Grays boss Justin Edinburgh celebrated the end of a testing week by guiding his side into the quarter finals of the FA Trophy - keeping alive Blues' dream of an unprecedented third straight triumph.
Edinburgh's preparations for this encounter with Conference South Yeading were complicated by a raft of off the field complications including the appointment and then non-appointment of Garry Hill as director of football in the space of three hours.
The Blues boss has made it quite clear he was unhappy with Hill's mooted appointment but it is not known whether that was the reason Grays chairman Mick Woodward pulled the plug on the deal just hours after it was announced.
"I could have done without it really," Edinburgh admitted. "It was a decision not made by myself. I have been brought in to manage this football club and that is what I will do. Things that happen above me are out of my hands.
"It has been a tough week but I think you could see today that I have the full backing of the players."
On top of the Garry Hill saga, Edinburgh has been frantically trying to bring in players ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline with five new faces arriving before the midnight deadline.
Two of those, Maheta Molango and Gavin Grant, made their debuts in the 2-1 victory over Yeading and both gave encouraging displays in a patchy performance from Blues.
For the first 20 minutes Yeading could not get near their opponents as Grays' superior class showed.
John Martin netted in the opening minutes and the hosts should have scored or two more before their tempo dropped and Yeading forced their way back into the game.
The Dings equalised with a controversial penalty before Martin netted again before the interval setting the holders up for victory.
They should have put the game beyond their opponents' reach in the second half but failed to turn their superiority into goals - such was the mediocrity of Yeading they could not make Blues pay for that profligacy.
Edinburgh said: "We started off really well, got in front in the first few minutes but we did not push on from there.
"It was a solid performance rather than a spectacular one but I'm happy with the result."
Edinburgh was less happy with the penalty decision that led to Yeading's goal however, saying: "It was a poor decision. I think the referee felt sorry for them. It was a poor decision but we didn't let it get us down and soon got ourselves back in front."
It was Molango who created their first goal after just 90 seconds, skipping past Ben Hudell on the right and drilling in a low cross that allowed John Martin to tap in from close range.
Martin's centre midfield partner, Ashley Nicholls then came within a whisker of doubling the advantage five minutes later when he picked up a loose ball 35 yards from goal and struck a beautiful half-volley that shaved the post.
The two new forwards then combined to set up Glenn Poole whose crisp drive forced Luke Blackmore into a smart one-handed save.
But as the half wore on Blues' pressure waned and the visitors started to get a foothold in the game.
Jeff Goulding wasted a couple of half-chances for Ding before he won a penalty just past the half hour mark.
The gangly striker forced his way into the Grays box before blazing horribly over from a good position. But Goulding's blushes were spared by referee Graham Horwood who saw Andy Sambrook crash into him after he had got his shot away and pointed to the spot.
Bobby Behzadi stepped up and sent Danny Knowles the wrong way to equalise.
Parity only lasted 10 minutes though as Blues restored their advantage with an almost identical goal to the first.
Tom Williamson won the ball in midfield and released Grant down the right.
Like Molango before him, Grant reached the byline and crossed for Martin who stabbed home from six yards.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first and Molango came close to marking his debut with a goal when he met Gavin Cowan's cross and looped a header onto the bar.
Yeading saw out the storm and Knowles had to make a finger-tip save to deny sub Marvin Morgan from heading his side a second equaliser.
The Blues' front pair, so lively in the opening exchanges, faded in the second and Molango missed an absolute sitter to kill the game off.
Cameron Mawer did all the hard work on the right, skipping past his man and standing up a beautiful cross for Molango all alone at the back post. But the recruit from Brighton somehow managed to fire wide when it looked easier to score.
Poole then blazed over after being teed up by sub Pierre Joseph-Dubois and Molanga twice tested Blackmore but, try as they might, Grays could not put the game beyond the reach of their spirited opponents.
by Ryan Goad
Thanks to theThurrock Gazette for the report