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21.10.2006 @ 15:00 Clarence Park Crowd: 1045
St. Albans City 0 - 6 Grays Athletic
Referee: A Watts Conference National-Match

None Michael Kightly (41)
Adam Green (56)
Aaron McLean (58)
Glenn Poole (64)
Glenn Poole (65)
Michael Kightly (90)
Starting Line-ups
Paul Bastock
Damien Batt
David Theobald
Nathan Simpson
Chris Seeby
Dean Cracknell
Tom Davis
Alexis Nicolas
Warren McBean
Elliot Benyon
Paul Hakim
Ashley Bayes
Chris Plummer
Andy Sambrook
Adam Green
Jamie Stuart
John Martin
Michael Kightly
Ashley Nicholls
Glenn Poole
Dennis Oli
Aaron McLean
Duane Jackman
Lee Clarke
Matthew Hann
Ranbir Marwa
Ben Martin
Danny Knowles
Tom Williamson
Stuart Thurgood
Jamie Slabber
Lee Boylan
Ranbir Marwa -> Alexis Nicolas (46)
Matthew Hann -> Dean Cracknell (59)
Ben Martin -> Nathan Simpson (66)
Stuart Thurgood -> John Martin (71)
Jamie Slabber -> Glenn Poole (76)
Lee Boylan -> Aaron McLean (76)
Yellow cards
David Theobald (35)
Tom Davis (72)
John Martin (7)
Red cards
None None
Match report |
Grays returned to form in style on Saturday by handing out a thrashing to Conference new boys St Albans.

The storm clouds had been hovering over Frank Gray's men after a dismal run of just one win in nine games.

But in less than 10 second half minutes those clouds were blown far away as Blues netted four goals and rediscovered the sort of form that has made them one of the most feared side's in the division.

Glenn Poole enjoyed that purple patch more than most grabbing his first two goals of the season while Adam Green and Aaron McLean also cashed in.

Sandwiching that whirlwind spell, between the 56th and 65th minute, Michael Kightly scored a classy brace to take his season's tally to 10 and it wouldn't have been unjust had the visitors gone on and added a few more.

Nevertheless, six was plenty enough for Gray who admitted the win had come as a great relief to both him and his players.

"It's been frustrating a time but we have a good set of lads and players here," said Gray. "With the attitude they have all shown over the last few weeks then you know you are going to bounce back.

"The lads have known there has been a performance like this coming. We know we've got goals in the team and we have been frustrated we have not been converting the chances we have been making. Today was one of those days when everything we created we put away."

"It was important we got the win and hopefully this will put us on a winning run now.

The last time Grays visited Clarence Park they thumped the Saints 4-1 on the way to winning the Conference South title and from the outset it was clear goals would not be in short supply this time round either.

What wasn't so clear was that Blues would be the only ones weighing in as the Saints, who are no mugs and beat York City 4-2 on this ground a week earlier, gave as good as they got in the opening exchanges.

Wing man Dean Cracknell missed a great chance for the hosts inside the first five minutes when, with the Grays defence mis-judging their offside trap, Elliot Benyon picked him out but the ex-Bishop's Stortford man blazed wastefully over.

But Grays were showing plenty of attacking intent too with McLean and Kightly both testing home keeper Paul Bastock early on.

Ashley Bayes almost gifted his opponents the advantage in the 18th minute when his fumble let in Paul Hakin but Chris Plummer came to his keeper's rescue and hacked clear.

Bayes made up for his error from the ensuing kick when he made a magnificent save with his legs to prevent Dave Theobold's header from giving his side the lead.

Ex Canvey-Island Theobald went close again minutes later when he crashed his header against the bar except this time it was at the wrong end as Poole's corner caused panic among the Saints' ranks.

Kightly then couldn't get his swerving free kick up and down in time to clear the wall and nestle into the top corner.

But you could tell Kightly meant business and it was he who broke the deadlock four minutes before the interval.

The ex-Southend youngster came within a whisker from prodding Ashley Nicholls' glorious long pass past Bastock who made up the ground just in time to pinch the ball from Kightly's toes.

But Bastock undone all that good work with a painfully stupid throw-out that landed straight at the feet of Nicholls who made no mistake in picking out Kightly second time round who in turn made no mistake in slotting past the embarrassed keeper.

The second half goal-glut started nine minutes after the re-start when Dennis Oli's rampaging run from his own half was stopped by Chris Seeby only for the ball to fall for Green.

The left-back's first effort was blocked by Theobald but the return came straight back to him and he pinged the ball into the bottom corner.

McLean was the next to score when he rose highest to crash a header past Bastock from Kightly's in-swinging corner and he turned provider minutes later when he crossed for his great pal Poole who bundled home his first of the season.

Buoyed by the goal Poole wasted little time in doubling his tally of both game and season with the best goal of the game.

Picking up the ball in the inside right channel, the ex-Thurrock man danced past two Saints defenders before cutting in onto his trusty left foot and curling the ball past the despairing dive of Bastock.

Skipper Stuart Thurgood, who surprisingly started again on the bench, came on for the final 19 minutes and almost got himself on the scoresheet straight away with a free-kick that was beaten away by Bastock. Oli was denied from the rebound by the gigantic Ben Martin.

Oli blazed over another chance in the dying minutes before Kightly put the seal on the game with another clinical finish after being put clean through by sub Jamie Slabber.

By Ryan Goad
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the report.