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GRAYS ATHLETIC 1st TEAM - Match centre

Grays Athletic
Tue 26 Dec 15:00 - The Bostik Football League - North Division Full time Attendance 327


Aveley snatch a late equaliser in Boxing day derby writes The Mariner

Blues came to rue their profligacy in front of goal when they spurned a number of goalscoring opportunities in the first forty-five minutes of this landlord versus tenants Boxing Day derby allowing Millers back into the game in a more evenly contested second period. Blues dominated play in the first half playing some of their best football of the season so much so that keeper Joe Simmonds was a virtual spectator such was Blues control of the game. Despite this Blues current inability to turn possession into goals needs to be addressed if they are to be considered play off contenders a more clinical approach is needed in front of goal . Too many times this season Blues have failed to deliver the final ball into the danger area , neat inter-passing though pleasing on the eye does not always deliver the end result , failing to kill off games allows opponents an opportunity to influence the final outcome clearly illustrated this afternoon.

Simmonds returned in goal together with Ryan Mahal and Barry Cogan, James Folkes switched to left back in place of Sam Cross who has left to go travelling.

Blues make their intentions clear in a positive opening to the afternoon setting the tempo with attractive passing football leaving Millers chasing shadows in these early stages. The positive start paid off in the 7th minute when Blues won a free kick some 30 yards out. Richard Halle elected to take the kick arcing the ball over the wall to beat Rhys Madden to his left.

Blues buoyed by the goal continued to dominate possession passing their way through Aveley's midfield shelling the home penalty area with a series of through balls and crosses that simply lacked the finishing touch.

The danger when a side dominates possession is complacency and carelessness and a tendency to overplay the ball, this trait began to seep into Blues play especially between the back four who exchanged a number of passes without moving the ball into danger areas and giving the ball away needlessly.

Blues pressure was wining them a number of free kicks in and around the home box but poor delivery denied any goalscoring opportunities allowing Millers to clear the danger. Joao Carlos and Folkes were enjoying a fruitful partnership down the left channel giving Aveley full back Russell Malton a torrid time. Kieran Bishop looked lively and created an opening for Jamie Slabber laying the ball back from the byeline but the strikers aim was wayward sailing harmlessly over. Another wonderful flowing move saw Ade Cole surge forward sending in a low cross which just eluded the onrushing Bishop.

To their credit Aveley battled hard to keep their goal intact with ex Blue Freddie Gard industrious in midfield and striker Alex Teniola displaying a sure touch and turn of speed to keep Blues defenders alert and on their toes. It was still Blues though who enjoyed the lions share of play and in the dying moments of the half nearly doubled their advantage when another flowing move opened up chance for Carlos but his shot was deflected behind.

HT 0-1

Jamie Slabber failed to appear after the break through illness being replaced by on loan striker Bradley Sach.

After a first half which saw the hosts on the back foot they made an immediate impact at the start of the second period when they created an opening but the chance was wasted the ball blasted wildly over.At the other end Carlos replied in kind failing to hit the target clearing the crossbar by some margin with his effort.

The Aveley half time team talk had clearly taken effect, the home side set about closing down Blues midfield denying them time on the ball,crucially the forward runs of Mahal and Folkes were less evident which led to a more direct build up with the ball pumped from the back allowing the home defenders to clear comfortably.

Malton who had spent the first period repelling Blues raids suddenly found opportunities to get forward himself, a number of cross field balls found him in acres of space in dangerous areas but he failed to capitalise his aim with shots and crosses wayward

Simmonds was certainly seeing a lot more action in the half in part caused by his team mates habit of giving away a series of unnecessary free kicks in dangerous areas caused by the pressure Millers were exerting ,fortunately the hosts failed to capitalise wasting a number of opportunities.

As the half progressed and with Aveley failing to create a clear cut chance Blues pushed forward and came close to doubling their lead when an attack saw a series of goalmouth scrambles ,Madden making a great block and the ball ricocheting around the home six yard box eventually scrambled to safety. Aveley replied with yet another free kick on the edge of Blues box deflected behind. A number of long throws were rained in on the Blues goal but were successfully repelled .

The closing minute saw Blues impose themselves on the game again, Cole sent an effort just wide of the upright, Bishop cleverly hooked the ball but straight into Madden's arms,Substitute the impressive Tre Zialor was found from a free kick he laid the ball into the path of Carlos but he failed to hit the target.It was to be Blues last chance and one they would come to regret.

With just a minute remaining on the clock Millers won a corner ,pushing men forward the ball was delivered into the box,Simmonds stayed rooted to his line a scramble ensued and there was Alex Stephenson who reacted quickly to stab the ball home, and deny Blues victory.

On reflection over the ninety minutes a draw was probably the fairest outcome, Blues dominated the first half but to their credit Aveley regrouped after the break to produce a more even second period .

Blues then stopped the run of defeats but this was another game where in terms of possession and chances particularly in the first half they could and should have won comfortably but this game is all about goals not possession and chances.A worrying factor that also needs to be addressed is the lack of discipline especially when under pressure ,two more bookings added to a mounting tally which could prove harmful in the long run.

Saturday sees them travel to Potters Bar Town who looked an impressive outfit when they won at Parkside earlier in the season.

Simmonds Mahal, Folkes,Halle Bruce , Muguo, Cogan(Zialor 60), Cole , Bishop, Slabber(Sach 45), Carlos (Brown 86)

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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
Bury Town
Haringey Borough
Dereham Town


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League table

# 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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