GAFC 2 – 1 Dagenham & Redbridge XI
By Chris Jones
Blues hosted a Dagenham & Redbridge XI this evening at Rush Green, and second half goals from Luke Marshall and Joe Sweeney secured a 2-1 win.
With just over two weeks to go until the start of the new season, manager Hakan Hayrettin used the match to play a strong team from the outset. Ryan Kirby partnered Junior Baker in the centre of defence, whilst there was a five man midfield with Jake Hall, Leon Lalite and Kenny Beaney in central positions. Jake West played up front, supported by Luke Marshall and Joao Carlos on the flanks.
Ex-Blue Duran Reynolds captained the visitors who included Medy Elito, Jake Reed and Danny Green, all of whom have featured in league football for the Daggers.
DR Congo born Elito looked lively early on, running through midfield before shooting from distance, forcing a good save from Lamar Johnson.
Both Danny Bunce and Beaney had half chances shortly after, however a combination of defender and goalkeeper blocked Bunce’s effort, whilst Berkeley Laurencin in the Dagenham goal saved a weak shot from Beaney.
On the half hour, Alex Robinson latched onto a poor cross-field pass from Bunce and he shot from 20 yards, with Johnson again coming to Blues’ rescue.
In first half stoppage time, Elito shot low which Johnson parried into the path of Reed, who had the simple task of tapping in from six yards.
Luke Marshall levelled for Blues five minutes into the second half as headed in from close distance following a cross from the right hand side of the area by Lalite.
The visitors had a couple of chances themselves through Reed and Robinson, however both shots failed to trouble the Blues defence.
With 20 minutes remaining, Blues won the match courtesy of a goal from substitute Joe Sweeney. Marshall came inside from the wing and played a fine through ball into the feet of Sweeney who finished low from just inside the area.
Tyrone Scarlett and David East were introduced late on as Blues held out to record a good win over the neighbours from Victoria Road.
Up next is a trip to face Braintree Reserves on Saturday afternoon.
Grays Athletic: - Lamar Johnson, Craig Pope (David East), Ryan Kirby, Junior Baker, Danny Bunce, Luke Marshall, Jake Hall (Tyrone Scarlett), Leon Lalite (Ryan Maxwell), Kenny Beaney, Joao Carlos, Jack West (Joe Sweeney)
Unused Subs: - George Kamurasi, Ryan Palmer, Alex Cruickshank, Brian Moses, Joe Smallwood, Ben Maruta.
Dagenham & Redbridge: - Berkeley Laurencin, Chris Webber, Peter Gilbert, Will Antwi, Duran Reynolds, Ellis Sands, Medy Elito, Tom Davie, Jake Reed, Alex Robinson, Danny Green.
Subs: - Stan Porthouse, Scott Smith, Ricardo Santos, Jack Connor, Olly Bowles