Home Players Matches Opponents Players List Search Records
Change:  Move to:
28.04.2007 @ 15:00 Christie Park Crowd: 2303
Morecambe 1 - 0 Grays Athletic
Referee: S Cummins (Runcorn) Conference National-Match

Paul Lloyd (2) None
Starting Line-ups
Steven Drench
Adam Yates
Jim Bentley
Danny Adams
Chris Blackburn
Paul Lloyd
Craig Stanley
Neil Sorvel
Michael Twiss
Wayne Curtis
Danny Carlton
Danny Knowles
Andy Sambrook
Jamie Stuart
Simon Downer
Anthony Tonkin
John Martin
Ashley Nicholls
Stuart Thurgood
Dennis Oli
Aaron O'Connor
Matt Bodkin
Scott Davies
Michael Howard
Ged Brannan
Jamie Burns
David McNiven
Ashley Bayes
Anthony Barness
Ben Harding
Alex Rhodes
Leroy Griffiths
Ged Brannan -> Jim Bentley (46)
Jamie Burns -> Paul Lloyd (67)
David McNiven -> Michael Twiss (84)
Leroy Griffiths -> Matt Bodkin (55)
Alex Rhodes -> Dennis Oli (78)
Ben Harding -> Ashley Nicholls (84)
Yellow cards
Danny Carlton (19)
Chris Blackburn (46)
Red cards
None None
Match report |
In the end Grays had to rely on others to save them, but all that matters to Blues fans is that they have survived to fight another day in the Conference even though they lost at Christie Park.

Although the Blues conceded a clumsy goal in the first minute of the game, for much of the match they proved that they were worthy of the tag that has haunted them all year of "Too good to go down."

Fans have become used to sluggish starts away from home but even the dedicated hundred or so who travelled to the game were shocked when Paul Lloyd bundled the ball in from close range after a cross from Adam Yates.

The Blues didn't panic and under the leadership of Stuart Thurgood steadily began to establish a dominant role in the game.

In the next five minutes, Grays gained four free kicks around the Shrimpers' area but were not able to convert them into chances.

advertisementIn the eighth minute, Simon Downer missed a gilt-edged chance when he struck a half volley six yards out over the bar.

The three man midfield continued to press, with Ashley Nicholls particularly dominant. His movement, passing and commitment throughout the pitch saw Nicholls putting in one of his best performances of the year.

But Dennis Oli, Aaron O'Connor and Matt Bodkin were shackled for 90 minutes by the impressive Morecambe defence led by the eventual man of the match Chris Blackburn.

In the 22nd minute John Martin, with one of his trademark runs, was put through with just the keeper to beat but his shot was punched clear by keeper Steven Drench.

A minute later Downer had a claim for a penalty turned down after he fell in the box.

Grays continued to press and showed that if results were to conspire against them, then they were prepared to go down fighting. It became noticeable that Downer was trying to push forward at every opportunity but after 30 minutes he completely ran out of steam.

Bodkin continued to justify his place in the side with a series of searching runs on the left flank but try as they might, with nine corners in the first half, Grays simply couldn't trouble the Morecambe goal.

It was clear that Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy had strong words with his players at half time.

With 2,303 fans attending the last game of the season, he clearly sent the signal to his players that places were still up for grabs as they headed for the play offs.

With results going their way, Grays found themselves fighting a rearguard action in the second half. With Downer wilting and Andy Sambrook strangely out of sorts, Grays found chances hard to come by.

Indeed, most of the second half became something of a stalemate, with Grays unable to put the ball in channels or create chances of note.

Leroy Griffiths came on at the hour mark to try and breach the Morecambe goal. He soon made an impact, putting O'Connor through but he shot straight at the keeper.

In the 64th minute Morecambe striker Carlton broke through but Danny Knowles stood firm and blocked the shot with his legs.

In the last ten minutes, the bench started to look nervously at the stands but continued to be reassured that results elsewhere particularly at Altrincham were going their way.

When the final whistle came, Grays players were still unsure if they had escaped relegation but with Altrincham unable to break the deadlock at home to Aldershot and Forest Green beating Stafford Rangers, Blues were safe. Altrincham ultimately joined Tamworth, St Albans and Southport in the drop zone.

Once it was confirmed the players went straight over to their supporters to celebrate. To show their thanks, the Grays players shook hands with as many fans as possible and even the Morecambe fans sang "You're staying up" as the party mood took over.

By Michael Casey
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report