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29.03.2008 @ 15:00 The Recreation Ground Crowd: 853
Grays Athletic 2 - 1 Crawley Town
Referee: D Cook Conference National-Match

Danny Kedwell (pen) (76)
Danny Kedwell (pen) (84)
Jon-Paul Pitman (45)
Starting Line-ups
Nicky Eyre
Adam Gross
Jamie Stuart
Jon Ashton
Simon Downer
Barry Cogan
Stuart Thurgood
Neil McCafferty
Aaron O'Connor
Danny Kedwell
Scott Taylor
Ashley Bayes
Kieran Murphy
Jamie Stevens
James Krause
Lee Blackburn
Tyrone Thompson
Thomas Pinault
Ryan Hall
Dannie Bulman
Pierre Joseph-Dubois
Jon-Paul Pitman
Jake Whincup
Luke Woodward
Michael Standing
Jamie Taylor
Jeff Goulding
Michan Nayee
Jamie Cook
Paul Raynor
Bradley Thomas
Nicky Carter
Jamie Taylor -> Scott Taylor (46)
Jeff Goulding -> Stuart Thurgood (63)
Michael Standing -> Danny Kedwell (90)
Bradley Thomas -> Jamie Stevens (41)
Jamie Cook -> Tyrone Thompson (88)
Yellow cards
Neil McCafferty (23)
Jon Ashton (49)
Danny Kedwell (67)
Simon Downer (90)
Pierre Joseph-Dubois (11)
James Krause (82)
Ashley Bayes (86)
Red cards
None None
Match report |

Danny's the boy as Grays fight back

Blues striker Danny Kedwell netted a brace from the penalty spot and inspired his side to a second half comeback that overwhelmed Crawley Town.

Kedwell has had his critics in his debut season at Conference level but four goals in three games suggests he has now found his feet.

But it wasn't just the goals, the visiting defence had no answer to the former Welling man's powerful brand of front-running as he led the side back from a first-half deficit.

"We are beginning to see the Danny Kedwell that we knew we were getting when we signed him from Welling last summer," said Grays boss Mike Woodward.

"It took him a while to adjust to full-time football and some people were getting on his back but we are now seeing what he is capable of and he is going to be a real force for us.

"I can't wait for next season now when he will really kick-on."

Starting alone up front in a 4-5-1 formation, Kedwell started as he intended to go on battling for every ball and linking up well with Gillingham loanee Barry Cogan who also impressed.

Indeed, Cogan could have opened the scoring inside the first 60 seconds when he ghosted into the box and flashed a header from Aaron O'Connor's cross just wide.

Kedwell's endeavour created the first clear-cut chance of the game when he chased a long ball that former Grays stopper Ashley Bayes looked favourite to deal with.

The veteran stopper came rushing out of his 18-yard box but the ball held up on the sodden pitch which allowed Kedwell to steal in.

But the Blues' forward scuffed his first effort at goal and did little better with his follow-up which was deflected wide by Jamie Stevens.

Bayes' understudy for 12 months at Grays and the home side's current custodian, Nicky Eyre, did his best to match his friend's gaffe with one of his own minutes later.

Trying to prevent Jamie Stuart's back pass from going out for a corner, Eyre only succeeded in gifting the ball to Jon-Paul Pittman whose shot was blocked at the near post by Stuart.

For the remainder of the half, it was Grays forcing the issue but their play broke down in the final third meaning clear-cut chances were at a premium.

Kedwell was doing his best to occupy the Crawley backline but Cogan and O'Connor were not getting close enough to Kedwell to make Blues' 4-5-1 system a success.

And the home side were made to pay in first-half stoppage time when Pittman latched on to a long clearance up field, out-muscled and then out-paced Stuart before deftly lifting the ball over Eyre into the bottom corner.

Grays responded by introducing Jamie Taylor for his namesake Scott at the interval and switching to a 4-4-2 formation.

The change injected a bit of urgency into the home side and someone in blue really should have equalised when Downer raided down the right and put in a wonderful cross that bisected Crawley defence and goalkeeper.

But as Grays pushed for parity they left holes in defence. Crawley should have had a penalty when Pierre Joseph-Dubois was felled by Jon Ashton and while Town's management were still appealing, Pittman broke clear and blazed narrowly over.

Grays continued to huff and puff and won a flurry of corners but were frustrated by some dogged Town defending.

Jamie Taylor came tantalisingly close to levelling the scores when he tried a clever lob over Bayes but did not get enough elevation on his effort.

The hosts were finally rewarded for their pressure when Kedwell was scythed down in the box by Bradley Thomas and he stepped up to slide the penalty home himself in the 75th minute.

Ten minutes later, Kedwell's presence in the box was again too much for the visitors to handle. This time it was Stevens who hauled him down just as he looked set to play in O'Connor.

Kedwell stepped up to roll the ball into the same corner as his last penalty to secure the comeback.

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