Complete team performance see Grays run out comfortable winners against Thamesmead Town
Grays remained in contention for promotion as an all-round team performance ensured a 3-0 win at home to Thamesmead Town on Saturday.
Grays began the game the better of the two sides as they looked to push forward from the start and forced multiple corners in the first ten minutes.
The home side’s good start was rewarded in the 13th minute as they took the lead. A long ball up the middle was brought down by Jack West who set up Joe Sweeney twelve yards out to fire first time into the far corner.
Thamesmead looked to get back in the game immediately and forced their first corner of the game in the 15th minute. The ball was played to the back post where Fem Omogbehin rose highest but headed narrowly wide.
Just seconds later Grays doubled their lead; as the resulting goal kick from the header was hit long by George Kamurasi over the Thamesmead back line. Joao Carlos raced through on goal to fire low into the far corner, leaving Dave Hogan in the Thamesmead goal with no chance.
Thamesmead again looked for a way back into the game and Lea Dawson found space on the edge of the Grays box before firing at goal, but Kamurasi was on hand to make a comfortable diving save.
The remainder of the first half was largely dull as neither side could force a clear cut opportunity and Grays deservedly took a lead into the break.
The second half started with Grays searching for the decisive third goal to put the result beyond doubt and in the 48th minute Danny Bunce worked his way into the Thamesmead box before firing at goal from a narrow goal, which Hogan pushed away to safety.
A minute later Bunce again found space on the left wing to pick out a cross for Jared Small to attack at the back post, but his header went just over the bar when he should have done better.
Thamesmead came close to pulling a goal back in the 53rd minute as a free kick from the right was played into the area and Dawson flicked a header towards goal, but Kamurasi dived and parried the ball away for a corner which came to nothing.
The away side continued to pressure the Grays defence and forced multiple corners and free kicks but could not get the breakthrough to get them back in the game.
The closest Thamesmead came to a goal was on the hour mark as a corner from the left was swung into the area where Lewis Tozer headed towards goal only for Kenny Beaney to head off the line.
Grays looked to get frustrated at not being able to control the game as they did in the first half and that frustration boiled over in the 72nd minute as Leon Lalite was booked for dissent and will now miss the Ware game for accumulating five yellow cards.
Grays regained their composure as the game approached the final ten minutes and Jack West almost got Grays third goal in the 78th minute as he collected the ball on the corner of the area but his curling shot went inches passed the far post.
West and Grays only had to wait another minute though as Sweeney picked up the ball in midfield and played in Carlos down the left wing. His cross to the back post was met by Jack West who came sliding in to tap home for a well-deserved goal on the day.
Grays made two late changes as Joao Carlos and Jack West made way for Lee Flynn and Joshua Oyinsan, making his debut for Grays.
Jared Small almost got on the score sheet in the 85th minute as a cross from the left by Bunce was met by the head of Jared Small, but from point blank range Hogan at full stretch managed a remarkable save to clear the danger.
Grays held on comfortably for the remainder of the game to make in two wins at home in a week.
They now have a ten day break without a game before traveling to Maldon & Tiptree in the Essex Senior Cup on Tuesday week.
Grays Athletic: George Kamurasi, Craig Pope, Junior Baker, Ryan Kirby, Danny Bunce, Joao Carlos (Lee Flynn 82), Kenny Beaney, Leon Lalite, Jared Small, Joe Sweeney, Jack West (Joshua Oyinsan 89)
Unused Subs: David East, Luke Marshall, George Smith