Blues Dismal League Run Continues
Leatherhead completed a league double on Wednesday to consign Grays to their fourth defeat of the season writes The Mariner.
Grays looked a pale shadow of the team that swept all before them in the early days of this season with a display that lacked all the characteristics that made them such an attractive outfit previously.Their play lacked pace,cohesion,and firepower but credit must go to Leatherhead who employed the same tactics as in the previous encounter namely pressurising the player on the ball and counterattacking at pace which Blues could not cope with
One can point to injuries to key players with Kenny Beaney,Nathan Ferguson,Jay Leader all out and add to that Sean Cronin who picked up what looked like a nasty ankle injury in tonight's game but having said that the remaining squad members seem to have collectively lost form and confidence.
The opening minutes set the pattern for the game with Leatherhead taking the game to Grays closing down the player on the ball leading to rushed passes and poor decisions on the ball.Montel Angyemang played a loose ball allowing a quick Leatherhead break and only the quick thinking of Jake Hutchins returning to the side averted what could have been the opening goal.
A Blues break saw a shot from Roman Michael-Percil deflected into the path of Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson who's shot was blocked by visiting keeper Wells.DD Dumaka turned well from aJey Siva throw and fired in a shot just wide of the upright.
The lively Karagiannis 's shot deflected for a corner which was cleared to Walsh who's shot drifted wide.
Leatherhead were much the sharper of the two sides winning the all important second ball and when Grays had the ball pressurising them into mistakes.
Yussif was allowed a run on goal shooting wide and then Daley nearly scored from an audacious forty yard freekick the ball just clearing the crossbar.
Neither keepers were really tested with both sides failing to hit the target,Dumaka flicked the ball on to Jaoa Carlos but he blazed high and wide as the half drew to a close.
From the restart danger man Karagiannis powered forward on the left and struck the ball well beating Lamar Johnson and fortunately for Grays the far post.
The visitors got their noses in front in the 51st minute,from a throw deep in their own half the ball was flicked on to Yousiff he was left with a clear run on goal drawing Johnson he clinically slotted the ball home,worryingly grays again made it easy for the opposition to score.
The goal stirred Grays as they began to ask questions of the visitors back four.Blues won a corner on the left Dumaka managed to get his head to the ball but again failed to hit the target.
Percil went on a jinking run striking the ball well but straight at Wells,Tomlinson won a corner after a pacy run at goal the corner being cleared comfortably.
Blues were given a lifeline in the 64th minute,Carlos won a freekick out wide on the right,Siva's floated kick resulted in an unfair challenge in the box on Sean Cronin with the referee pointing to the spot.Dumaka stepped up and hit the ball with so little power or direction Wells didn't have to move as the ball rolled into his hands.
Following the challenge Cronin was unable to continue Manager Mark Bentley replacing him at the back.Grays continued to take the game to Leatherhead ,Tomlinson broke away seeing his effort cleared for a corner.Luke Ifill played in Dumaka his shot resulting in another corner.
Despite the pressure the Blues lacked the killer instinct as their play became more and more disjointed.Mason Bloomfield should have done better when a James Stevens freekick deflected to him in front of goal with only Wells to beat he failed shooting straight at the keeper.
Leatherhead wrapped up the game in injury time another quick break found Adeyinka through on goal and he made no mistake slotting the ball past Johnson to complete another miserable evening for Grays.
So another lacklustre performance from Grays but there is no need to panic,it is still very early days four defeats in fourteen games is not the end of the world.One must take into consideration the injuries to key players coupled with the fact that Blues have played seven of the ten teams at the top of the table.A win against lowly Lewes on Saturday puts them back in the mix although nothing can be taken for granted as this is a very open league this year. Predicting the potential Champions is not an easy task at the moment with every team capable of beating each other.
One thing is for sure good players don't become bad overnight,Mark Bentley is not a man to panic and with the impending return of the talismanic skipper Kenney Beaney I'm sure this barren run will come to an end soon.