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10.02.2007 @ 15:00 The Abbey Stadium Crowd: 2842
Cambridge United 2 - 0 Grays Athletic
Referee: D Sheldrake Conference National-Match

Robbie Simpson (pen, 45)
Robbie Simpson (84)
Starting Line-ups
Shane Herbert
Aidan Collins
Michael Morrison
Sam Page
Jon Brady
Josh Simpson
Danny Brown
Robert Wolleaston
Gareth Jelleyman
Daniel Chillingworth
Robbie Simpson
Ashley Bayes
Jay Smith
Andy Sambrook
Jamie Stuart
Abdou El-Kholti
John Martin
Ashley Nicholls
Dean Howell
Maheta Molango
Gavin Grant
Chukki Eribenne
Wayne Purser
Charles Ademeno
Stephen Smith
Dean Hooper
Daniel Crane
Danny Knowles
Gavin Cowan
Glenn Poole
Ben Harding
Dennis Oli
Charles Ademeno -> Robert Wolleaston (66)
Dean Hooper -> Gareth Jelleyman (67)
Dennis Oli -> Chukki Eribenne (31)
Glenn Poole -> Maheta Molango (56)
Ben Harding -> Ashley Nicholls (72)
Yellow cards
Josh Simpson (39)
Dean Hooper (78)
Charles Ademeno (83)
Ashley Nicholls (44)
Dean Howell (78)
Red cards
None None
Match report | | Preview
Grays' troubled season took another turn for the worst when they were beaten by Conference relegation rivals Cambridge United, sucking them further towards the drop zone.

It is one of football's old adages that when you are at the bottom of the table you are out of luck too and never was that saying more true that at the Abbey Stadium.

For half an hour Blues looked by far the more accomplished side and seemed favourites to take all three points.

But then the bad luck started. First striker Chukki Erribene, who had looked a real threat, was forced to come off with a damaged hamstring.

Then a blatant handball in the box by U's defender Danny Brown went unpunished and to rub salt in to the wound Cambridge went up the other end and won a penalty of their own to take the lead.

Finally, their day was summed up in the final minutes when Robbie Simpson broke free to score a second for the hosts despite being a yard off side.

A deflated Justin Edinburgh said: "I felt we deserved something from the game. We created more chances, got in more crosses and had them pinned back for much of the game but couldn't find the goal.

"But we need to start winning soon because time and games are running out. It doesn't matter how we do it but we need the win".

Grays began brightly and carved out the first chance of the game just three minutes in when Ashley Nicholls sent a wicked delivery into the box which Erribene headed against the base of the post.

Cambridge looked threatening when they did get the ball forward and Simpson nearly capitalised on a rare mistake from Jamie Stuart who let the ball run past him allowing the striker a clean run at goal.

Ashley Bayes came to his captain's aid though with a smart save after Simpson had let fly from the edge of the box.

The veteran Blues stopper made an even better save minutes later when he dived at full stretch to push Aidan Collins' header away from goal.

Not to be outdone, Bayes' opposite number Shane Herbert made an equally good save to deny Grays.

Maheta Molango must have thought he had scored when he prodded Stuart's volley towards goal but Herbert somehow managed to readjust his body and claw the ball away.

Erribene was then forced off injured with Dennis Oli coming on in his place.

The change knocked Blues out of their stride but they could have gone in front had referee Darren Sheldrake spotted the hand ball by Daniel Brown from Andy Sambrook's cross.

But a moment of plain stupidity from Nicholls meant that all Grays' hardwork was undone on the brink of half time.

Simpson burst between Sambrook and Nicholls and the latter inexplicably grabbed his opponent's shirt and hauled him to the ground.

The referee pointed to the spot and Simpson picked himself up and sent Bayes the wrong way to give his side the lead.

Grays could have been level a minute later had Jon Brady not been on hand to clear just as Dean Howell looked destined to roll the ball into an empty net.

Blues struggled to get going in the second half and Edinburgh threw on Glenn Poole to shake things up.

The change had some affect as Poole fired created a wonderful chance for himself, dancing past two men in the box, but firing straight at Herbert.

Stuart then put Gavin Grant clear through with a lofted pass but the Millwall loanee lacked any real conviction and defenders were able to clear.

Howell and Abdou El-Kholti both shot wide from good positions before Grays were caught with a sucker punch.

With Blues players caught up field, Brown helped the ball through to Simpson, who despite being clearly offside, was allowed to run on to the ball and fire past Bayes to seal Cambridge's win.

Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report.