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09.10.2007 @ 19:45 The Recreation Ground Crowd: 779
Grays Athletic 0 - 2 Weymouth
Referee: I Cooper Conference National-Match

None James Coutts (51)
Jefferson Louis (68)
Starting Line-ups
Ross Flitney
Adam Gross
Jamie Stuart
Jon Ashton
Karl Murray
Charley Hearn
Ernie Cooksey
Stuart Thurgood
Aaron O'Connor
Danny Kedwell
Gavin Grant
John Stewart
Scott Doe
Ashley Vickers
Justin Roberts
Narada Bernard
Nick Crittenden
Paolo Vernazza
Anton Robinson
James Coutts
Jefferson Louis
Gavin McCallum
Danny Knowles
Jack Haverson
Mark Marshall
Ben Watson
James Lawson
Stuart Douglas
Stuart Beavon
Jason Matthews
Conal Platt
Danny Phillips
James Lawson -> Gavin Grant (63)
Ben Watson -> Aaron O'Connor (66)
Mark Marshall -> Ernie Cooksey (81)
Stuart Douglas -> Jefferson Louis (83)
Stuart Beavon -> Gavin McCallum (86)
Yellow cards
Karl Murray (3)
Jon Ashton (82)
Gavin McCallum (79)
John Stewart (85)
Red cards
None None
Match report | | Preview

Jon Ashton in the air with Jefferson Louis.
Pictures from the match
As it was against York and Stevenage, so it was against Weymouth as Grays' season lurched into the crisis zone with Tuesday's Blue Square Premier defeat.

After the game, Justin Edinburgh spent over 45 minutes in the dressing room with chairman Mick Woodward. Voices were clearly raised.

Ironically, the first half was completely dominated by Grays. They came out with a positive 4-3-3 formation that immediately adapted to the sodden conditions and they were committed to a dynamic and varied attack.

Grays had two triangles working, in the front and middle, but the most effective form of attack was giving Gavin Grant the ball.

In the ninth minute, Ernie Cooksey combined well with Stuart Thurgood to find himself in space but his left foot shot whistled wide.

advertisementCooksey proved throughout the half with his tireless play that he flourishes when given responsibility.

Grays' best chance of the half came in the 11th minute when Gavin Grant turned his marker just inside the half.

He galloped to the edge of area, leaving Weymouth defenders in his wake, but his shot trailed across the area.

That was to be the theme of the whole match. Roll out the barn door metaphor but as the game wore on it became clear that Grays' strikers have, for some reason, an attack of the yips.

Weymouth didn't panic. Undefeated for two games and unchanged for the first time, they looked comfortable and assertive on the ball.

Jefferson Louis and Gavin McCallum in particular combined well up front.

But any team is going to start gaining in confidence when, time after time, the opposition miss.

Aaron O'Connor positioned himself into space in the 12th minute but the shot was straight at the keeper.

Next minute, Grant blasted straight over following a clever header from Danny Kedwell.

The fans, a measly 779 kept the faith and implored their team to keep trying.

Stuart Thurgood and Charley Hearn worked quietly and effectively in midfield and Thurgood in particular was able to turn the tide of play a cross the field at will.

Two weak penalty claims came and Grays continued to probe from each angle while Adam Gross wasted a series of free kicks. And Karl Murray sent over a number of probing crosses but nothing was happening.

Ross Flitney was completely untroubled at the other end and the defence, with Jamie Stuart back after hsi three match suspension, remained its reliable self but the belief was starting to drain away.

The deadlock was broken in the 50th minute in what must have been the Terras' first credible attack. James Coutts ghosted round the back of Grays defence to meet a cross on the half volley and shoot above Flitney and into the net.

Weymouth were ecstatic but you could see the life drain from the Blues.

Grant had another opportunity immediately but shot woefully wide. The team started to lose their rhythm and the midfield found it hard to drill balls through to players they knew were going to miss. O'Connor looked haunted though Kedwell kept trying and never gave up.

The game was all over in the 63rd minute when Louis, completely unmarked slammed a free header into the back of the net. Grays had made a competent but tentative team look better than they were.

The crowd were silent and Edinburgh seemed bereft. He tried to keep his team going but as a functioning unit they had gone. In the closing stages the fans drifted away apart from a few stalwarts.

It could have been worse but Flitney pulled off a spectacular save from a Coutts 40 yard strike.

Weymouth kept going. They had displayed a tremendous work ethic but in truth they should have been down 3-0 at half time.

The game was encapsulated in the the 94th minute when Kedwell chested the ball down but his sweet shot hit the post.

The referee blew. A few fans tried to boo but most traipsed out. Winter, in many ways had just set in.

The conundrum is that their team hadn't played badly but they just couldn't understand how the players could be so profligate in front of goal.

An hour after the final whistle, Justin Edinburgh, reflected on the game and the situation.

He said: "This is tough. You always want the best. We went out there with a positive formation and had so many chances.

"Players who have proven their worth at this level and scored for fun last year, just don't seem to be able to do it.

"It is all about belief. At any level, you must believe in yourself."

Edinburgh would not be drawn on the conversation between himself and his chairman while Grays now have a week off to regroup and consider their next move.

Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report