYS Athletic got the league campaign up and running with an away point at Coggeshall on Saturday. The game failed to reach the heights of the thermometer as temperatures soared into the mid 30s under cloudless skies. In consideration of the conditions the game was punctuated by a couple of drink breaks each half to help the players and in fairness this probably did not help the game develop any momentum in what was a scrappy affair.
Grays maintained control of the ball in the early stages and forced numerous corners that failed to produce any clear cut chances to trouble home goalkeeper Akan George. New summer signing Sam Bantick picked up the ball from deep and launched a speculative chip that only just drifted wide. Lewis Dark taking control of his first competitive match as Grays manager was forced into an early change when Ronnie Winn came on after Rob Clark had to hobble off.
As the half drifted to a close Blues forced a few more corners which created the main talking point of the first half. Another CorreyDavidson corner was met at the back post by Geoffrey Okonkwo who was challenged unfairly according to the healthy travelling support in the 140 crowd and the Grays players. The one person who mattered though, referee Ian Pascu, disagreed and half time arrived goalless without further incident.
The second half kicked off and hosts Coggeshall started to come into the game more creating a few chances of their own and holding on to the ball more. Their first chance come from a corner that was just headed wide not troubling Danny Sambridge in the Grays goal. By now the conditions were starting to win the day and the game was ebbing away from both sides. The only attacks now coming from the local
wasps who took a liking to anybody wearing bright tops or holding a cold drink! The last drinks break of the game finished and this seemed to energise Blues who created a flurry of chances in the closing minutes.
Captain Lewis Clark scuffed a shot wide and Bantick had a shot saved down to the right of George in the Coggeshall goal. The closest the match came to a goal was in injury time when smart play found Bantick just inside the penalty area and his delicate touch over the keeper was deflected off a home defender which was enough to send the ball agonisingly wide for the away contingent and the game finished without a goal. Grays now face Maldon & Tiptree in their first “home” game at Parkside on wednesday night.