Off Key Grays fall to Vickers
Report from The Mariner
Grays Athletic 0 -1 VCD Athletic
Blues slumped to a disappointing defeat to lowly VCD Athletic at Mill Field on Saturday not helped by a controversial red card given to key defender Jay Leader.
Fortunately the loss did not affect adversely their league position as results in other games went their way.The result hung largely on the sending off of Leader who referee Mr Gill adjudged to be the last man .
Blues started brightly enough winning a corner in the opening minute as they quickly took the game to the visitors. Manager Bentley made a number of changes with Jay Siva returning at left back which seemed to energise Joao Carlos as they resumed their pairing down the left flank.
Carlos did well to win a corner with the resultant kick finding the head of Sean Cronin who powered the ball goalwards only to be denied by a stunning save from Rob Budd in the visitors goal.
In the early stages it look increasingly likely that the Blues would open their account such was their dominance forcing a number of corners. Cronin's goal bound header produced another fine save from Budd following another Blues corner.
Blues had a scare of their own when Alex Addai gave the ball away on half way allowing Simmonds a run on goal fortunately for the home side his shot sailed harmlessly over when a goal looked the more likely outcome.
Budd was proving inspirational for the Vickers but then sustained what looked like a serious shoulder injury following a collision with DD Dumaka ,after some lengthy treatment he was able to continue despite appearing restricted in his movement.
VCD weathered the early onslaught from Grays and gradually began to get a toehold in the game, ex Blue Aaron Wickham broke quickly and was only denied by a great block from Lamar Johnson who had rushed some fifteen yards outside his area.
Johnson was grateful a few minutes later when he gratefully gathered a header following a dangerous cross from Bakere.
With the half drawing to a close Mason Bloomfield had a great opportunity to edge Blues in front, Addai jinked his way out wide and delivered a great cross on to the head of Bloomfield with only Budd to beat his header lacked power and direction and sailed harmlessly wide.
With the wind at their backs in the second half Blues would have expected to enjoy territorial advantage but they were grateful to the woodwork after a ricochet from an attempted clearance struck Neita and then the post.
VCD were now taking the game to Grays despite playing into the gale with former Blue Aaron Wickham prominent in many of their moves and as in previous meetings Blues tended to drop off allowing the visitors more time and space on the ball.
In a good break Bloomfield and Dumaka combined well playing a neat one two with the latter failing to hit the target his effort flying high and wide.
Budd in the visitors goal was clearly struggling but despite some neat approach work from Grays he was rarely troubled as numerous shooting opportunities were squandered.
Blues continually overplayed the ball allowing VCD to funnel back behind the ball and any balls into the box lacked quality, in contrast when the visitors broke forward they did it with pace exposing the Grays back line.
It was from one such break following a searching ball forward came the incident that would change the game. Leader challenged Bakare down the Blues left flank, he appeared to wrestle his opponent to the ground conceding what was a clear penalty. Unfortunately not for the first time Mr Gill made a bizarre decision concluding that Leader was the last man despite the close proximity of Blues defenders between Bakare and the goal showing the unfortunate Grays man a straight red, Bakere converted the penalty to make Blues task all the harder.
Stung by this apparent injustice Blues set about looking for the equaliser but once again woeful finishing let them down, first Carlos did well to make space but lashed his shot high and wide, Siva 's effort from a free kick on the edge of the visitors area produced the same end result. Addai then saw his goal bound effort blocked but despite the late pressure the injured Budd was not called on to make a save of any significance.
Late in the game Blues had a great opportunity to square the match when Dumaka broke free but fired straight at Budd the ball rebounded to Bloomfield who's weak effort was easily dealt with.
As the clock ticked down Blues play became increasingly frenetic lacking any real direction as they succumbed to a second 1-0 reverse in a week.
So a disappointing afternoon and what must be of most concern to manager Bentley is although Blues carved out chances they are not being taken, clearly a more clinical approach in front of goal is needed .
Grays have a chance to put the reversal behind them as Monday sees them visit Hendon who sit just outside the relegation zone. They will welcome a decent playing surface which will hopefully allow them to play their passing game .
Starting XI: Johnson Ifill Siva Cronin Leader Agyemang Addai Beaney Dumaka Bloomfield Carlos
Subs: Bentley Hutchins Ekpiteta Michael-Percil Agombar