Cheshunt 1 - 2 GAFC
By Andrew Packer
Grays returned to winning ways in the league as they won 2-1 away to Cheshunt on Tuesday evening.
Grays started the better of the two teams putting the home side under pressure right from the first whistle.
The first ten minutes saw Grays accumulate five corners, although they never really threatened from any of them.
They didn’t have to wait long to take the lead however and the opening goal came in very fortuitous circumstances.
In the 16th minute a tame shot by Kenny Beaney from the edge of the area was not cleared by the Cheshunt defence and as the ball bounced around the edge of the area, another poor clearance saw the ball fly high into the air. The ball managed to go backwards from where the defender initially tried to clear towards his own goal. The high ball came down just under the cross bar and Glen Williamson in the Cheshunt goal failed to claimed the ball cleanly, with Kenny Beaney on hand to poke the ball into the net from less than a yard.
The game came to an abrupt stop in the 24th minute as referee, Russell Howes, pulled up injured and was unable to continue. Following an eight minute stoppage, a fan was pulled out of the crowd to run the line, whilst the assistant moved into the middle.
Both teams traded efforts from outside the area with ten minutes remaining of the first half, but Jake Larkins and Williamson were easily able to collect the ball.
Grays had a fantastic chance to double their lead in the 40th minute as Luke Marshall broke down the right and swung a cross into the Cheshunt area. As the ball bounced around in the area it eventually fell to Joao Carlos in the centre of goal two yards out, but he somehow managed to screw his shot wide with the goal gaping.
Cheshunt started the second half much the better team as they looked to ensure they remained unbeaten at home this season.
In the 56th minute, a fierce shot from the edge of the area by Tony Burke was parried by Jake Larkins to the penalty spot where Jose Espinosa was running in on goal unchallenged, but he failed to control the ball cleanly, before eventually being cleared.
The home side were level just two minutes later as a long ball over the top of the Grays defence eas not dealt with by either Lee Flynn or Jake Larkins who stood looking at each other. Joe Clemo stole in to collect the ball before crossing onto the head of Ryan Wade who directed the ball into the top corner.
Grays looked for an immediate reply and good build up play from the back down the left hand side found Marshall in space on the edge of the area. He cut inside onto his right foot but his curling effort went narrowly wide.
Grays made a double substitution on 64 minutes as they replaced Jack West and Harry Agombar with Joe Sweeney and Jake Hall.
Hall was immediately in the thick of the action as a searching cross from the left by Carlos found him unmarked at the back post but he spurned a chance from close range to give Grays the lead.
The away side did regain the lead in the 75th minute as Cheshunt gave away a needless corner and were made to pay. The corner was played into the area around the penalty spot where Junior Baker was on hand with a perfectly timed run to meet the ball with a powerful header. Williamson got a hand to the ball but could not prevent it crossing the line to give Grays the lead for the second time in the game.
Grays changed Lee Flynn for Danny Bunce to shore up the back line for the last fifteen minutes as Cheshunt struggled to get a sight of goal as time began to run out.
The final chance of the game fell to Grays as Carlos picked the ball up on the left, attacked to the edge of the area, before cutting inside past a defender but his shot was straight at Williamson who saved easily.
Grays comfortably saw off five minutes of injury time to inflict Cheshunt’s first home defeat of the season and push themselves back into the play off positions.
Grays next game is on Saturday in the league away to leaders Tilbury.
Grays Athletic: Jake Larkins, Craig Pope, Ryan Kirby, Junior Baker, Lee Flynn (Danny Bunce 76), Luke Marshall, Leon Lalite, Kenny Beaney, Joao Carlos, Harry Agombar (Jake Hall 64), Jack West (Joe Sweeney 64)
Unused Subs: Grant Cooper, James Bunn