The Recreation Ground, Bridge Road,
Grays, Essex, RM17 6BZ
Clubhouse: (01375) 377753
General enquiries: (01375) 391649
Directions to the ground

Matches

Grays Athletic 0 Stevenage Borough 2
Sat, February 17, 2007. Kick off: 3:00 PM

Match Report by Martin Candler

Justin Edinburgh returned to his former club, Fisher Athletic to bring back fans favourite Leroy Griffiths on loan in an attempt to bring guile and presence to his mis-firing front line. Griffiths, linking well with firstly Dennis Oli and later Aaron O‘Connor, certainly gave Mark Stimson‘s Boro plenty of problems but could not supply the killer touch in front of goal. For their part, Stevenage began cautiously and Grays quickly took the game to them in the opening exchanges. Griffiths had two great early chances to give the Blues the advantage, the first coming when Barry Fuller‘s weak header left him with just Alan Julian to beat, but his shot was kept out by the keeper‘s legs. The second effort was fired straight at Julian, as was an Oli header soon after.

Stevenage began to get into the game and after ex-Blue John Nutter had fired horribly wide, Grays conceded a fortuitous goal. In the 35th minute a strike by Fuller from the edge of the area was wickedly deflected past the wrong-footed Ashley Bayes by Dean Howell to give the Boro a lead they hardly deserved. Jamie Stuart then made a marvellous goal-line clearance from a shot by Mitchell Cole before further misery was heaped on the Blues just before half-time when Andy Sambrook was sent off for a second yellow card offence. Although the first booking was harsh, Sambrook could have no complaints about the second as he launched into Mitchell Cole just a minute after receiving his first yellow. Mind you, Cole is as conspicuous for his theatrical reactions to tackles as he is for his undoubted skills, and he did little to endear himself to the home crowd by sarcastically clapping his former fans when substituted later.

After the break, Justin Edinburgh sent on Aaron O‘Connor and Cam Mawer as Grays went with a 3-4-3 formation and this move certainly injected some energy and pace into Grays play. O‘Connor smashed the ball against the bar and Howell seizing on the rebound could only find hit the side netting with the goal at his mercy. In pushing for an equaliser, Grays left themselves a little open at the back and in the 57th minute Stevenage&;squo;s leading scorer, Steve Morison, capitalised on a swift counter-attack by easily slotting home the breaking Jon Nurse‘s pass. Both Morison and O‘Connor had a brace of chances but the visitors saw the game out to claim all three points and leave the Blues to rue their missed chances. From now on all our remaining league games will be like cup ties but if the Blues keep playing the way they have done in the last 4or 5 games we have got every chance of putting a good run together. Finally, it was much appreciated that Stimo and his wife took time out after the game to come into the clubhouse and chat to supporters.

Grays Athletic: Bayes, Sambrook, Stuart, Cowan (Mawer 53), El Kholti, Grant (O'Connor 53), Nicholls, Martin, Howell, Griffiths, Oli (Poole 70).
Subs Not Used: Joyce, Thurgood.

Sent Off: Sambrook (45).

Booked: Grant, Sambrook, Mawer.

Att: 1552

Ref: G Lewis (Cambridgeshire).

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Forthcoming fixtures

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM
Welling United vs Grays Athletic (FA Trophy Q/Final)

Tue, February 27, 7:45 PM
Grays Athletic vs St Albans City

Sat, March 3, 3:00 PM
Grays Athletic vs Weymouth

Tue, March 6, 7:45 PM
Exeter City vs Grays Athletic