26.07.2008 @ 15:00 The Recreation Ground
3 - 1
Referee: M Stewart
Grays impress again as Addicks are beaten
Grays' pre-season continued in impressive fashion with an outstanding victory against Championship side Charlton Athletic.
Grays dominated the game from the outset with what appeared to be closer to a “starting eleven” against a powerful Charlton side with six first teamers.
In the third minute, Danny Kedwell produced a rocket shot from 20 yards, which, although it went over, signalled his intent to boss the Addicks' defence.
A minute later, Adam Gross cut across to Matt Bodkin who a defender and slid the ball through to Jamie Taylor whose shot just went wide.
Both Ishmael Welsh and Matt Bodkin looked able to cut loose and get to the dead ball line at will.
In the ninth minute former Forest Green striker Stuart Fleetwood should have put Charlton ahead but headed onto the bar.
Grays came straight back with some strong runs by Welsh and another curled shot by Taylor that just went wide.
The deadlock was broken in the 11th minute when Danny Kedwell headed low from close range latching on to a great cross from Bodkin.
Grays' fluency continued apace. Gross and Rob Gier joined the attacks, Bodkin ploughed down the centre and Barry Cogan brought a clam assurance to the centre.
Charlton's attacks were sporadic but keeper Steve Arnold did well to punch away a threatening cross in the 27th minute.
Welsh was seeing more and more of the ball. Not always successfully but he is going to cause defences to expend a lot of energy. His nutmegging of Charlton’s Tunanai was particularly impressive.
Fleetwood had another chance blocked by trialist Lee Connonville. The subsequent corner was missed by everybody.
Sloppy mistakes started to puncture Grays' game but they always looked to threaten. The crowd of 331 loved Bodkin’s run in the 39th minute.
In the 42nd minute, Charlton striker Aswad Thomas had a great chance to equalise but his shot fizzed across the Grays goal.
In the 51st minute Jamie Stuart went close with a free kick. Shortly afterwards Jamie Taylor broke through from another great through ball from Adam Gross but couldn’t convert.
It took a lucky deflection in the 59th minute to beat Steven Arnold and get Charlton back in the game. Dean Sinclair was given far too much time and his speculative shot was deflected by Jamie Stuart and over Steve Arnold.
Charlton stepped up the pace.
A last ditch tackle from Gier in the 62nd minute was vital.
The game lost its momentum as substitutions came thick and fast but Grays kept going. In the 71st minute, Jamie Stuart made amends for earlier missed headers when he latched on to a Sam Sloma corner to put the Blues ahead once more.
Three minutes later, Jamie Taylor should have put it beyond doubt but chipped the ball just over the bar.
The highly entertaining game went from end to end.
Subs Steffan Bailey and Alex Campana in particular made a tremendous impression.
In the 83rd minute Jon Ashton put the game beyond doubt with another close range header from a corner.
After the game, coach Neil Smith was quietly pleased with the progress.
He said: "We are putting into practice what we are working so hard at in training. The boys can see where they are going and are gelling well."
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report
Grays Starting Lineup:
Charlton Athletic Starting Lineup