A penalty two minutes from time secured a battling three points for Grays as they secured their third win in a row at Leyton this afternoon.
In the 4th minute, a curling shot from Jared Small just whistled past the Leyton post. Grays took a while to get settled as Grays adjusted to a bumpy pitch.
Stefan Cox should have opened the scoring when a wonderful through ball left him with Stuart Robinson to beat but the Blues keeper held his ground to parry the ball away.
In the 15th minute, Danny Bunce sent over a wonderful free kick that Simon Thomas just couldn’t quite latch onto.
Some of Grays players oozed class. Stephen Demetriou in particular but breaking down teams at this level requires a lot of work. The speculative shot by Jared Small in the 26th was easily gathered by keeper Paul Agu.
Fontaine and Demetriou swopped wings but to little effect. A Marvin Samuel shot just before half time again failed to trouble the keeper. Fontaine produced a marvellous curling shot that the keeper did well to parry over the bar. From the corner, Leyton did well to head the ball out of trouble.
The first meaningful attack for Grays didn’t come until the hour mark when Small did well to run round his marker, get to the dead ball line but again the keeper did well to smother the shot. A minute later, Fontaine got to the line but passed straight to a Leyton defender.
But Grays started to dominate. Demetriou was fouled on the edge of the box but Harvey’s shot again went straight at the keeper.
Grays were lucky not to concede a penalty when a Leyton attacker was upended in the box but the referee adjudged that it was just outside.
Leyton upped the aggression but it boosted their game and they nearly snatched a winner when Robinson missed a cross but luckily so did the Leyton striker.
Demetriou’s header in the 80th minute went over and luckily at the other end so did Junior Baker’s mistimed header back to Robinson.
Each time Grays attacked they looked a player light up front. However, for now, that didn’t matter as in the 88th minute, Danny Bunce marauded into the area and was tripped up by James Hammond. Bunce got up and rifled the winner past keeper Agu.
Grays withstood tremendous pressure and ill-will from a bad tempered Leyton in a fraught ten minutes of injury time to secure the three points.
A special mention must go to the Grays fans whose singing and supporting is clearly a tremendous boost for the team as they find their way in this league.
Report by Michael Casey
Thanks to Your Thurrock for the match report