Romford 2 - 2 GAFC
By Chris Jones
Grays started the game on the back of a seven game unbeaten run looking to get back to winning ways after Saturdays disappointing draw.
The Blues started lively and tested home keeper Anderson when Jake Hall started a move which finished with Joao Carlos offering a high lob goal-wards which was gathered easily.
Harry Agombar hassled in the middle but could not fire the Grays team as they failed to gel in testing conditions, as he pushed the ball around looking to open the Romford defence but the only serious attempt on goal came from the home side when Toms released Smith to bear down on Tony Tucker’s goal but a superb one-handed save cleared the danger.
The half continued with neither team managing to control the ball on a slippery surface and errors appeared in abundance and Smith should have done better when a defensive mistake from the Blues allowed him space in front of goal only to shoot high over the bar.
Carlos was starting to find space but could not release the other forward players as he tried to open the game but the dour half ended goal-less with both teams knowing they had not played well.
Grays came out for the second half with an urgency missing in the previous half and attacked from the restart. Lee Flynn found space on the left and slotted the ball to Carlos who skipped past two defenders and hit a low hard shot wide of an unsighted Anderson to settle into the net with 48 minutes gone and put the Blues on the front foot.
Danny Bunce came on for Nathan Gordon with Grays pushing forward but a long ball tested the Blues defence which was covered well by Junior Baker. His quick thinking saw him hit the ball long to catch out the Romford defence and find Carlos clear. A delicate toe poke took the ball past Anderson for Carlos to strike the ball into the empty net to double the lead.
Grays settled into their rhythm and started to play some of the passing football which has been their trade mark for most of the season. Craig Pope intercepted a wild pass and hit a long shot which slipped wide and a free-kick from Bunce floated into the box which dropped to Jean-Michel Sigere but the uneven bounce caused his shot to go wide.
The Blues were two goals to the good and relaxed and in control but could not increase their lead. Agombar dropped forward and saw his well struck shot held by Anderson and a pass from Carlos overrun his forward move.
Joe Sweeney came on for Kenny Beaney as Grays changed to their normal 4-4-2 formation but this seemed to unbalance the team as Romford found space to move forward and pressurise the Blues defence and errors started to creep in
Toms found space to hit the ball goal-wards and only a fine save from Tucker kept the ball clear and almost immediately a looping shot from Smith saw Tucker miss-handle and Sullivan hit the ball over from close range.
It looked only a matter of time before a goal arrived and it was a series of defensive errors that allowed the home team back. Firstly a short back pass saw Tucker slice his clearance for a corner which saw the resultant cross met solidly by the head of Berry to half the deficit.
With minutes to go another error saw the ball finally drop to the feet of Smith to poke home from close range to complete the scoring to the delight of the home team and supporters.
Grays Athletic :- Tony Tucker, Lee Flynn, Junior Baker, Bradley Thomas, Craig Pope, Joao Carlos, Jake Hall, Harry Agombar(James Bunn), Nathan Gordon (Danny Bunce), Kenny Beaney(Joe Sweeney), Jean-Michel Sigere.
Subs not used: Daniel Charge, Paul Olima.
Report by Steve Allen.