Grays out of FA Trophy after replay loss to Cray

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Grays Athletic manager Jamie Stuart

Grays Athletic 0 Cray Wanderers 2

Grays were made to pay for not seeing out the original game on Saturday as a classy Cray team outplayed their hosts at Parkside in Wednesday nights FA Trophy replay.

Former Blue Jay Leader was marshalling the visitors defence well and was always an available option for a short pass as Cray made the early running. Zak Henry and another ex Blue, Barney Williams had long speculative efforts that were easily dealt with by Grays goalkeeper and captain, Lamar Johnson. With all the early pressure, Cray looked the most likely to open the scoring and they did just that in the 11th minute. A free kick was floated across the Grays box and Lea Dawson was on hand at the far post to head back across the goal and into the net via the woodwork.

This goal seemed to jolt Grays into action and they came more into the game and started to create some chances of their own. Defender Richard Halle glanced a header wide from a corner and Adeyinka Cole almost had Nick Blue in the Cray goal in a sticky situation as his cross-cum-shot just missed the far upright. Towards the end of the first half it appeared that Grays had equalised as Joao Carlos burst into the visitors box and slammed the ball home, only for referee Stephen Bates to have pulled it back for a foul on a defender in the build up and the score remained 1-0 to Cray at half time.

 

Grays made a substitution at half time as Callum Ibe replaced the normally talismanic Kieran Bishop who was still struggling with an injury from the first game. The second half was a more about the home team as Grays pushed forward in search of an equaliser with Tim Monsheju testing Blue in the Cray goal with a long range effort and then minute later a run down the right and a low cross that somehow managed to evade everybody in the penalty area. With premature fireworks going off around the surrounding houses of the ground it was Grays still trying to ignite some life into the game but for all their huffing and puffing, Cray still looked really comfortable and snuffed out most of the home sides efforts reducing them to long range efforts. Adeyinka Cole played a one two with the ref and his shot flew harmlessly over before Cray made the game safe with a classic counter attack.

The Cray defence played the ball amongst themselves before sucking the Grays players in and lifted it over the top of the Blues defence to leave Michael Power clean through on goal. Lamar Johnson didn’t stand a chance as Power blasted the ball past him from just inside the box and after 66 minutes it was 2-0 Cray. To their credit, Grays never gave up and had one of their best moves of the game when some neat play by Cole on the edge of the box led to him doing a flick over the Cray back line into Callum Ibe who got on the end of it to unleash a powerful volley only for Nick Blue in the Cray goal to spectacularly palm over the crossbar. So that was it in the FA Trophy for Grays for another season after Cray produced a great display based on possession football first half then a great display in how to hold on to a lead and pick a team off in the second half. Grays are back in action this Saturday as they look to continue their good recent league form as they host Cheshunt.