GRAYS Athletic secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Essex Senior Cup after claiming a 2-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge.

Adeyinka Cole put Jamie Stuart’s side in front early in the second half, but Elliott Romain hit back for the National League powerhouses at Parkside.

However, Grays will face Romford in the next round of the competition thanks to Kieran Bishop’s winner four minutes from time.

Matt Robinson, who was a regular for the Daggers before being hampered by injury last term, struck wide following a headed clearance from Glenn Poole as the visitors enjoyed the majority of possession early on.

Tyrique Hyde sent a weak header goalwards, which was comfortably held by Lamar Johnson.

Chike Kandi then fired wide soon after when he should have hit the target from the edge of the penalty area.

Charlee Adams nearly grabbed the opener for the National League side.

The midfielder’s long-range effort deflected off Jack Fowler, which wrong-footed Johnson, and hit the outside of the post.

And Luke Pennell’s volley from the resulting corner went high and wide of the target.

Kandi stung the fingers of Johnson as Dagenham continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, but struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Bishop then nearly made the Daggers pay for their missed opportunities.

The frontman used his blistering pace to get away from the away defence, before poking the ball around the onrushing Dagenham goalkeeper Lewis Moore.

But just as it looked like Bishop was going to tap the ball home, Daggers captain Liam Gordon chased back brilliantly to clear the danger and deny Grays the opening goal of the game.

Despite some decent passing moves being put together by Dagenham, it was Grays who were to take the lead thanks to some neat build-up play.

Tim Monsheju, Joao Carlos and Poole – who was skipper for the night – were involved in the move before Cole’s long-range strike beat Moore and found the back of the net early in the second half.

Bishop then came close to doubling Grays’ lead just minutes later, but he was unable to divert Carlos’ low effort on target despite getting his foot to the ball.

Adams then saw another long-range shot deflect off Fowler, but Johnson was equal to the effort this time.

But Dagenham levelled with 15 minutes to play as Romain tapped the ball home following a goalmouth scramble.

However, Grays nearly retook the lead almost immediately after conceding as Carlos struck the crossbar with an unmarked header from a Poole corner.

But the hosts were to grab the winner with just four minutes remaining as Bishop rounded Moore and slotted the ball into the back of the net after Monsheju had a shot blocked.

Grays Athletic: Johnson, Folkes, Thompson, Fowler, Poole, Halle, Brown, Cole (Zialor 64’), Bishop (Okonkwo 90’), Monsheju, Carlos