After a steady first hour, which had seen Joao Carlos score the only goal of the first half, the away side lost striker Paul Olima as he was red carded for an off-the-ball incident just after the hour. Soham went on to punish Blues’ missed first half efforts and scored three times in nine second half minutes to take all three points.
There had been several good chances in the opening half for Blues to take the lead, with Joao Carlos, Nathan Gordon and Junior Baker all having efforts saved by the keeper, but it was a ball into the area by Louis Dennis which evaded the defence, leaving Carlos the simple job of heading in from a couple of yards.
On 61 minutes, Paul Olima had won a free kick five yards outside the area, and the referee spoke to both Olima and a Soham defender. As the free kick was about to be taken, the referee once again went over to Olima, but this time showed a red card for an off-the-ball incident.
With Jean-Michel Sigere having replaced Louis Dennis, the Frenchman’s first touch took him past Gary Fisher who had come out of his area to clear. The keeper clattered into the striker and with the Grays players, management and supporters expecting a red card, only a yellow was shown.
A goalmouth scramble ended with Michael Simpson bundling the ball home, and that started nine minutes in which Blues went from being in front to 3-1 down. Scott Carter let fly from 18 yards with ten minutes left to put the home side in front.
Just two minutes later substitute Paul Jones unleashed a shot from fully 30 yards which flew into the top left of the net and left debutant Blues keeper George Kamurasi with no chance of making the save.
With time running out, Nathan Gordon waltzed through the defence to reduce the deficit, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Soham picking up their first win since Boxing Day.
Elsewhere today, the leaders Leiston won by a single goal at Brentwood Town to extend their lead at the top of the table, after second placed Enfield Town were held to a 3-3 draw at home to AFC Sudbury; that point for Sudbury saw them climb into the play-off places.
Needham Market won 4-2 at Thamesmead Town to further cement their grip on third place, whilst Harlow Town had to rely on a David Cowley equaliser to secure a point at home to Waltham Abbey. Tilbury and Redbridge played out a 1-1 draw at Chadfields which saw both clubs leapfrog the Blues.
There are five games on Tuesday evening, with another two on Wednesday, including Blues’ rearranged home fixture with Needham Market.
Full match report by Andrew Packer can be viewed here.
Isthmian League Division One North - Saturday 3rd March 2012
Brentwood Town 0 - 1 Leiston
Chatham Town 5 - 2 Ware
Enfield Town 3 - 3 AFC Sudbury
Great Wakering Rovers 0 - 0 Heybridge Swifts
Harlow Town 1 - 1 Waltham Abbey
Ilford 3 - 2 Cheshunt
Maldon & Tiptree 0 - 3 Potters Bar Town
Romford 2 - 0 Waltham Forest
Soham Town Rangers 3 - 2 Grays Athletic
Thamesmead Town 2 - 4 Needham Market
Tilbury 1 - 1 Redbridge
Isthmian League Division One North - League Table