Romford vs Grays Athletic - Esssex Senior Cup - Match Report 10.1.18
by Charlie Skinner
Grays travelled to Thurrock’s Ship Lane on Wednesday evening for their quarter final tie of the Essex Senior Cup against an in-form Romford FC for the prize of a visit to big spenders, Billericay Town, in the semi-final. The Blues came into the game after a good point away at Heybridge Swifts at the weekend but in the previous fixture, lost to their opponents Romford 2-1 at Parkside.
After an early spell of pressure from Grays, they were awarded a free kick from around 30 yards out. A floated delivery from Glenn Poole was connected with at the back post by Jack Fowler but his powerful header across the goal was well saved by Romford keeper, James May. Subsequently, Romford’s counter attack effort ended up being crossed into the box towards Connor Hammond. The striker stayed composed, rounded Joe Bruce and slotted past Lamar Johnson in goal from the centre of the penalty box to open the lead just seven minutes into the game.
Despite their deficit, Athletic continued to pressure the Romford goal with Poole’s free kick just drifting wide and Kieran Bishop’s effort being blocked after rounding the outrushing goalkeeper. The half drew to a close after an Ade Cole cutback fell to Bishop on the edge of the box but his low drilled shot was tipped past the right hand post by May in goal.
The second half began hectically with a series of decent chances for Grays. Firstly, an excellent weaving run from Cole saw him cut in, deceiving the defender, and firing a strong shot that was parried by the keeper. The rebound fell straight to Barry Cogan, just six yards out, but a Romford defender importantly blocked the shot off the line. Just minutes later, good work from Bishop allowed him to lay the ball into Poole on the left edge of the box, although, his expertly struck shot was equalled by an outstretched May who got a firm hand to stop the ball from entering the top right corner of his goal.
Regardless of their continued possession and attempts on goal, the Blues still couldn’t find that all important goal. Another chance from a Bishop cross found the unlikely figure of Bruce in the box. The centre half got in front of his marker yet volleyed just wide from close range at the near post. As the game drew to a close with no real impact being made with by either side’s substitutes, Romford had an excellent chance to extend their lead following a swift move. After a neat cutback from the right flank found Olakunle Giwa, his dragged shot looked as though it was going into the bottom corner but bounced off the post into the grateful hands of Johnson in goal. Romford’s absorption of pressure and one fatal counter attack had finally paid off as the final whistle sounded to book their place to face Billericay in the semi-final.
A disappointing exit from the Essex Senior Cup leaves Jamie Stuart’s men with just the league to focus on with AFC Sudbury next up at Parkside on Saturday as the Blues will look to bounce back from the defeat, find a first win of 2018 and continue to push for a play-off spot.