Vill Powell rates only one of his 12 goals more highly than the dramatic late point-saver at in-from Eastbourne. Grays went into the match on the back of 12 successive wins but it turned out to be unlucky 13 until Powell pounced on a loose ball and hooked in from 15 yards, scuppering Borough’s bid for an eight consecutive success.
The former Sheffield Wednesday striker said of his 89th minute strike: “As soon as it left my foot I knew it was destined for the corner. I’d say it’s second only to my winner against Hornchurch. I’m pleased with the result as we didn’t play very well but showed a lot of character to come back. It was fair enough considering the chances they had in the first half, some of them gilt-edged. They’re a very good side who’ll be thereabouts at the end of the season.”
Grays had started well and dominated the opening exchanged and home keeper Lee Hook did well to save from Leroy Griffiths and a minute later Steve West had a great opportunity when well placed on the edge of the six yard box, but blasted over the bar. However West made amends when heading Grays in front from Dean Brennan’s cross after 18 minutes, but the Blues defence was repeatedly sliced open in an extraordinary 15 minute spell before half time.
Eastbourne fought back to lead through former Brighton players Stuart Tuck (31) and Scott Ramsay (37) and could have been at least three goals further ahead but for fine keeping by Ashley Bayes and wasteful finishing.
In the second half play was more even and on 50 minutes Griffiths had a good chance from close range but sliced his shot well wide.
On the hour mark Blues made their first substitution replacing skipper Stuart Thurgood with Gary Hooper. Grays then forced a couple of corners before making two more substitutions in quick succession, bringing on Tony Battersby for Dennis Oli and then replacing West with Powell.
Although there were fewer clear-cut chances in the second half, Athletic created most of them. However they failed to find the target until the dramatic closing minutes when Powell took centre stage.
Report by Frazer Clark
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the report