Grays enjoyed a very Good Friday with this five goal thrashing of Margate that set up their Conference South championship triumph.
When they come to write the history of this memorable season Grays will be recorded as having player many tougher matches, but rarely can they have shown such a clinical approach to the match.
Struggling Margate weren’t really at the races and they might well have fallen behind in the opening exchanges but Leroy Griffiths and John Martin both spurned good chances.
And the visitors even had the temerity to threaten an opening goal on 13 minutes when Rocky Baptiste tested Ashley Bayes but the under worked Blues’ keeper was equal to the task.
Normal service was quickly resumed and on 18 minutes Grays had the opener when Griffiths produced a clinical finish after getting on the end of a through ball.
And within eight minutes Grays had a second when young Gary Hooper etched another landmark on his memorable season by crashing home Mitchell Cole’s throw.
Margate were defending stoutly, but threatened little and there was no real surprise when Tony Battersby made it three just before the break, rising high to head the ball across the goal into the net from Dean Brennan’s angled free-kick cross.
If Margate had any sort of game plan to wrest back the advantage, it was all messed up just three minutes into the second half when John Martin headed home from another fee-kick, this time knocked in by Cole.
Griffiths, who has been in outstanding form in recent weeks, wrapped things up a couple minutes later when he setup Cole for a rasping drive.
It was Grays’ 100th goal of the season and the only surprise was that the Blues weren’t able to add to their tally, though they had several more fine efforts as Margate continued to back-pedal.
It was an emphatic victory and one that was made all more important when Cambridge City were beaten 24 hours later to confirm the title for Mark Stimson’s side.
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the report.