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Grays Athletic
Lowestoft Town
Thu 17 Apr 19:45 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 175

Grays Athletic 1 Lowestoft Town 1

Grays Athletic give Lowestoft Town a tough and testing game in a 1-1 draw, as the home side end the match with ten men.

Att 175

Grays Athletic: Kamurasi, Orome, Mbamarah, Anderson, Kirby, Wilson, Small (Dunn 68 mins), Wickham (Cruickshank 75 mins), Nouble, Benjamin, Carlos
Subs; Kwareng, Heaney, Cruickshank, Dunn, Douglas

Lowestoft Town: Jones, Williams (Jack Ainsley 22 mins), Gleeson, Haynes-Brown, Stuart Ainsley (Gaughran 63 mins), Henderson, Jarvis, Okay, Eagle, Frew (Smith 75 mins), Reed
Subs; Jack Ainsley, Gaughran, Smith, Fisk, Jessup

Grays Athletic give Lowestoft Town a tough and testing game in a 1-1 draw, as the home side end the match with ten men.

Both sides came into the match with tired legs, as games come thick and fast with season drawing to a close. Bammant was missing from the squad with a tight groin from Tuesday night and Gaughran, Smith and Jack Ainsley were rested and moved to the bench. In to the starting line-up came Gleeson, Eagle and Frew for Lowestoft.

The match got underway on a very dry surface, that was extremely hard and testing under foot.
The game was just two minutes old when great strength by Nouble allowed him to get a first time shot away but it dipped over the bar without causing Jones any trouble.
Grays were looking dangerous early on and were full of pace down the right, as right back Orome and winger Benjamin were proving a right handful for Stuart Ainsley.
It was an ominous start to the match for Lowestoft but on twelve minutes they took the lead against the run of play. Henderson was alert to win the ball off a defender on the edge of the box, before executing a delightful chip over the keeper and under the bar for 1-0 (12 mins).
The goal didn't affect the strong start by the home side though, as they continued to play some high tempo football and on fifteen minutes Benjamin burst through for what looked like being a quick equaliser but Jones made a superb save to deny him. A few minutes later a scramble ensued in the Lowestoft box and this time it looked a certain equaliser as the ball was toe-pocked towards goal. However, with the ball seeming like it had gone between the legs of Jones and about to cross the line, the Lowestoft keeper managed to somehow stop it with his feet right on the line, much to the gasping relief of the travelling contingent.
Grays were looking really sharp and with large gaps appearing between the Lowestoft midfield and defence, the home side were exposing these gaps and finding the space and time to apply pressure on the Lowestoft defence.
It had been a tough start for Lowestoft and the task in front of them was made a bit sterner, as following a tackle, Williams felt a tweak in his hamstring and had to be replaced by Jack Ainsley on twenty-two minutes.
Grays were full of pace and with the exception of the Henderson goal against the run of play, the home side were running the game and playing at a great tempo, which Lowestoft appeared to have no answer for. Stuart Ainsley was bearing the brunt of the Grays attacks and was regularly getting exposed down the right, as Orome and Benjamin continued to look sharp and threatening. A great header from near the penalty spot by Anderson looked like it was heading in for the home side but just cleared the bar on the thirty minute mark.
Lowestoft were struggling to get into the game and were lacking any real width but with a good combination of passes, Jack Ainsley was able to deliver from the right and with Reed looking like scoring from a few yards out at the far post, the keeper managed to hook an arm out to make a superb stop for what looked like a certain goal.
Lowestoft had now closed the gaps and were looking sharper, as they upped their game and saw a Henderson effort cleared off the line. Eagle then chested a ball down well on the edge of the box, before spinning to send a shot past the upright as halftime approached.
It had been a half in which Lowestoft were getting asked lots of questions by a home side with a spring in their step. As the whistle sounded for the break, both sides could have been heading off two or three goals up and the home side must of felt a little unfortunate to be trailing by a goal. Lowestoft were in need of a spark, as apart from another busy showing by Henderson, the Lowestoft performance was a spluttering one.

The second half started in the same vein and was just two minutes old when Grays were awarded a soft looking penalty decision. Haynes-Brown got himself across a Grays player in the box and with the player going over there were no appeals from the home side and no indication from the referee but the linesman put his flag across his chest and signalled a penalty. Up stepped Nouble to squeeze the ball just inside the post with Jones guessing the right way and nearly getting to it but it was now 1-1 (47 mins). It was the least the home side deserved and even though both sides had endured a number of games of late, Lowestoft were the ones who were labouring, as Grays continued to look full of energy and fight
As the sixty minute mark arrived Lowestoft were finding it hard to get out of their own half and were desperately trying to get a spell on the ball. An off the ball incident saw Carlos wipe Jack Ainsley out on the touchline but the striker could count himself lucky as the referee flashed him a yellow card.
After enduring a spell from the home side, Lowestoft mustered enough energy to then have a spell of play themselves. Firstly Henderson latched onto a misplaced pass to feed Frew, who's shots across goal had to be touched behind by Kirby. Then moments later Henderson shot on sight but couldn't find the target from distance.
Stuart Ainsley had been given a gruelling time all night and the second change of the night for Lowestoft saw him replaced by Gaughran, who immediately started shouting instructions to his team mates after taking to the field of play.
Having already been shown a yellow card, Mbamarah went in with a high foot on Frew and with a second booking seeing him sent from the field, Lowestoft had just over twenty-five minutes to try and take advantage.
A good ball by Okay picked out Henderson wide right but his ball into the box was cut out well by Anderson in the Grays defence. There was now fifteen minutes remaining as both sides turned to their benches, with Grays introducing Cruickshank for Wickham and Lowestoft reshuffling after introducing Smith for Frew.
Lowestoft knew that a point wouldn't be disastrous but that three points would set Saturday up perfectly, as most of the top teams face either tough teams or each other.
A stinging Jack Ainsley shot from twenty-five yards out was met by a great, strong handed save by Kamurasi in the Grays goal. Then from the resulting corner, Kamurasi denied Lowestoft again as he turned a powerful Reed effort over. Ten minutes of the match remained and Lowestoft were now pressing hard for a winner but Kirby had organised the defence well and was making it hard for Lowestoft. The game was now getting stretched but the Lowestoft midfield were having a game to forget and it looked like they would have to settle for a point.
Both teams had chances to snatch all three points at the end with Cruickshank shaving the bar from distance for Grays and then with the very last kick of the game, Smith had a free-kick for Lowestoft right on the edge of the area but had to see it go just wide when it looked like it was finding the corner.

It was a game in which Lowestoft ideally needed the three points but a point away from home midweek isn't disastrous and just makes the chance of a play-off place that little bit harder.
Jones made two great stops for Lowestoft, while at the other end Kamurasi also made a couple of superb stops in quick succession to deny Lowestoft a winner.
The saves by Jones were crucial for Lowestoft but for the second match in succession my Man of the Match was Chris Henderson. This lad certainly knows how to score great goals and he added another to his list with a delightful chip to send Lowestoft ahead and was the bright spark in a first half that saw Lowestoft really tested. He also had a shot cleared off the line in the first half and continued to try hard in the second half but much like the whole Lowestoft team, tired legs kicked in and the team laboured for large parts of the game.

Focus now turns to Saturday for what is now a 'must win' game if Lowestoft are to retain any hopes of capturing a play-off berth.
All season long the supporters have been fantastic at home and away and now more than ever we need you, the supporters, to get right behind your team on Saturday.

We can only do this if we're in it as one!!

Post-match interview with Craig Fleming to follow later.

Terry Bullen

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Chris Henderson

Player of the Match

Chris Henderson

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Wealdstone 46 96
2. Kingstonian 46 85
3. Bognor Regis Town 46 85
4. Lowestoft Town 46 84
5. AFC Hornchurch 46 83
6. Dulwich Hamlet 46 82
7. Maidstone United 46 81


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