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GRAYS ATHLETIC 1st TEAM - Match centre

Grays Athletic
Kingstonian
Wed 7 Dec 19:45 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 126

Defiant Blues Down Kingsonian

Blues recorded their first win since early October in a gritty performance against midtable Kingstonians writes The Mariner

You would have thought Blues had won not only last nights encounter but also the league championship such was the euphoria shared between players and fans alike at the final whistle at Mill Field on Wednesday evening.Some resolute defending and for once a sprinkling of good fortune ensured victory the only downside was the red card suffered by scorer of the Blues opening goal Nathan Campbell in the dying minutes .

Kingstonian made a bright start and Blues could have gone behind inside two minutes when Ks striker Moss burst through and sent in a fierce drive which Amadou Taagara could only push out to Bamba fortunately his effort drifted wide of the upright.

The speedy Bamba was to see plenty of the ball in the opening period testing recent signing Ryan Mahal but the former Leatherhead man held his own.The visitors were making all the early running but it was the Blues in the shape of the impressive Kieron Bishop that looked likely to break the deadlock.A long clearance saw Bishop outstrip the Ks defence and with only keeper Tolfrey to beat his shot failed to beat the keeper who clung onto the ball .

It was only a temporary respite as Kingstonian continued to dominate possession forcing a number of corners in quick succession,Lamont was allowed too much space from a corner winning a header that Taagara did well to save.

Blues were not helping their cause with some loose passes and failing to pick up in midfield allowing the visitors to cut through them with ease.So it was then that against the run of play Blues went in front in the 30th minute. Hornsley won a free kick outside the Ks box,Harry Watkins floated the ball into the area and there was Campbell who rose highest to loop his header over Tolfrey .

The goal lifted Blues and they began to see more of the ball,the impressive Mahal won the ball on halfway driving forward he tried his luck from 25 yards seeing the ball fly just wide.

Kingstonian still posed the greater threat going forward with Bamba again the main threat but despite the pressure Blues rearguard marshalled by the experienced Terrell Forbes managed to hold out until the 40th minute when the visitors levelled the scores.Moss won a free kick on the edge of the home box ,Hogg stepped up and curled the ball over the Blues wall past the diving Tangara.

HT 1-1

Blues got off to the best possible start to the half when in the 47th minute Bishop registered the third goal of his fledgeling Blues career.Hogg misjudged the flight of a through ball,Goode tried to intercept only to deflect the ball into Bishop's path and he made no mistake sliding the ball past Tolfrey.Moments later Hornsley had an opportunity to increase Blues advantage after capitalising on another defensive error only to see his shot deflected behind.

The visitors stunned by the setback set about restoring parity but found Blues defenders determined to maintain their goal advantage,Tangara saved well from a Hogg free kick whilst at the other end sub Lheureux Menga squandered an opportunity when he latched onto a through ball but his heavy first touch saw the ball run way from him allowing Tolfrey to gather the ball.

Jamie Mascoll pushed into midfield for this game came so close with a spectacular volley from a Watkins cross the ball flashing wide of the post with Tolfrey rooted to the spot.

Kingstonian continued to push forward as Blues dropped deeper into their own half but a combination of resolute defending and poor finishing ensured the homesters maintained their advantage.With the clock ticking down Blues goal came under increasing pressure with a succession of corners and free kicks and another rash challenge from Campbell brought him a second yellow card and inevitable red card fortunately for Blues the dismissal came in the 90th minute allowing Blues to see out the remainder of the game and claim the much needed three points.

Manager Jamie Stuart mentioned in his programme notes to being more defensive minded something which seems to have registered with his players on the night as they defended with far more determination and got their just reward with a much needed win.Ironically the performance overall was not up to the same standard as the previous weeks encounter with Needham Market where they finished pointless but in Blues current situation winning ugly is all that's required .

The win sets things up nicely for Saturdays local derby against near neighbours and fellow strugglers Canvey Island .

The FA Respect: We Only Do Positive

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
18. Hendon 46 54
19. Burgess Hill Town 46 54
20. Merstham 46 53
21. Harrow Borough 46 53
22. Canvey Island 46 52
23. AFC Sudbury 46 46
24. Grays Athletic 46 38

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