Ten Men Blues earn point at Heybridge
Thurrock Gazette's Danny Rust gives his verdict on Saturdays draw against Heybridge Swifts
HEYBRIDGE Swifts and Grays Athletic played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Aspen Waite Arena.
Match report courtesy of the Thurrock Gazette
Joan Luque and Ruel Sotiriou got on the scoresheet for the hosts, but Jamie Slabber and Kieran Bishop hit back for Grays before substitute Tre Zialor saw red. Tim Monsheju came off the bench to net in the 90th minute, but Bishop scored a stoppage time penalty for a share of the spoils.
The home side got off to an impressive start as they took the lead inside five minutes. Kreshnic Krasniqi was found with a ball over the top and the attacker’s pass across the face of goal was tapped into the back of the net by Luque.
Poor defending from Grays nearly allowed Swifts to double their lead with just 12 minutes on the clock. Toby Stevenson’s throw-in allowed Krasniqi to turn and run goalwards, but his effort flashed across the face of goal and went wide.Luque then sent a 20-yard strike wide of the target after his neat touch gave him an opening.
Bishop had the visitors’ first attempt of the afternoon, but the striker’s volley was well blocked by Ricky Sappleton.
Midway through the first half, Leyton Orient loanee Stevenson’s attempted cross struck the crossbar with Grays goalkeeper Joe Simmonds helpless.
And just moments later, Grays were back on level terms.
Adeyinka Cole cut inside after a short corner had been taken and, after beating Guillem Ramon, the central midfielder’s dangerous cutback was converted by Slabber.
But the away side were only level for 12 minutes as Joseph Bruce misjudged a ball into the right channel, and Sotiriou advanced before slotting past Simmonds to allow Heybridge to retake the lead.
While Swifts scored early in the first half, it was Grays’ turn to find the back of the net less than five minutes after the break as substitute Barry Cogan made an immediate impact off the bench.
The midfielder's ball over the top was slotted home by Bishop from close range.
Heybridge central defender Jack Cawley saw an effort blocked on the line just after the hour mark, while Luque forced Simmonds into a good save moments later.
Swifts boss Jody Brown then replaced Harrison Chatting with Monsheju, who joined the club following his departure from Grays last week, as the home side went in search of all three points.
And Monsheju nearly came back to haunt his former club as he neatly cut inside Bruce before sending a low strike goalwards. But Simmonds was equal to the attempt.
Substitute Zialor was shown a straight red card – just eight minutes after replacing Glenn Poole – leaving Grays to play out the final 11 minutes with 10 men.
And Swifts made the most of their numerical advantage as Monsheju’s looping header evaded Simmonds and found the back of the net as the clash ticked into the 90th minute.
But Grays hit back in stoppage time as Bishop converted from the penalty spot to claim a share of the spoils.
Grays Athletic: Simmonds, Mahal, Folkes, Bruce, Fowler, Muguo, Poole (Zialor 71’), Cole, Bishop, Slabber, Carlos (Cogan 46’)