Dumaka double inspires the Blues
Blues with a brace from DD Dumaka and a dramatic late winner from Joao Carlos came home with all three points writes The Mariner
Mark Bentley made two changes to the starting eleven from Saturday's game ,Luke Ifill making his debut in defence in place of the injured Tommy Cummings and DD Dumaka returning up front after recovering from injury.
Tonbridge buoyed by their opening day win at Enfield started brightly,from the kick off a Webber cross found Elder who's goal bound effort was deflected for the first corner of the game.
In the 4th minute another Webber cross was spilled under pressure by Lamar Johnson allowing Parkinson a simple tap in to put the hosts one up.
After this early set back Grays began to see more of the ball,Luke Ifill was combining well with
Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson down the right flank,Ifill played a neat ball to Tomlinson who outstripped Parter but slipped as he was about to shoot.
Tonbridge tactics were clearly to pressurise the player on the ball which in the early stages seemed to unsettle Grays as they conceded a number of free kicks after losing possession .
The Blues got back on level terms in the 26th minute Tomlinson again doing well played a deep cross to Ferguson his header back across goal finding the unmarked Dumaka who made no mistake beating Di Bernardo.
The hosts were still causing problems particularly on either flank with Webber tormentor in chief but the Blues rearguard managed to keep their shape.A long throw by Blewden fell to Webster who turned but saw his shot deflected for a corner eventually cleared by the Blues.
Another quick Blues break saw the increasingly effective Ifill combine with Dumaka who fed Carlos but his strike was blocked,Dumaka then saw his speculative lob beat Di Bernado and the crossbar.
As the half drew to a close Grays were gaining the upper hand in midfield as their passing game slowly came together with Kenny Beaney and James Stevens controlling proceedings.
Blues started the second period a lot sharper Carlos in particular was beginning to cause the hosts fullback Folkes real problems beating him for pace at every opportunity
Sean Cronin did well to thwart Webber as he shaped to shoot,from the resultant corner Johnson made a great save to deny Elder.
Carlos who was becoming more influential by the minute was fouled on the edge of the Tonbridge area when through on goal,from the free kick Stevens curling effort was just too high and sailed harmlessly over.
Johnson then had to be alert when a quick Tonbridge break found Blewden through on goal but the keeper did well to win the ball just outside his area.The hosts did have the ball in the net a moment later following a corner but the goal was disallowed for pushing.
From the restart Tomlinson did well to slip a challenge from Parter using his blistering pace he quickly moved the ball deep into the Tonbridge half cutting the ball back from the byeline he found the onrushing Dumaka who made no mistake to put the Blues in front on 56 minutes.
Blues were looking dangerous every time the ball went forward ,the pace of Carlos and Tomlinson causing Tonbridge real problems and a third goal looked increasingly likely but then in the 62nd minute Tonbridge were given a lifeline.After a Grays attack broke down Phipp fed Blewdon who ran fully 40 yards unchallenged and unleashed an unstoppable shot to beat Johnson and bring the scores level.
The goal really stung the visitors into action Carlos and Jey Siva were now combining well down the left flank,Carlos after a good run played in Dumaka but his goal bound effort was deflected for a corner.
Stevens was replaced by Michel-Persil to add more pace to the midfield as the Blues continued to look for the winning goal,Dumaka was just wide with another effort but Tonbridge nearly went in front when a great cross from Wheeler found Webster who's strong header beat Johnson but fortunately sailed just wide of the far post.
Dumaka then tried a spectacular overhead quick that flew wide and then Carlos in the 86th minute came up with the winner beating the hapless Folkes he cut inside and curled a delightful ball over Di Bernardo into the far corner much to the delight of the Blues travelling faithful.
The home side were still not done Johnson had to produce a fine save to deny Blewden and Webber fired over when well placed but the Blues played out the last few minutes to cap what was a solid all round team effort and record their first win of the season.
Manager Bentley would have been pleased with the way his team went about their game, after a shaky start they recovered well and looked full value for the win.He would have been particularly pleased with the form of DD Dumaka who looked really sharp and linked the play well .Luke Ifill made a real impact on his debut and looks a really good prospect playing with a maturity beyond his years.
Next up is Burgess Hill on Saturday who ran away with the Division One title with last season it will be no easy task but Blues will be full of confidence after tonight's performance.
Grays Athletic: Johnson Ifill Sivapathasindaran Cronin Leader Stevens Fortnam-Tomlinson Beaney Dumaka Ferguson Carlos
Subs: Little Cummings Michael-Persil Reynolds Bentley