GAFC 4 - 1 Brentwood Town
By Andrew Packer
Blues made it two wins from two to top the league as they beat Brentwood Town 4-1 at home on Tuesday night.
Grays started the game like a team desperate to live up to their league challenges tag and almost took the lead in only the 4th minute.
A corner was taken short to Joao Carlos who squared the ball to Joe Sweeney on the edge of the area. His cross was played into Junior Baker whose shot was deflected out for another corner.
This time the ball was swung in deep to the back post where Jack West rose highest to head towards goal only to see his shot strike the bottom of the post. A goalmouth scramble ensued and somehow the ball fell into Elliot Justham’s hands in the Brentwood goal.
In the 9th minute Grays again looked dangerous as a searching cross by Luke Marshall was only cleared to the edge of the box. Kenny Beaney’s shot was blocked into the path of Jack West and his snap shot hit a defender and once again fell into the hands of the Brentwood keeper.
With Grays controlling the midfield for long spells Brentwood finally managed a chance in the 21st minute. A quick counter attack saw Abs Seymour break down the left wing and his cross along the 18 yard line was met by Abs Thompson with his low shot going narrowly past the right hand post.
Grays finally took the lead in the 25th minute as Carlos swung in a deep cross from the left hand side and Junior Baker flung himself in front of the Brentwood defence to head into the top corner.
The lead was almost doubled in the 29th minute as another Grays corner wasn’t dealt with by the Brentwood defence and as the ball rolled across the face of goal to the back post Kenny Beaney found himself all alone for a simple tap in only to see his effort go wide.
Another chance went begging in the 31st minute as Kenny Beaney once again was left unmarked at the back post from a corner and this time a simple header was put over the bar.
Lee Flynn received Grays’ first yellow card of the season in the 38th minute as Brentwood attacked down the right wing and Flynn cynically stopped a player from breaking in on goal and being cautioned for the indiscretion.
With half time approaching Grays created the final chance of the half as a long ball up the middle was flicked on by Jack West to put Luke Marshall through on goal. Marshall tried to take the ball around the keeper who got down well to keep the score at only 1-0.
Brentwood Town started the second half much better with the game more even for the first 10 minutes. The only chance fell to Grays in the 48th minute as Carlos played the ball into West and his shot went narrowly over the bar.
Brentwood’s first meaningful shot on target came in the 57th minute as a free kick was taken quickly from the edge of the area. The ball was heading into the top left hand corner of the goal, only for Lamar Johnson, who was still lining up the wall, to dive across the full length of his goal to tip the ball round the post.
Grays finally gave themselves breathing room in the 73 minute as a Lee Flynn free kick was played low into the Brentwood area. The ball made it to the edge of the six yard box where Craig Pope was on hand to shoot on the turn and fire over the keeper and give Grays a 2-0 lead.
Brentwood immediately made two substitutions changing Danny Dafter and Neil Cousins with Sherwin Stanley and Robbie Rees.
The two goal cushion lasted all of one minute as Brentwood’s Abs Thompson ran into the Grays area and was sent tumbling by a huge divot in the bumpy Rush Green pitch (hmmm?) with the referee awarding a penalty. Steve Butterworth converted the penalty despite Johnson getting a hand to the ball.
Grays replaced Joe Sweeney with James Bunn in the 77th minute and just like last Saturday Bunn was on hand to add potency to the Grays front line.
In the 80th minute Marshall ran down the left wing and squared the ball to James Bunn just outside the area. With defenders converging Bunn’s perfectly weighted pass ran into Jack West’s path and he fired low into the net to give Grays a 3-1 lead.
Tyrone Scarlett replaced Joao Carlos in the 87th minute for his league debut for the final few minutes but Grays were not finished yet.
In the final minute Grays were once again on the attack in the Brentwood area with James Bunn in possession. He appeared to have nowhere to go with defenders surrounding him but a sublime back flick was perfect for Craig Pope to run onto and drill into the far corner for his second goal of the game and a convincing 4-1 victory for the home team.
At the final whistle to majority of the 211 strong crowd were left ecstatic with the way Grays played and hopefully the fans will return for Saturdays FA Cup game against Takeley.
Grays Athletic: - Lamar Johnson, Craig Pope, Ryan Kirby, Junior Baker, Lee Flynn, Luke Marshall, Leon Lalite, Kenny Beaney, Joao Carlos (Tyrone Scarlett 87), Jack West, Joe Sweeney (James Bunn 77)
Subs not used: - Grant Cooper, David East, Alexander Cruickshank.