In bright spring sunshine Grays saw off Forest Green Rovers 2-1 at the New Rec.
Keen tackles by Slabber and Thurgood early on showed this was not going to be any tepid dead rubber.
The majority of Rover’s attacks came through dangerous central midfielder Conal Platt as it seemed just a matter of time before BSP top scorer got in and he nearly did in the 12th minute but was thwarted in the area by Lee Butcher.
At the other end Slabber was working hard but Black and Thurgood kept making too many unforced errors.
In the 14th minute, Barry Cogan went close when from six yard sout he dug the ball from under his feet but his shot was well saved by former Don’s keeper Terry Brown while two minutes later Tommy Black’s well aimed cross into the box couldn’t find a Blue shirt.
Grays kept the pressure up with some neat one touch play
Fabian, in his final game in professional football brought a hundred Ipswich supporters and a masterclass in defending that saw him grace NAC Breda, De Graafschap and Ipswich Town
All the good work was undone in the 24th minute when Stuart Thurgood inexplicably stuck a hand out in the box. Referee Creighton pointed to the box and Andy Mangan, as predicted, made no mistake.
Grays were playing really well but with only one real attacker lacked real penetration but that didn’t stop Slabber from trying and his exquisite turn and shot achingly crept past Brown’s goal.
Barry Cogan should have scored form the kick off. His mazy run saw him in the box with just the leeper to beat but he could only find the side netting. The talented Irishman went close again three minutes later.
In the 55th minute, George Beavan thought he was on to repeat tuesdays performance when a neat one two in the box saw him hit the side netting. Worse was to come when Barry Cogan missed from approximately one yard out.
Rovers should have put the game beyond doubt in the 63rd minute when a Jamie Stuart mistake left sub Marcus Palmer with just Lee Butcher to beat but his subtle chip hit the post.
In the 68th minute, Stuart Thurgood bulldozed Grays back into the game,taking the ball from thirty yards and wouldn’t take no for an answer as the ball pinged past thim until he was clear from six yards to blast it past the keeper
Then just a minute later Grays took the lead as a Tommy Black broke free down the right, spotted Tyrone Berry on the far post and the sub made no mistake in finding the net.
For the second time this season, Tyrone Berry lasted five minutes.
The rest of the game was played petered out as both teams, with all subs on, struggled to find a rhythm but the three sets of supporters didn’t seem to mind.
Report by Michael Casey
Thanks to Your Thurrock for the match report