Blues Get Back To winning Ways
Blues ended their winless run with an emphatic win over lowly Lewes writes The Mariner.
After five league games without a win Grays brushed aside Lewes who in the past had been their bogey side having won both home ties in the last two seasons,a brace from DD Dumaka,and one apiece from Jake Hutchins and James Stevens saw them home and put their promotion push back on track.
Manager Mark Bentley was forced into changes to the starting eleven due to injuries to Jay Leader,Montel Agyemang ,Nathan Ferguson and Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson,he included himself in the starting eleven with Harry Agonbar returning and Jake Hutchings continuing alongside Sean Cronin at the back.
If Bentley was looking for a reaction following the disappointing defeat against Leatherhead on Wednesday night he certainly got it when Blues went in front with barely three minutes on the clock.Blues won a corner out on the right Stevens kick was flicked home by Hutchins to record his first goal for the club.
The goal visibly lifted Grays as they looked much sharper than of late moving the ball with more urgency and shutting down the opposition.
The next real chance for the Blues came following a great punt forward by Lamar Johnson into the path of Jaoa Carlos he did well to win the ball tight on the Lewes byeline clipping the ball back he found Dumaka who's diving header flew just wide of the upright.
Lewes came back into the game more through a number of silly free kicks given away by Grays although Blues defenders dealt with them comfortably.
Neat interplay between Agonbar and Dumaka produced an opening for Roman Michael-Percil but keeper Winterton managed to save his effort.
Stevens then played a great ball to Dumaka, the striker bore down on goal but was clipped from behind by former Blues favourite Jordan Wilson as he was the last man Referee Mr Jerden had no option but to produce a red card.
As if to add insult to injury Lewes found themselves two down barely minutes after Wilsons dismissal.A speculative ball found danger man Dumaka,bringing the ball down on his chest and despite two defenders in close attention he cleverly jinked past them and clinically drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
The two goal cushion clearly relaxed the Blues as they looked to increase their advantage,Agonbar saw his goal bound effort deflected for a corner,Percil then came close following good work by Carlos his shot was turned behind for yet another corner.The ball was floated in by Jey Siva and there was Dumaka who made no mistake powering his header past Winterton to claim Blues third and his second goal of the game on 35 minutes.
Dumaka was giving Lewes real problems at the back as they struggled to compete with his control and power,he came close to his hat trick when a powerful volley sailed just over.
Minutes before the break Lewes came close to opening their account,Marsh-Brown made a great run down the left and swung over a low cross onto the head of McCreadie who beat Johnson but luckily for the Blues the crossbar.
Lewes enjoyed a period of possession in the early stages of the second half moving the ball quickly without causing Grays too many problems .
A great 35 yard break by Percil saw him outpace the visitors his cutback forced a corner Stevens kick found Hutchins but was cleared to safety.
Understandably the visitors with one man short came under constant pressure but they did come close themselves when Ciardinis shot was just over.
Carlos who was seeing a lot of the ball embarked on a driving run winning a corner in the process,initially the kick was cleared only to find Luke Ifill his delivery was met with a miscued first time volley from Cronin and the chance was lost.
Alex Addai made his first league appearance of the season and made an immediate impact using his electric pace and trickery winning a corner with his first contribution the game.The kick found Carlos on the edge of the box firing just over.
The visitors won a free kick McCreadie's header falling comfortably into the arms of Johnson who having probably his quietest afternoon so far this season.
Blues continuously threatened the visitors goal and the pressure finally told in the 84th minute.Carlos jinked his way into the box playing a one two with Stevens the return ball allowed Stevens a shot on goal and he made no mistake striking the ball past the wrong footed keeper to make it 4-0.
With the three points secured Blues were content to ease off the pace retaining possession the proceedings being directed by another cameo performance from the maestro Glen Little,his ability to see a pass was an education for players and fans alike.
There was just enough time for Stevens and Addai to combine,Stevens getting in shot which was saved well by Winterton.
So a welcome three points for the Blues the win moving them up the table and back in the mix for a play off place.What will please Manager Bentley apart from the win will be the appearance of Alex Addai we saw enough of him in the short time he was on the pitch to know he can be a potential match winner.Jake Hutchins has also slotted in well alongside Sean Cronin in the absence of Jay Leader and with the imminent return of skipper Kenny Beaney Blues should be well equipped to resume their promotion challenge.
Blues have a week now to prepare for that all important FA Cup tie against Conference side Welling Utd.For the first time in this years competition they go into the tie as underdogs but if they can reproduce their early season form they will be more than capable of causing an upset.