Five star Hammond sets up scintillating 6-0 over AFC Sudbury
By Andrew Packer
Grays ran out impressive 6-0 winners against AFC Sudbury on Tuesday night, with Jeff Hammond scoring five, to further close the gap on league leaders Maldon & Tiptree
It took Grays less than a minute to opening the scoring as straight from the kick off Luke Marshall attacked down the right before crossing to the feet of Joe Sweeney. He played the ball back to Leon Lalite who fed the ball through to Joao Carlos, but his shot was well saved by Alex Archer in the Sudbury goal.
The resulting corner was played in low across the six yard box and found Jeff Hammond in space in front of goal for a simple tap in.
Sudbury had a chance to draw level in the 4th minute with a free kick in the centre of goal, twenty yards out, but the shot by Russell Pond was easily saved by Lamer Johnson in the Grays goal.
This turned out to be Sudbury’s only shot at goal in the first half as the home side dominated possession and looked a constant danger going forward.
In the 5th minute Grays forced four consecutive corners which eventually lead to a Junior Baker header going just wide when unmarked at the back post.
Grays doubled their lead in the 15th minute as more good work by Luke Marshall down the right saw him create space to chip a cross to the back post where Jeff Hammond was on hand to nod into the empty net for his second goal of the game.
The home side almost had a third in the 17th minute as Jeff Hammond played Joao Carlos in on the left hand side and his cross found Luke Marshall on the corner of the area. His shot was heading for the top corner but Archer did well to push the ball to safety.
The home fans didn’t have to wait much longer for the third goal as in the 25th minute the ball broke to Leon Lalite in midfield and he threaded the ball through to Jeff Hammond who was kept onside courtesy of the injured Ryan Henshaw down injured in the penalty area. Jeff Hammond made no mistake with the chance as he rounded Archer before coolly slotting the ball home for his hat-trick.
Jeff Hammond was in stunning form and could do no wrong. In the 32nd minute he chased down a long ball over the Sudbury defence. As a defender and goalkeeper hesitated to avoid a collision, Jeff Hammond stuck out a leg, deflected the ball into the empty net for his fourth goal of the night and put the result beyond doubt well before half time.
The final chance of the half came to Joe Sweeney on 38 minutes as his curling shot from the right hand corner of the area looked to be heading into the far corner, but went inches passed the post.
The second half was far more low key but Grays still controlled possession and the game with ease.
In the 49th minute, Jeff Hammond got to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Joao Carlos, but his shot went narrowly wide.
Grays grabbed their fifth goal of the night on 55 minutes, with Jeff Hammond capping a five star performance with a wonderful solo effort.
Collecting the ball on the right wing, he skipped past the Sudbury midfield and drove to the edge of the area. He cut inside a defender before firing low under Archer, much to the delight of the home fans.
The home side capped off their biggest win of the season with a sixth goal in the 66th minute as corner from the left by Joe Sweeney to the near post was flicked on by Craig Pope into the far corner of the net, to register his first goal since scoring a brace against Brentwood at the start of the season.
Grays made their three substitutions in the latter part of the half replacing Luke Marshall, Joe Sweeney and Joao Carlos with Jared Small, John Docker and Daniel Subuola respectively.
Sudbury’s only effort on goal in the second half came in the 82nd minute as a poor kick out by Lamar Johnson from the edge of his area found Russell Pond on the half way line but his speculative effort was well wide of goal.
The final whistle was met by rapturous applause from the stands as Grays continue to close the gap on Maldon & Tiptree at the top of the table.
Grays Athletic: Lamar Johnson, Craig Pope, Junior Baker, Ryan Kirby, Danny Bunce, Luke Marshall (Jared Small 67), Kenny Beaney, Leon Lalite, Joao Carlos (Daniel Subuola 78), Joe Sweeney (John Docker 74), Jeff Hammond
Unused Subs: Haydn Dodge, Jack West