Grays come from behind to beat Sohm Town 2-1 in difficult conditions
Grays fight through blizzard to see off Soham Town 2-1 and go level with Maldon & Tiptree at the top of the league.
In the only game to survive the weather in our league at the weekend, goals from Joe Sweeney and Jack West were enough for Grays to come from behind and win 2-1 in torrid conditions.
The game started slowly as players struggled with footing and the driving snow with a couple of corners for each side the only thing of note to come out of the first ten minutes.
The first chance of the game came in the 14th minute as Robbie Mason was played through on goal but his shot from the edge of the area was saved by the feet of Lamar Johnson who came off his line quickly to close down the shot.
It was not long however until the home side took the lead, as in the 18th minute a cross from the left was not dealt with by the Grays defence with the ball only being cleared to the edge of the area. Neil Andrews timed his run perfectly to meet the ball on the half volley before rifling home into the bottom corner of the net before Lamar Johnson could move in the Grays goal.
This was the first time Grays had been behind in a game since the 8th January away to Barking in the Essex Senior Cup.
Grays did not panic and continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, which eventually came on the half hour mark.
A corner from the right by Kenny Beaney was flicked on at the near post by Junior Baker and Joe Sweeney reacted quickest at the back post to nod the ball home to the delight of the usual large contingent of away fans.
Soham came close to retaking the lead in the 35th minute as James McCabe shot from the edge of the area but Lamar Johnson was on hand to tip the ball over the bar.
With the sides trading efforts, it was Grays who threatened next. A corner in the 39th minute from the left by Danny Bunce was headed towards the corner of the net by Joao Carlos but was cleared off the line with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
The half time whistle went as the snow continued to fall and the pitch got heavier and harder to play on.
Grays took the lead in the 49th minute with a helping hand from the weather conditions.
A Lee Flynn free kick from the right hand side was fired towards goal which Daniel Bircham claimed low down and as he tried to get up off the ground, the ball slipped through his gloves leaving Jack West the simple task to tap into the empty net.
Grays had the chance to extend their lead on the hour mark as Jack West played Joao Carlos through on goal but as he approached the area a well-timed tackle stole the ball away as he was poised to shoot.
Soham struggled to hand the conditions with the pitch cutting up badly and playing into the driving snow.
The did create a chance in the 73rd minute as Callum Stewart found space on the corner of the area for a shot, but it was straight at Lamar Johnson who saved easily.
The away side again had a chance to extend their lead in the 82nd minute as Danny Bunce picked up a loose ball twenty yards from goal and unleashed a powerful shot. Daniel Bircham did well the tip the ball over the bar for a corner which came to nothing.
Grays were almost made to pay for their missed opportunities in the 84th minute as Buster Harradine found space on the left wing to play in substitute James Hall on the left side of the area. As Lamar Johnson came out to narrow the angle, Hall lifted the ball over the keeper towards goal but Junior Baker appeared of the nowhere to head the ball off the line for a corner.
Joao Carlos had another chance to get on the score sheet in injury time as he worked his way through the Soham defence to the edge of the area but his shot was well saved by Daniel Bircham.
The referee blew for full time shortly after to draw Grays level on points with Maldon & Tiptree, still with two games in hand.
Grays Athletic: Lamar Johnson, Craig Pope, Junior Baker, Ryan Kirby, Lee Flynn, Danny Bunce, Kenny Beaney, Leon Lalite, Joao Carlos, Joe Sweeney (Brian Moses 90), Jack West
Unused Subs: David East, Luke Marshall, Daniel Subuola, Kris Newby