12.01.2008 @ 15:00 KitKat Crescent
1 - 1
Referee: J Gooling
FA Trophy / 2nd Round-Match
Controversial late penalty denies Grays Trophy victory at York
A hotly disputed penalty denied Grays a deserved win in a turgid 1-1 draw in the FA Carlsberg Trophy second round on Saturday.
York went into the game on a nine game unbeaten run but from the off they looked like a side devoid of ideas and strangely short on confidence.
Early on it looked as if the Minstermen's formation would overrun Grays with wing-backs Anthony Lloyd and Ben Purkiss joining the attack and being given acres of space but Grays defence were stifling them at every turn.
In the eighth minute York midfielder Nicky Wroe found space to shoot from just inside the box but his shot flew just past debutant keeper David Button's left post.
Grays' obdurate defending with key support from Karl Murray and especially Michael Standing putting in a real shift, was impressive and York soon started to look like a fearful team.
Keeper Tom Evans made a hash of a series of pass backs and they soon realised that there is a huge difference between a string of victories against the lower teams and meeting a resilient Grays.
The front three continued to work feverishly but half chances for Aaron O'Connor in the ninth and 23rd minute and Danny Kedwell in the 11th were the nearest they came.
York looked bereft of ideas and the crowd started to forget to boo Jamie Stuart and began to berate their own team.
Grays worked hard. In the 36th minute, Murray spoilt another attack as he dispossessed Craig Farrell and played it back to Button. Minutes later, he joined the attack and had an overhead kick saved by the York keeper. It was symptomatic of an excellent committed display by Murray.
York came out of their blocks in the second half with close chances in the 46th minute. In the 47th minute Onome Sodje broke through but hit the ball point blank at the assured Button.
The corners came thick and fast but Button was a towering presence in goal and showed what a prospect he is for the future.
The gaps started to open up and Alan Power came more in to the game. He had seemed frustrated for much of the game and seemed to be inhibited by the lack of width in the team's formation but his 57th minute shot that flew wide seemed to boost his game.
The deadlock was broken in the 61st minute.
Standing seized upon a mistake by York's midfield. Andy Sambrook flew down the right flank and fired the ball across the area to O'Connor on the far side. His close range shot was deflected and put Grays into the lead to the delight of the players and the 55 traveling Blues fans.
It was no less than Grays deserved. The team were working hard and looked likely to get another of the typical 1-0 wins they had carved out in the last few months.
A Standing free kick went close moments after.
O'Connor limped off to be replaced by Colin Daniel who looked a little lost in the formation.
York continued to press. In the 73rd minute the ball swung out to Ben Purkiss on the right. He put a low curving cross into the box. Craig Farrell was challenged by Jamie Stuart, he fell and the referee Mr Jake Collin immediately pointed to the spot.
The Grays players appealed but to no avail. Farrell stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake as he blasted the ball down the centre to equalise and earn a replay at the New Rec on Tuesday.
Grays kept to their task but Stuart was clearly and understandably rattled as he made a series of mistakes. Fortunately Button was in fine form and made one particularly fine point blank save from Sodje.
York were desperate to seal the game but couldn't get past Button. Panther tried an overhead kick but the keeper's positioning was superb as two goalmouth scrambles in the dying minutes caused panic in heart of the Grays defence but came to nothing.
When the full time whistle blew Grays boss Justin Edinburgh made a beeline for the referee questioning him regarding the penalty.
York boss Colin Walker understood his frustration. He said: "I'm not sure if that was a penalty but either way we are delighted to have another chance.
"All praise to Grays. They stifled us and we couldn't get going. Tuesday's another chance."
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report