02.08.2008 @ 15:00 The Recreation Ground
2 - 1
West Ham United
Grays' excellent pre-season concludes with deserved win against HammersGrays finished off their pre-season preparation with a superb victory against West Ham United on Saturday in front of a crowd of 1,372 With Premiership stars Lee Bowyer and Matthew Etherington among the starting line up, Grays got just the work out they needed.
In the third minute a Bodkin corner came to nothing but showed Grays are going to be a handful at set pieces for other sides in the Blue Square Premier.
Ishmael Welsh began to terrorise Hammer Jordan Spencer forcing a number of free kicks. His run in the 16th minute was sumptuous with the cross meeting Charile Ide, who headed just wide.
Lee Bowyer orchestrated the game from midfield and Zavon Hines kept the defence busy but both teams moves tended to end in cul-de-sacs.
The coaches wanted the team to settle down into a more measured passage of play but the game became bogged down with mis-timed tackles.
A passage of passing play in the 21st minute showed enough class patience and timing to give the Academy a lesson or two. Stuart Elliott’s free kick was well held by the keeper.
At the other end Grays did well to smother a penetrative attack as Etherington with his superior pace and inswinging balls proved dangerous.
West Ham should have had a penalty in the 27th minute when Hines was brought down by Steve Arnold but referee Mr Jerden waved away claims.
A minute later Barry Cogan shot wide after a neat trick by Welsh on the edge of the box.
The game began to stretch which suited both teams. Etherington again found space in the 31st minute but his shot was well blocked by Steve Arnold.
Midfield continued to put a shift in. Matt Bodkin’s clever cover tackle symbolised the work ethic in the team Hammers started to press and in the 39th minute, the referee’s conscience got the better of him. Hines fell in the area from a Rob Gier tackle. The ref pointed to the spot and Hines got up to open the scoring.
A Bowyer-Etherington combination forced a free kick which illustrated the gulf in class but Jon Ashton did well to flick away.
On the stroke of half time Grays deservedly got their equaliser with a superb Welsh effort. He jinked past two, passed left to Ide who found Welsh again to slam the ball into the net.Welsh could be the find of the season.
Grays picked up where they left off. A blistering diagonal ball from Charlie Ide was volleyed across the goal by Bodkin. Welsh continued to walk past midfielders but Hammers sub Tony Stokes was equally producing zip up front.
A seamless move starting with a Molesley pass should have brought put a better cross from Jamie Taylor but you still felt sure this will terrify defences.
In the 59th minute Ide, growing in confidence, slid the ball past the keeper but it was cleared off the line.
Mark Molesley came on and was soon holding court with incisive killer through balls but what was also key was Cogans astute positioning.
At the other end Ashton kept the Hammers at bay.
Danny Kedwell came on to add industry and invention. His nod on in the 75th again saw Ide nipping in but the angle was too acute.
West Ham should have wrapped it up in the 82nd minute when Hines broke clear but the impressive Arnold did well to get down to his left and save.
In the 86th minute Grays had a more than fair claim for a handball and a minute later Molesley’s point blank header went straight to the keeper But in the 89th minute Ide justly scored the winner. Near to exhaustion he latched on to another superb passing move involving Steffan Bailey and Danny Kedwell. Ide had worked tirelessly but lost his marker from close range to snatch the winner.
After the game, Ide said: "I want to be in the starting eleven. I put a real shift in today and was delighted to have got the winner. The real work begins next week."
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report
Grays Starting Lineup:
West Ham United Starting Lineup
Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson