GAFC 3-0 Heybridge Swifts
Grays continued their solid start to the season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Heybridge Swifts at Rush Green on Tuesday night.
Both teams had early chances to score with Heybridge going close in the 4th minute following a good run down the right wing led to a deep cross finding Solomon Ofori unmarked at the back post but his header went high over the bar.
Grays responded a minute later as Joao Carlos found space in the area and his fierce shot was pushed over the bar by former Grays keeper Nicky Eyre in the Heybridge goal. The resulting corner was flicked over the bar by Jake Hall at the near post.
The opening goal of the game came in the 15th minute following another superb passing move by Grays. Joe Sweeney picked the ball up in midfield and played in Luke Marshall down the right hand side. His layoff back to Craig Pope was crossed deep into the Heybridge box to Joao Carlos at the back post. His header was well saved by Eyre but Joe Sweeney was on hand to tap in the resulting rebound.
In the 18th minute more good interplay in midfield saw a through ball played into the path of Carlos who got to within five yards of the goal before shooting but he somehow managed to fire over the bar.
Grays cemented their lead in the 28th minute as Sweeney ran in behind the Heybridge defence to pick up the ball in the corner on the right hand side. He played the ball back to Lee Flynn who crossed first time finding James Bunn unmarked in the middle of goal six yards out. His header was low into the bottom left corner and Eyre was unable to stop the ball from finding the bottom corner of the net.
The home side were dominate and created another chance in the 36th minute as Bunn played the ball out wide to Carlos who cut inside on his right foot and his shot was goal bound until Eyre tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.
The game was all but ended as a contest in the 42nd minute as Grays again carved open the Heybridge defence with a fine free flowing passing move. Sweeney picked the ball up in midfield and played a simple pass out to Carlos on the left wing. A one-two between Carlos and Bunn left the defenders rooted to the spot as Carlos ran in on goal before squaring to Jake Hall six yards out for a simple tap in.
A 3-0 halftime lead was the least the home side deserved and the crowd were rampant in the support of the team as they left the pitch.
Grays took their foot off the gas slightly in the second half which allowed Heybridge more freedom to go forward, who to their credit continued to try and play decent football throughout the match.
In the 53rd minute, a powerful strike from the edge of the area was well saved low down by George Kamurasi in the Grays goal, ensuring Heybridge did not score with their first shot on target.
On the hour mark, Solomon Ofori found space in the Grays box and unleashed a low shot which was heading for the bottom corner, but Kamurasi was down quickly to make the save and reacted well to get back up to his feet and push the rebound from Michael Creek over the bar.
A minute later Grays almost extended their lead as Bunn put the ball through to Luke Marshall but Eyre was out well to dive at his feet and push the ball to the corner of the area. Carlos picked the ball up and had the whole goal to aim at but his shot went narrowly past the far post.
The last half hour was largely disjointed as both Grays and Heybridge made substitutions at regular intervals which broke up the flow of the game.
Grays replaced Jake Hall, Joe Sweeney and James Bunn for Kenny Beaney, Danny Bunce and Jack West respectively.
The only down side of the evening was Leon Lalite picking up a yellow card in injury time for persistent fouling.
The referee blew for full time shortly after and the result sees Grays rise to second in the table, just one point behind Maldon & Tiptree.
The next game for Grays is on Saturday at home to Maidstone United in the FA Cup.
Grays Athletic: George Kamurasi, Craig Pope, Junior Baker, Grant Cooper, Lee Flynn, Luke Marshall, Leon Lalite, Jake Hall (Kenny Beaney 68), Joao Carlos, Joe Sweeney (Danny Bunce 73), James Bunn (Jack West 82)
Unused Subs: David East, Jamie Richards