Blues and Wingate Share The Points
In a game that will not last long in the memory Grays fought out a drab goalless draw against their mid table rivals writes The Mariner
Illness and absence played a significant part in team selection for manager Mark Bentley, an outbreak of flu within the squad and the non appearance of leading scorer DD Dumaka ,not for the first time this season, led to Blues fielding a makeshift eleven.Kenny Beaney,Joao Carlos started on the bench despite falling victims to the flu bug with Calvin Ekpiteta and Callum Maltese drafted in from the youth squad.
The visitors made the running in the opening period Healey. tested keeper Lamar Johnson who managed to scramble the ball away after good work by Laney.
Both sides were finding control difficult on the uneven playing surface with Wingate adapting more readily Healey again threatened the home goal fortunately his fist time effort sailed over the woodwork.
Blues first real opening was created by a Roman Michael-Percil run and cross the ball was eventually scrambled away for a corner,Jey Sivas’ kick saw Correy Davidson’s glancing header hit the angle of post and crossbar and turned behind for another corner Nick Symons got on the end of the kick skewing his shot high and wide.
The visitors were coming under a good deal of pressure as the half progressed ,Mark Bentley saw a header fly just over and then Davidson had a golden opportunity to put Blues in front winning a fifty fifty race for the ball with Wingate keeper Metcalfe but his lob dropped harmlessly wide.
Grays enjoyed a good deal of possession creating a number of openings but a reluctance to get a shot on goal was costing them dear.,Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson did manage to get a rare shot on target saved by Metcalf the rebound fell to Davidson who blasted over.
bringing to an end a low key first period.
HT 0 0
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with the visitors making the early running,Blues looked sluggish with little cohesion probably due to the enforced changes.
Both keepers were more akin to spectators with neither tested to any degree the game played out in midfield, neither side created a goalscoring effort of note.Misplaced passes and niggly fouls were the order of the day .The first effort on target came in the eightieth minute from Wingate saved by Johnson.
To add to the tedium the Referee Mr Ajibola was baffling all and sundry with some of his decisions frustrating both benches players and fans alike.
The only incident of note came in the dying moments when Johnson did well to turn aside a Wingate strike,pouncing on the loose ball Laney the visitors wingman stretched for the ball and in doing so landed on the back of the prone keeper.Johnson anxious to launch a counterattack tried to get to his feet but was impeded by the Wingate man, in the ensuing struggle Mr Ajibola astoundingly deemed both players guilty of violent play and both were summarily dismissed much to the amazement of players and fans.Mark Bentley was also given a red for his legitimate protests.
Despite a below par performance Blues maintained there unbeaten start to 2016 and moved up one place in the table and remained in striking distance of the playoff positions.