Fallah Strike Wins It For Blues
A second half goal from David Fallah brought Grays their much awaited first win of the season at previously unbeaten Worthing on a pristine 3G playing surface writes The Mariner
Blues produced an excellent all round team performance against their high flying hosts and it could quite easily have been by a a bigger margin had they converted the numerous chances they created.
Blues gave a debut to new signing Tayshan Hayden-Smith who showed enough to suggest he will become an influential member of the squad .Mikheil Karshiladze returned in goal and produced another trademark wonder save in the dying moments to guarantee the three points for his team.
In a sign of things to come it was Fallah who came close to scoring in the opening minutes,latching on to a ball from Smith he failed to get good contact on the ball scuffing his shot which fortunately took a deflection for a corner.Lheureux Memba nodding over from the kick
Blues were beginning to get the upper hand in midfield,Smith, Adeyinka Cole and Aarron Wickham combining well to push their hosts back.
Worthings first effort of note came courtesy of Wills who picked up a loose header from George Pilbeam but failed to test Kharshiladze.
Cole saw his freekick from the edge of the box sail over and then the ever dangerous Etienne Kabobola cut inside and saw his goal bound effort deflected for a corner.
Worthing capitalised from a slack pass by Fallah quickly pushing forward the ball was fed to Sparks who wasted the chance blasting over from 15 yards
Shortly after Blues had two golden opportunities to go in front the first from a low cross from Fallah which ran along the goal line ,and then a similar chance on the other flank from Kabobola but both times a Blues forward wasn't on hand to apply the final touch.
Worthing keeper Banks was by far the busier of the two keepers making a number of saves as Blues continued to press for an opening but despite the pressure the home goal remained intact.
As half time drew near Worthing were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Grays box.Newton wasted the opportunity with a shot that lacked any real power.
Kharshiladze who had been largely a spectator in the first half was called into action in the opening minutes saving from Rents.
Worthing looked sharper now denying Blues time on the ball as the game became more of an even contest.
It was Blues though that were creating the better openings with Kabobola and Cole testing Banks with some long range shots.Jake Hutchings drove forward from the half way line avoiding a couple of challenges and fired just over.
Worryingly now Ronnie O'Donnell and Pilbeam were getting caught the wrong side of their wingers allowing Worthing to get their crosses in.It was no surprise then to see Pilbeam replaced by Simon Mensah.
Blues were indebted to Hutchings who made a brilliant tackle to deny Stanislaus just as he shaped to shoot past Kharshiladze.
The game was now an end to end battle with some feisty challenges from both sides,Worthing were seeing more of the ball as they looked to preserve their unbeaten record but it was Blues who struck first.
Mensah won the ball on the half way line pushing forward he crossed into Menga,taking the ball on his chest he played it out to Fallah on the angle of the box, turning inside he curled a low shot past the outstretched hands of the diving Banks and into the net in the 68th minute.
The goal was no more than Grays deserved for their efforts up to now.Worthing were not finished though as they pushed Blues back searching for the equaliser .Stanislau got the better of Hutchings racing forward with only Kharshiladze to beat he sent his effort sailing over.
The hosts forced a number of corners defended well by Hutchings and Kwabena Osei,Brodie then tried his luck his shot comfortably saved by Kharshiladze.
At the other end Wickham tested Banks without success ,Kabobola then did well fizzing the ball across the Worthing goal.
In the dying minutes Worthing came close to denying Blues the three points,O 'Donnell failed to pick up Newton he quickly powered forward and lobbed the advancing Kharshiladze who somehow managed to turn the ball over for a corner it was without doubt a match winning save.
Worthing keeper Banks came up for the corner in a last gasp effort to salvage something from the game but the ball was cleared out to safety.
Blues having weathered the late Worthing storm were content to play out the final minutes knocking the ball into the corners.The final whistle came to cap a fine display and a much needed three points.
Blues will be looking to build on the win when they face Staines at Mill Field on Bank Holiday Monday.