GRAYS Athletic retained the Stan Veness Trophy after overcoming local rivals Tilbury at Parkside.

Both sides used the game to further their preparations for the upcoming Isthmian North season, which gets underway in less than three weeks’ time.

But Grays were able to keep the Stan Veness Trophy at Parkside after notching a 3-2 win in front of 184 fans.

Both sides went close in a lively opening to the encounter, with Tilbury causing problems for the home defence.

With just six minutes on the clock, Hussain Jaffa headed a Jack Carlile free-kick over the crossbar.

And the Dockers were to break the deadlock after 22 minutes, with Toby Aromolaran netting from close range.

The visitors came close to extending their advantage, with Siju Odelusi and Joe Paxman both passing up presentable opportunities in the space of two minutes.

And those misses were to prove costly as Grays scored twice in two minutes to turn the game on its head.

Stanley Muguo converted an Ade Cole free-kick before Ryan Mahal smashed home on 36 minutes.

As a result, Tilbury were behind at the break despite putting in an impressive first half performance.

Both sides made changes in the second half as the heat began to take its toll on all of the players.

And Jamie Stuart’s Grays extended their lead after 70 minutes.

Donovan Simmonds headed a cross into the back of the net to put the game beyond Joe Keith’s charges.

However, Tilbury were given a lifeline five minutes later as Perry Dunn, who returned to Grays last week, was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area and the referee did not hesitate in pointing to the spot.

Lewis Smith, who has joined from East Thurrock United in the close season, slotted the resulting penalty home.

Although the Dockers pushed hard for an equaliser, Grays held on to retain the Stan Veness Trophy.

Meanwhile, East Thurrock United came from behind to seal a 2-1 triumph over Colchester United.

Ryan Gondoh, who spent time on loan with Isthmian North side Maldon & Tiptree last season, put the League Two side in front on the stroke of half-time.

However, Sam Higgins turned the game on its head after coming off the bench for the second half.

Higgins got Rocks back on level terms just two minutes after the break, before the frontman grabbed the winner 11 minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Aveley claimed a 1-0 win at Erith Town.

Alex Teniola, Chris Bourne and Harry Gibbs went close for the Millers in a goalless first half.

James Webster’s side struck the post early in the second half, while Tom Richardson headed wide as Aveley continued to pile on the pressure.

And the Millers were to make their dominance count as Tony Martin fired home after being put through by Connor Witherspoon just past the hour mark.

A trialist’s free-kick crashed against the crossbar three minutes later, but one goal proved to be enough for the visitors.