Grays Athletic 0-2 Metropolitan Police
(Sutherland 21', Michael-Percil 49')
From Mill Field
Ryman Premier League
GRAYS Athletic's hopes of remaining in the Ryman Premier League took another severe hit as they were defeated by Metropolitan Police.
Goals from Steve Sutherland and former Grays winger Roman Michael-Percil condemned Jamie Stuart's side to their 24th league defeat of the season.
Kieran Bishop came close to giving the hosts the lead inside three minutes.
The striker, who scored two goals in the win at Harrow Borough last week, rounded goalkeeper Branon Daly, but Sutherland hooked the ball clear before Bishop could apply the finishing touch.
But Met Police took the lead midway through the first half as visiting captain Sutherland attacked a dangerous cross from the right. The central defender initially failed to connect with the dangerous ball into the six-yard area, but Grays goalkeeper Amadou Tangara's save inadvertently ricocheted onto Sutherland's head and into the back of the net.
Kwabena Osei missed a golden opportunity to get Grays back on level terms seven minutes later.
A long throw from Joe Payne caused havoc in the Met Police penalty area and Will Salmon's poor clearance came to Osei, but the midfielder's shot was well saved by Daly.
Barney Williams missed a good chance to equalise just before half time as the winger sent his volley over the crossbar.
Osei then passed up another opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet when he failed to take advantage of Sutherland's poor clearance.
The midfielder, who scored the winner against Billericay Town two weeks ago, latched onto the loose ball and his first-time thunderbolt went just over the crossbar, with Daly well beaten.
Those missed chances proved costly as Met Police doubled their lead four minutes into the second half.
Striker Charlie Collins played the ball out wide to Michael-Percil, and the winger cut inside and sent his low shot into the bottom corner.
With time running out to salvage something from the game, Stuart threw Etienne Mukanya Kabobola on and the powerful attacking midfielder came closest to getting Grays back into the game.
With 79 minutes on the clock, Kabobola cut inside onto his left foot and sent a superb strike goalwards. But with Daly rooted to the spot, the effort hit the post and bounced clear.
Just a minute later, Kabobola was allowed to cut inside again but this time his shot went just inches wide of the far post.
Daly was needed to tip a Williams shot over the crossbar in stoppage time, but Met Police held on to win 2-0 and leave Grays seven points off safety heading into next Saturday's derby at Canvey Island.
Grays Athletic: Tangara, Mahal, Payne, Campbell, Ashton, Williams-Agunabor (Stuart 82'), Williams, Osei (Sarpong 45'), Baxter (Kabobola 66'), Bishop, Carlos