Grays were totally outclassed by an impressive Luton Town as they were dumped out of the FA Cup 3-0 at Kenilworth Road.
Julian Dicks continues to be less than impressed with his charges as the team were second best for much of the game.
The first ten minutes saw one veteran, former QPR star, Kevin Gallen use all his guile to outfox Grays
In the 3rd minute, Gallen found space and shoot forcing a fine save from Preston Edwards.
In the 9th minute the ball pinballed in the area. Edwards did well to save from point blank but Hatters defender Shane Blackett easily tapped in from close range.
Grays looked to stretch Luton. Jamie Slabber worked tirelessly all day. He dribbled past three Luton defenders but his shot ended in the side netting.
At the other end, emergency defender Petar Rnkovic did well to stem the flow of Luton attacks.
In the 15th minute, Callum Reynolds unleashed a piledriver from 30 yards that Edwards did brilliantly to turn over the bar with one hand.
Another free Gallen header came and went as the vet started to toy with Grays.
Luton’s pace paid dividends in the 38th minute when Adam Newton flew down the right, produced a fine cross for hapless Petar Rnkovic to turn into his own net.
The Hatters started to play possession football as the half finished and were in total control for the rest of the game.
Asa Hall hit the bar in the 48th minute while Gallen went close again two minutes later. Alan Neilson got all his subs on as The Hatters started to make the game look like a practice match.
Grays dug deep: Glenn Poole found space in the box to force a fine save from Mark Tyler but weak speculative shots were the best they could muster for the rest of the game..
Callum Reynolds rose high in the 64th minute but his header just crept over but it wasn’t until the 81st minute that Luton wrapped it up when Asa Hall cooly picked his spot from outside the box to fire the ball home and Luton into the first round proper of the FA Cup.
The next two months will be the real test for Julian Dick’s stewardship of Grays Athletic.
If the team dig out a series of impressive results, whether at home where they have quite a number of games or on the long journeys away at Gateshead and Barrow, then Julian’s “speak as I find” demeanour will have been justified but if they continue to fail then he may start to be seen as part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Grays problem is in what they concede. Once again they gave away ten corners but they also have players, like Craig Braham-Barrrett who constantly give away the ball.
Preston Edwards was outstanding, Jamie Slabber worked hard and Rnkovic (as praised by Julian Dicks) did well.
The plain facts are that they have a number of Conference South standard players while a team like Luton have young players taking a step down from the league to re-energise their career)
Grays must not beat themselves up about this one. A makeshift side doing its best. The real test comes on saturday at home against Barrow. Lose that and it will be one win in fourteen.
Finally: much respect to the 124 Grays fans who never stopped shouting and supporting their team.