Eastwood rumours amid Athletics’ win
Grays got back into the winning habit on Saturday despite ongoing rumours of their star striker Freddy Eastwood.
The 19-year-old former Hammer is at the centre of speculation surrounding his long term future at the club.
Blues – who looked to have lost some confidence in recent weeks – were back with a bang and thumped Basingstoke 3-1 at The Rec.
Opening efforts from Stuart Thurgood and the talented youngster Lloyd Opara kept visiting goalkeeper Scott Tarr occupied and the Leroy Griffiths – given his marching orders last week – came close.
Eddie Youds had several shots on goal towards the end of the half, but a mixture of luck and good keeping thwarted the big defender’s attempts.
In the second period Grays continued to apply almost all of the pressure although Basingstoke did have a couple of attempts against the run of play.
With Grays still not ahead Mark Stimson took the opportunity to change things in an effort to get the breakthrough that Grays needed.
Blues boss Mark Stimson brought on Eastwood and Ellis Remy for Lloyd Opara and Danny Hayzelden, and the change looked to have a magical effect on Blues fortunes.
First Remy tricked his way along the sideline, and weighted a perfect ball to Stuart Thurgood who made contact leaving the Basingstoke keeper without a chance.
Cristian Lewis nearly pulled one back with a curling shot, but in the end it was Eastwood who put a smile on the faces of most of the 270 fans at The Rec.
The club’s runaway goal scorer gave Blues the advantage from a free kick after Mark Paterson had been penalised for a late challenge on Wes Daly.
Basingstoke’s Levis headed in the visitors only goal leaving Capleton wrong-footed and late.
But the killer blow for Grays came again from Eastwood – although this time the 19-year-old made the goal for Martin Carthy rather than scoring himself. Carthy turned the ball in to register a scrappy goal and despatch Basingstoke. Blues move into fifth place.
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report