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GRAYS ATHLETIC 1st TEAM - Match centre

Bowers & Pitsea
Grays Athletic
Tue 19 Sep 19:45 - The Velocity Trophy 17-18 Full time Attendance 113

High Speed Blues Win Through in Velocity Trophy

A hard working team performance saw Blues exact revenge for last week's league reverse over Bowers and Pitsea writes The Mariner.

What a difference a week makes after a below par defeat at Bowers and Pitsea just seven days ago. Blues produced probably one of their most comprehensive displays under the stewardship of Jamie Stuart to progress into the next round of the curiously named Velocity League Trophy. Every player contributed to this win giving one hundred percent effort particularly in the first period when they could quite easily have gone in more than two goals to the good. The win was all the more satisfying given the unavailability of Jamie Slabber, Suley Zuhdu, Joao Carlos, Perry Dunn, Barry Cogan and James Folkes.

From the first whistle Blues were fast and committed out of the blocks fizzing the ball around and dominating the opening skirmishes so much so that in the 4th minute they went in front when Kieran Bishop intercepted a weak back pass to home keeper Chaffer and finished with aplomb.

The goal led to a period of total dominance from a Blues side who looked hungry for the ball. New signings Stan Muguo and Glenn Poole were prominent with Muguo adding real bite in midfield. Bowers found themselves hunted down and pressurised by Blues who swarmed and buzzed around their hosts but that did not prevent them from creating an opening from a deep cross to the far post where Martyn Stokes should have capitalised but blazed his shot wide of the upright.

Now in the ascendancy Blues set the tempo. Callum Ibe came close when he turned on the edge of the box and flashed a drive just over, a wicked low cross from Bishop evaded attacker and defender. At the other end Lamar Johnson had to be alert saving from a Bowers free kick.

Ibe then started a wonderful flowing move when he laid the ball inside to the muscular Muguo shrugging off a challenge he fed Poole who curled an effort that looked destined for the top corner until Chaffer produced a fine save turning the ball over.Bowers then had a rare opportunity when Sartain tried his luck from 25 yards with a fiercely struck drive which Johnson did well to claw behind for a corner.

Ade Cole was next to try his luck for Blues when he wriggled free and produced a testing cross with Chaffer saving well and then the increasingly influential Muguo barrelled forward producing a dangerous cross turned behind for a corner.

Blues capped off a polished first half performance in the dying minutes of the half when a searching ball through the heart of the Bowers defence saw Brown in on goal only to be clattered by Chaffer - a clear penalty duly dispatched with venom by Cole.

HT 0-2

After the break understandably Bowers applied early pressure and a dangerous free kick just outside Blues' box caused consternation in the visitors defence but fortunately the ball sailed wide of the post failing to find a home forward.

Blues seemed content to hold on to their two goal cushion allowing Bowers more time on the ball but marshalled by Jamie Stuart the Blues' rearguard held firm. Jack Fowler looked increasingly impressive as the game progressed and he was ably supported by a rejuvenated Ryan Mahal, and Sam Cross.

Another fluent period of interplay saw Brown produce a moment of magic when he received the ball on the edge of the box bringing the ball under control he produced a sublime strike forcing Chaffer into a tremendous one handed save to deny the Blues youngster. Brown is quickly maturing into an accomplished member of the squad and has a bright future in front of him.

So close to increasing their advantage, Blues then had a lucky escape when Bowers carved out their best chance. A raid through the heart of defence saw Cockman squander a golden opportunity when faced with only Johnson to beat his aim was wayward with the ball striking against the post and then scrambled to safety.

Blues produced a quick riposte when a Poole free kick found Bishop only to see his downward header well saved by Chaffer. Moments later Cole picked up the ball and showing aggressive attacking intent drove forward bringing another save from Chaffer. Bowers replied when Manor capitalised on losing his marker sent in a pile driver brilliantly turned behind by Johnson.

The 75th minute saw the controversial dismissal of Bishop. A tussle on the half way line saw the Blues' striker win the ball in what looked a legitimate challenge but the official thought otherwise and showed a yellow card. An incensed Bishop argued his case but was then shown a red. The sending off changed the flow of the game, Bowers now with the one man advantage began to exert real pressure but Blues' rearguard stood firm retaining their shape .

Denzil Adebiyi and Callum Thompson replaced Poole and Brown to add fresh legs to the fray as Blues continued to thwart their hosts ,a succession of corners were dealt with successfully. Johnson - although seeing more of the ball - took pressure off his defenders commanding his area on a number of occasions with sure handling.

Brown conjured up Bowers' last opportunity of the evening with a drilled low drive which Johnson again dealt with effectively. Shortly afterwards proceedings were brought to a close with Blues' fans loudly applauding what had been an effective and entertaining performance with every player applying a tremendous work ethic combined with some slick interplay.

Next up for Blues will be a third encounter this season when they travel to Hertford Town. All connected with the club will be looking to exact revenge for the FA Cup defeat .

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