Grays win battle of Thurrock
12:16pm Friday 19th October 2012 in Sport
JAKE Hall was villain turned hero as he inspired Grays Athletic to their first win at Chadfields in 26 years.
Blues beat Tilbury 1-0 at the weekend. Grays boss Hakan Heyrettin said Hall had let everyone down after he was sent off against Needham Market two weeks ago.
But on Saturday, the 22-year-old put in a terrific performance as Blues ended Tilbury’s 15-game unbeaten run, toppling them from the top of the Ryman Division One North table in the process. The Dockers went into the game buoyant after a 4-1 win at home to Redbridge on Tuesday.
It was Blues second win against top four opposition in a week after they beat Cheshunt 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Hall scored the only goal, a wonderful right-footed curler after 31 minutes, in a game of few chances. Blues central midfield three of Leon Lalite, Kenny Beaney and Hall were the difference as they outnumbered and outmanoeuvred Tilbury’s central midfield duo.
As is expected of any local derby, the tackles were tough as emotions ran high. But the game was relatively well tempered until the 71st minute when a high, late tackle by Blues’ stand-in skipper Danny Bunce on his counterpart Gary Henty angered in-form Dockers striker Joel Barnett who ran 20-yards to make his dissatisfaction known.
The former was dismissed for his challenge, the latter for instigating the altercation that followed. The loss of the striker, who had bagged four goals in three games prior to Saturday’s match, did Tilbury no favours as they chased the game.
Grays had started the game the brighter, with Harry Agombar, whose loan from Macclesfield is drawing to an end, missing two half chances in the opening 25 minutes.
It was Hall though, who, having already worked tirelessly to close and harry in the midfield, provided the game’s definitive moment.
He collected the ball off of Agombar in the corner of the hosts half before beating two defenders, getting into the box and looping a super 20-yard effort over James Marrable.
Dockers were dealt further blows in the first half, as Emiel Aiken came off with a shoulder injury and Paul King, the Tilbury centre-half was taken to hospital at half-time over fears he had broken his neck after a collision with Jack West. The defender had in fact injured muscles and ligaments around his spine.
Having failed to register a shot on target in the first half, Dockers made a better start to the second half but as the game wore on, they fashioned very few clear cut chances. The best was on 88 minutes when Aaron Matthews looked to latch on to a through ball, but he was just beaten to it by George Kamurasi, the Grays keeper.
Blues looked the more likely to score a second, Joao Carlos had a shot cleared off the line with minutes to go as Tilbury got caught with men up the field.
Hall was taken off in the last minute to an ovation from the elated Grays faithful.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Heyrettin said: “It’s a local derby, we set out to win the game and I don’t think they got in our half in the first half.
“We had some good play. “When you have players like Harry Agombar who can play anywhere, we’re going to cause problems. We were more than pleased. The most pleasing thing for me today was the defence who held firm.
“Jake Hall’s a player who’s got a big engine and gets up and down. He may not have the ability of some people, but he’ll drive. We’re very pleased for him.
Heyrettin added that the most important thing for Blues now is to keep this squad together, admitting there have been offers for several players.
Vaughan was gracious in defeat. He said: “I think Grays were better in the first half. We never really got started.
“We gave it a go in the second half. But we didn’t create enough chances or work hard enough in the right areas. We’ve got to address that.
“I’m disappointed, but it’s not a defining result for the season."
On the dismissal of Barnett, the Tilbury boss said: “Joel knows what he’s done.
“He’s let the team down when it seems that Bunce was going to be sent off anyway. It affected our shape and if Joel hadn’t been sent off we might have had half a chance.”
Tilbury: Marrable; Smith, King (Pooley, 45’), Nightinghill, Waters; Aiken (Llewellyn, 24’), Carlile, Henty, Matthews; Barnett, Francis (Mead,72’)
Grays Athletic: Kamurasi; Pope, Baker, Kirby, Bunce; Lalite, Hall (Bunn, 90’), Beaney, Agombar (Flynn 73’), Carlos; West (Sweeney, 78’). Attendance: 421
Gazette MoM: Jake Hall
* A PRIVATE security firm were drafted in to ensure trouble didn’t flare up amongst the 400-strong crowd at Chadfields.
There had been outbreaks of fighting among rival fans in recent meetings between the two sides but on Saturday, both sets of supporters got behind their team admirably.