One chance, one goal, three points. Grays 1-0 victory at York City could be a vital catalyst for the season as they fight their way out of relegation.
What this game will be most remembered for (no not him) is the return of the Ashton-Stuart partnership.
Jon Ashton was imperious. His timing, decision-making and commitment were faultless which essentially meant that Jamie Stuart could concentrate on his own game which he played superbly.
York began brightly, forcing early corners with the darting Russell looking particularly dangerous.
With a new partnership in Wes Thomas and Jamie Slabber up front, they found supply rather sparse with the midfield totally incapable of retaining possession or passing to each other.
The key work was at the back. Fabian Wilnis was fragile at times but used his experience well. David Button was profligate, coming out of his area on numerous occasions and putting the team at risk.
In the 14th minute, Wilnis headed off the line after a Button gaffe. Two minutes later Button made two excellent finger tip saves from Craig Farrell's free kicks.
From a creative perspective, both teams were awful. This was turning into the worst game of football this reporter had seen in a long time, but it was all about the result
In the 25th minute, Andre McCollins went on a stumbleathon but managed to get the ball to Sam sloma on the right. He whipped the ball in to Jamie Slabber who from the far post nodded it in the direction of Wes Thomas who blasted it into the net.
York tried to apply the pressure but the Grays' defence were very comfortable. The fact is that York, under new manager Martin Foyle, were a shadow of the team that beat Grays last year. The fans booed the team off at half time.
The trouble is, York, like a few others, have delusions of grandeur. It’s not what you should be, it is what you are. In many ways, they are not that far from Farsley Celtic.
York’s Adam Smith came on after the break as they believed that the Batt and McCollins pairing was fragile. They were right. The selection of McCollins on the left side was bewildering. The dropping of Ishmael Welsh has yet to be explained.
McCollins was totally out of position, made little impact and when there were opportunities to fly down the wing, jogged in an apathetic manner that was an insult to the shirt and to the loyal away support.
York had a half hearted appeal for a penalty turned down on 46 minutes and a goal disallowed on 76 when Daniel McBreen obstructed David Button.
Grays had opportunities to break, but the unfit Thomas and Slabber - as well as the midfield - seemed bereft of bite and ideas when they got into the box.
The defence stood firm and the crucial three points were won. The team realised how important this was and could be a key springboard for the season.
Alternatively, it could be a papering over of the cracks unless the midfield learn to keep the ball, Thurgood comes off the witness protection scheme and brings his game and Thomas and Slabber form a proper partnership.
The praise is reserved for the heroic Jon Ashton who could single handedly save this team.
Report by Michael Casey
Thanks to Your Thurrock for the match report