Grays gear up for barnstorming finale
Mark Stimson’s Grays have set themselves up for a potential rip-roaring end to the season thanks to their empathic victory over Bishop’s Stortford at Woodside Park on Saturday.
The weekend game matches two on-form teams. Grays are back to their best and Stortford had recently notched up wins over Hitchin Town and were third in the Ryman Premier.
The game started well with Leroy Griffiths putting Bishops keeper Micky Desborough on the rack in the early stages.
Eventually captain Martin Carthy set up Grays’ first goal, pushing a ball through from midfield to Griffiths who stretched the netting in the top left corner with a blasting shot.
On form Grays marksman Freddy Eastwood tormented the keeper but I was left to Wes Daly who crossed to Griffiths who in turn squared the ball to Chris Wild for a grass cutting shot past the luck-less keeper.
There was almost a brawl following a series of penalty claims and the mood strayed into the bad-tempered zone on a couple of occasions. Eventually the home centre-forward Alex Martin was yellow-carded for diving.
Wild again threatened in the second half, but at the other end Grays keeper Mel Capleton was tested more and finally the home side got their breakthrough with 18 minutes left on the clock.
A corner from Alex Martin fell to Grant Cooper, but in a final moment of panic it was Glenn Southam who gave Bishops hope.
’Stimmo’ realised that the home side’s desire to square the match was a danger and brought on Danny Hayzelden to replace Dean Bradshaw while Lloyd Opara came on for Eastwood.
The last few minutes were tense, but Grays left Woodside Park happy with another three points which puts Blues into fourth place.
But with Carshalton sharing 75 points and Thurrock having two games in hand the final placing should come down to who can hold their nerve in the next couple of games as the season comes to an end.
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report