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22.04.2008 @ 19:45 The Recreation Ground Crowd: 507
Grays Athletic 1 - 1 Salisbury City
Referee: M Stewart Conference National-Match

Danny Kedwell (4)
Timothy Bond (27)
Starting Line-ups
Danny Knowles
Adam Gross
Jamie Stuart
Jon Ashton
Cameron Mawer
Simon Downer
Barry Cogan
Marlon Patterson
Stuart Thurgood
Danny Kedwell
Jeff Goulding
Ryan Clarke
Jonathan Bass
Aaron Cook
Timothy Bond
Matthew Robinson
Wayne Turk
Ian Herring
Darrell Clarke
Liam Feeney
Robert Sinclair
Matt Tubbs
Jake Whincup
Andy Sambrook
Neil McCafferty
Aaron O'Connor
Scott Taylor
Nicolas Eastham
Marvin Brown
Jamie Barron
Craig Richards
James Bittner
Neil McCafferty -> Jon Ashton (46)
Scott Taylor -> Jeff Goulding (54)
Aaron O'Connor -> Marlon Patterson (66)
Marvin Brown -> Darrell Clarke (81)
Craig Richards -> Ian Herring (90)
Yellow cards
None Matthew Robinson (28)
Aaron Cook (59)
Wayne Turk (68)
Red cards
None None
Match report |

Grays have the edge but can't capitalise

With both sides stuck in mid-table and with little to play for, this was not surprisingly an underwhelming Blue Square Premier encounter that did little to thrill the 507 hardy souls who turned out to watch.

Tuesday evening's match saw the return to the New Rec of home keeper Danny Knowles, recalled earlier in the day from his loan spell at Fisher Athletic because of season-ending injuries to Ross Flitney and Nicky Eyre.

Grays made the best possible start with a goal after just four minutes when a slick passing move ended with a left wing cross that Danny Kedwell headed firmly back across goal past stranded keeper Ryan Clarke.

Grays made much of the early running, playing at a high tempo with Marlon Patterson and Barry Cogan getting a lot of joy down the flanks and Jeff Goulding dominating aerially.

However, Salisbury did pose a threat, particularly through long balls over the top with Matthew Tubbs and Liam Feeney proving willing runners and the long throws of Jonathan Bass and Ian Herring causing the Grays backline some concern.

Grays had a series of half chances with Kedwell and Stuart Thurgood shooting tamely at the keeper when well-paced.

They were misses to be rued when another long throw ended in Grays conceding a corner which provided Salisbury with their 27th minute equaliser. Timothy Bond lost his marker, who appeared to slip in a packed area, before planting a firm header into the roof of the net.

The frenetic pace of the game was calmed after a five minute stoppage for two blood injuries to goalscorer Bond and keeper Ryan Clark, who clashed in their own area under pressure from Golding, and there was little further incident to half time.

Grays made a change at the break, replacing Jon Ashton with Neil McCafferty.

If the opening to the first half was frenetic, the opening to the second was anything but.

Both teams struggled to impose themselves with long balls the order of the day.

As the half developed Grays began to assert some control.

Aaron O'Connor, who had replaced Patterson just after hour mark, looked lively and creative when he came on.

On 68 minutes a long Thurgood free-kick found its way through the Salisbury line but Kedwell poked wide with the goal at his mercy.

A minute later Kedwell took advantage of Tim Bond's missed header to race clear. He rounded the keeper but Bond recovered to block the goal-bound shot.

Grays were marginally the dominant force and when Salisbury once again failed to clear their line effectively the ball dropped to Thurgood who attempted a speculative lob that appeared to be going well wide only for Clarke to spill the ball attempting a spectacular diving catch and he was grateful his defenders scrambled the ball away.

Perhaps Grays' best chance of the half fell to Barry Cogan on 77 minute when he found himself in space on the penalty spot but his stabbed effort was pushed wide by Clarke.

After that the game drifted to its conclusion with neither side looking likely to break the deadlock.

Report by Richard Speight
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report