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Carlos inspires Grays to Enfield cruise
1:23pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport
AN INSPIRED second half performance from Joao Carlos ensured Blues’ great start to life in the Ryman Premier League continued.
The winger terrorised Enfield Town’s midfield and full backs with his pace, skill and guile, with goals from Jared Small and Jack West which ensured three wins from three games. Both goals were gifts but no less than Grays deserved.
Ryan Kirby’s side have now won 21 of their last 22 league games.
But as with their first two Ryman Premier games, it wasn’t all plain sailing against Enfield.
The visitors were much the better side in the first half and posed a greater threat. A lack of quality – and some superb defending from Junior Baker and George Kamurasi – meant Enfield were unable to capitalise. Dan Kirby went close when he struck the bar in first half stoppage time.
The second half was very different though. Early on, Carlos went close with a cheeky chip but in the 57th minute the hosts got the breakthrough. Carlos ran at Michael Ewang down the left wing, before shooting hard across goal from 18 yards.
Daniel East in the Enfield goal saved, but Small was on hand to tap in the rebound from two yards out.
Three minutes later, West on the edge of the Enfield box, picked up a misplaced Enfield pass, made for goal and smashed a low shot beyond East.
After that, according to Kirby, Blues’ professionalism saw them run out 2-0 winners.
The arrival of Kenny Beaney – Blues player of the year last season – in the 73rd minute brought composure and assurance to the midfield and an Enfield revival never looked likely.
“They were way better than us first half,” Kirby said after the game. “They had all the play, they were sharper and playing the way I want my team to play.
“That’s what we spoke about at half time. We’re always capable of playing when we get the ball, we just needed to up our tempo and our work rate and second half, we went out there and did it the right way.”
Kirby praised Carlos, who he said has added even more to his game this year – including a better work rate – but insisted his front men, including West have a great on-field relationship. “The gelling of the front players is there to see. Jack West and Joao have a great understanding and that’s very encouraging.”
And asked whether he expected the team’s start to be this good, Kirby said: “I don’t have expectations of results. I know what we are capable of doing and I know what we’ve worked on.
"The nice thing is to see them step out onto the pitch and show they can deliver.”
Grays Athletic: Kamurasi; Pope, Flynn, Baker, Nightingill; Ramos-Gonzalez, Cruickshank (Beaney), Lalite, Carlos (Duru); West, Small (Hamdan)
Gazette MoM: Joao Carlos.