Grays needed two second half goals to see off minnows Bowers and Pitsea on Monday night as the progressed laboriously through to the fifth round of the Essex Senior Cup.
As expected Grays made 11 changes from the side that defeated Stevenage two days earlier but it was two established players, Gary Hooper and Glenn Poole, who goals settled the tie.
Blues were poor in the first half and failed to create the hatful of chances that many had anticipated but taking nothing away from Bowers whose steely determinations served to frustrate the Conference leaders.
Hooper, who was once against starting up-front, was the man who looked most likely to break the deadlock in the first period but unusually his first touch deserted him on two occasions when he found himself in behind the bowers defence.
Skipper for the night, Ade Olayinka, also went close when he headed a Glenn Poole corner just over the bar but the visitors also threatened and Stuart Fergus was unlucky to see his shot fly over the bar after good wing play on the right.
For the third time of the night Hooper failed to round impressive Bowers keeper, Matt Davis, shortly after the re-start but the deadlock was broken five minutes later through a moment of magic from Poole.
The ex-Thurrock man was teed up by Hooper on the edge of the box and unleashed a fantastic shot into the top corner that left Davis with no chance.
Bertie Brayley then contrived to spoon over the bar one of the easiest chances, you are ever likely to see when Hooper’s trickery gifted him a shot at an open goal from six yards out and then Poole followed up his own corner with a thundering drive that forced Davis into a stunning reflex save.
But the unfortunate keeper was beaten again two minutes later when Poole swung in a delightful cross and Hooper was on hand to head home.
Fergus had a chance to halve the arrears when he found space on the edge of the box but he could only drag his shot wide.
Report by Ryan Goad
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report