GAFC 0 - 1 Whitehawk
Grays slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home on Tuesday against Whitehawk in the 2nd Qualifying Round Replay in the FA Trophy.
The game started much the same as the first tie at Whitehawk with both teams looking to ensure they didn’t concede rather than looking for a goal.
In the 11th minute, a Whitehawk striker pick the ball up in midfield and ran unchallenged through the Grays defence but his shot bounced off the base of the near post and out for a goal kick.
Grays first chance came in the 20th minute as Jack West headed the ball down to Luke Marshall on the edge of the area, but his snap shot went high over the bar.
The final chance of a first half that lacked fluidity courtesy of the referee fell to Joao Carlos as he collected a loose pass on the edge of the area but again his shot went harmlessly over the bar.
The decisive moment of the game came in the first minute of the second half as Grays failed to deal with a cross from the right hand side and as the ball was delivered again from the left James Fraser found space in the area to head the ball unchallenged into the bottom corner to give Whitehawk the lead.
Grays made two substitutions mid-way through the second half, replacing Luke Marshall and Jake Hall with Dan Fry and Brian Moses.
Grays should have been level on 76 minutes as a free kick from Lee Flynn was swung into the back post where Joao Carlos ghosted in unmarked to meet the ball, however, his shot from a yard somehow cleared the bar when it was easier to score.
In the 86th minute Grays made their final substitution as they replaced Jack West with Junior Baker, who played up front alongside Brian Moses.
Lee Flynn came close to forcing extra time in the 87th minute as Carlos played him in down the left hand side but his fierce shot went inches over the angle of the bar and post for a goal kick.
The final whistle brought the end of a miserable and easily forgettable game that was more about the referee rather than the two teams, having showed eight yellow cards in a game without one meaningful challenge.
Grays now return to league action on Saturday as they travel to leaders Maldon & Tiptree who have yet to lose this season.
Grays Athletic: George Kamurasi, Craig Pope, David East, Ryan Kirby, Lee Flynn, Luke Marshall (Dan Fry 58), Leon Lalite, Kenny Beaney, Jake Hall (Brian Moses 70), Joao Carlos, Jack West (Junior Baker 86)
Unused Subs: Grant Cooper, Tyrone Scarlett