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GRAYS ATHLETIC 1st TEAM - Match center

Grays Athletic
Soham Town Rangers
Sat 25 Nov 15:00 - The Bostik Football League - North Division Full time Attendance 169


Blues come out on top in mid table clash writes The Mariner

A goal from Glen Poole was enough to secure the points against Soham Town Rangers and extend Blues unbeaten home run to six games.By no means a classic nevertheless this was an encounter that both teams needed to win to maintain their mid table position.Soham playing with a five man back line clearly came with the intention of securing a point offering little up front apart from the closing stages when they found themselves a goal behind.

Jamie Stuart made a number of changes to the starting eleven with Ryan Mahal, Jack Fowler,Kai Brown ,Poole and Lamar Johnson returning following a three match suspension.

Blues started brightly moving the ball at pace with some slick passing football attractive on the eye but it was a route one move that presented them with an early opening in the 4th minute. A long punt forward from Johnson was misjudged by Chaffey forcing keeper Pope to rush from his line and head clear. The ball fell kindly to Jamie Slabber who tried his luck with a lob which dropped agonisingly just over.

Ade Cole was presented with another opportunity shortly after firing in from 25 yards but failed to trouble Pope. It was all Blues at this stage, Soham seemingly happy to soak up the pressure and offering little going forward, but as so often happens when a team is under pressure they come close to edging in front.

A speculative ball down Blues left appeared to be going behind for a goal kick but Gillies had other ideas wrestling the ball from the attentive Fowler he sent in a pinpoint cross to the head of Kaye who should have done better nodding the ball wide of the upright.

Stung by the near miss Blues continued to push forward and did have the ball in the Soham net from a Richard Halle header only to be disallowed for pushing with the Grays man receiving a caution for protesting the decision.

Poole was relishing his return to the team playing with energy vision and confidence , 16 year old Brown continues to belie his years making some intelligent runs and skipper Stan Muguo offered brawn and presence winning crucial tackles and those important second balls.Despite enjoying a good deal of possession the quality of Blues final ball was letting them down and some wayward shooting failed to test Pope.

Cole found himself out wide sending in a wicked cross which just eluded Slabber , shortly after another Cole cross presented Kieran Bishop with a golden opportunity but he elected to try and prod the ball home when a diving header would undoubtedly have put Blues in front. The chance spurned brought to an end an intriguing opening half .

HT 0-0

The start of the second period mirrored the first with an early Blues opportunity . Another long ball forward was misjudged by the Soham back line presenting Bishop with a one on one with the keeper but Pope made a great one handed save to deny Blues leading scorer.Almost immediately the visitors created their own chance when Clayton closed in on the Blues goal but Johnson was alert to the danger racing from his line diving bravely at the strikers feet to smother the ball. Garden then tested Johnson with a low drive, he could only parry the ball but thankfully Mahal was on hand to clear the danger.

The industrious but frustrating Cole engineered an opening for Brown who sent in an effort that drifted just wide of the upright.Blues continued to search for a goal and significantly they maintained their shape and work rate from the first half something they had failed to do in previous weeks. It became evidently clear as the clock ticked down that the contest would be decided by a one goal margin and it was Blues who made the all important breakthrough in the 72nd minute. Good work down the right between Bishop and Cole pulled the visitors defence out of shape and a low cross found the unmarked Poole on hand to sweep the ball into an unguarded net.

The goal at last brought Soham out of their shell pushing numbers forward in an effort to search for an equaliser .The question was could Blues unlike previous weeks protect their lead and play percentage football, thankfully the answer was yes. Blues kept their shape played sensible possession football playing the ball into the corners . Soham launched a series of attacks but failed to create any real goalscoring opportunities apart from a Gardner free kick that whistled over.

With the clock ticking down It was left to Blues to create the final openings ,first Slabber nodded wide from a Mahal cross and then sub Tim Monsheju received a low cross from Bishop turning quickly he sent in a rasping drive deflected behind. That was to be the last chance of a game that failed to hi the heights but with three points in the bag and a clean sheet Blues could be satisfied with their afternoons work.

Blues next game see them travel to table toppers Dereham on Tuesday evening , if they can produce another hard working performance then there is no reason to believe they cannot extend their winning ways.

Johnson, Mahal, Cross ,Fowler, Muguo, Halle , Poole, Cole , Bishop, Slabber (Monsheju 83),Brown (Cogan 67)
subs not used. Carlos,Folkes, Zialor,

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Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other North Division results

Bowers & Pitsea
AFC Hornchurch
Bury Town
Dereham Town


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# Team Pl Pts
14. Aveley 46 57
15. Hertford Town 46 57
16. Grays Athletic 46 56
17. Tilbury 46 56
18. Waltham Abbey 46 49
19. Cheshunt 46 49
20. Ware 46 48

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