Grays ease through in county cup
A FAST-paced display from a much-changed Grays overcome Blue Square South Braintree, managed by former East Thurrock boss Lee Patterson.
After an even start to this FansFocus.com Essex Senior Cup tie the odds turned in Grays' favour on a 14th minute dismissal when Andy Porter was red-carded after a two-footed challenge on Charley Hearn.
To their credit Braintree kept their shape and forced the game. They were rewarded in the 33rd minute with a penalty when Jack Haverson handballed in the area. Louis Riddle slammed the spot-kick home.
Grays stepped up their game with Mark Marshall particularly industrious on the right side.
And in the 39th minute they got on level terms when Hearn sent over a corner and Haverson made amends for his earlier error, soaring above the Braintree defenders to head home from close range.
The fast tempo to a match which was hotly contested and included six bookings continued in the second half with Marshall, Gavin Grant and Aaron O'Connor working triangles on the right side and new boy Jack Obersteller working well on the left.
Grant missed three clear chances and the game looked to be heading for extra time until the 87th minute when O'Connor settled the issue with a neat left-footed strike from just outside the area - much to the disgust of the verbose Patterson who had driven his side on from the sidelines and was left feeling hard done to, particularly upset by some of the refereeing decisions.
Afterwards Grays boss Justin Edinburgh said: "After a slow start it was good to see players think about the game.
"We put in a lot of crosses and raised the tempo and that paid dividends."
Report by Michael Casey
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report