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14.04.2007 @ 15:00 The Pirelli Stadium Crowd: 1419
Burton Albion 3 - 0 Grays Athletic
Referee: C Pawson Conference National-Match

Goalscorers
Aaron Webster (22)
Daryl Clare (29)
Aaron Webster (90 pen)
None
Starting Line-ups
Kevin Poole
Darren Tinson
Ryan Austin
Aaron Webster
Daniel Holmes
Paul Carden
Keith Gilroy
Andrew Corbett
Alex Nicholls
Daryl Clare
Andy Ducros
Danny Knowles
Andy Sambrook
Jamie Stuart
Simon Downer
Anthony Tonkin
John Martin
Ashley Nicholls
Stuart Thurgood
Dennis Oli
Aaron O'Connor
Alex Rhodes
Substitutes
Terry Henshaw
Martin Taylor
Marc Goodfellow
Shaun Harrad
Jon Shaw
Ashley Bayes
Anthony Barness
Ben Harding
Matt Bodkin
Pierre Joseph-Dubois
Substitutions
Marc Goodfellow -> Alex Nicholls (60)
Shaun Harrad -> Andy Ducros (66)
Jon Shaw -> Daryl Clare (73)
Matt Bodkin -> Alex Rhodes (78)
Yellow cards
Daniel Holmes (15)
Alex Nicholls (53)
Simon Downer (80)
Andy Sambrook (85)
Red cards
None Anthony Tonkin (90)
Match report |
Grays Athletic dropped back into the bottom four of the Nationwide Conference as they fell to against play-off chasers Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.

And for the second Grays match in a row there was late red card drama.

This time defender Anthony Tonkin was sent-off in stoppage time for a professional foul on Brewers' substitute Shaun Harrad with manager Justin Edinburgh also dismissed from the touchline for his protests.

Looking to build on their Easter Monday victory against Northwich Victoria, Grays were boosted before kick-off when injury doubts Aaron O'Connor and Dennis Oli reported fit and defender Andy Sambrook was fit enough to replace Anthony Barness at right back.

Despite early Burton pressure, Grays' first serious threat on goal came as Sambrook launched the ball forward down the right in the 10th minute for O'Connor to rush beyond the Burton defence, veteran Burton keeper Kevin Poole scampering to the edge of his area to deny the striker a shot on goal.

Both sides pressed forwards in the early stages and after Jamie Stuart produced a vital interception to deny Alex Nicholls, Grays raided forward and from a Tonkin cross, Oli headed down for skipper Stuart Thurgood to blast over the crossbar.

Grays' defence was undone twice in a seven minute spell halfway through the first half, both goals coming from set pieces.

In the 22nd minute Burton winger Keith Gilroy picked himself up after being fouled on the right to swing over a free kick to the far post which found left-back Aaron Webster unmarked inside the six yard box to plant a downward header inside Danny Knowles' near post.

Webster then turned provider, heading Ryan Austin's free kick to the far post where Daryl Clare pounced to spectacularly volley home to double the home side's advantage.

Jamie Stuart headed dangerously across the Burton six yard box and then saw Poole produce another smart save as he headed goalwards from Sambrook's long throw flicked on by Oli.

O'Connor was similarly frustrated as his low shot from an acute angle was saved at the near post by Poole who even when he was beaten by the same striker's shot a minute later saw the base of his post come to the rescue.

Burton could have been three goals to the good five minutes before the break when the ball hit Tonkin on the back and fell nicely for Alex Nicholls to set up Andy Ducros for a shot which was comfortably saved by Knowles.

The lively O'Connor continued to threaten the Burton defence and straight after halftime he forced his way into the box going over under challenge, referee Craig Pawson waving away vociferous penalty appeals.

Just before the hour mark Thurgood fed Alex Rhodes for a driven cross missed by everyone in the six yard box before O'Connor raced through only to be denied by another fine save by Poole with his left hand.

The Grays threat seemed to fizzle out and Albion substitute Shaun Harrad twice went close with Knowles producing a fine save to deny a goal bound header and then the young striker firing over before bursting through in stoppage time to win the penalty that sealed Grays fate, Webster stepping up to fire home his second of the game to complete a miserable afternoon for the men from the Rec.

A clearly disappointed Edinburgh blamed his side's failure to deal with set pieces for the defeat but blasted the officials for the penalty which leaves defender Anthony Tonkin facing a suspension.

The Grays boss commented: "We got punished at both ends, we didn't take our chances and we have got caught out twice from set pieces. The penalty decision at the end looked five or ten yards offside.

"If you have incapable referees it can cost you points and players because we now have a suspension to deal with."

Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report