GRAYS Athletic got the new Isthmian North campaign off to a flying start by registering an impressive 4-1 win over Brentwood Town.

Despite Jacob Wiggins’ early opener for the visitors at Parkside, a Tony Stokes brace and efforts from Manny Ogunrinde and Joao Carlos ensured Jim Cooper’s side would seal all three points.

The encounter got off to a frantic start, with both sides finding the back of the net inside the opening three minutes.

Brentwood silenced the home crowd when a defence splitting pass found Wiggins, who beat the exposed Danny Sambridge.

But, stunned into action, Grays levelled matters immediately as Ogunrinde was brought down by former Athletic defender Junior Baker and Stokes converted the spot-kick with aplomb.

Stokes, who was making his Grays debut against the side he joined from in the summer, then failed to hit the target after Ogunrinde squared the ball to the ex-West Ham United trainee.

However, Stokes was to complete his brace with 22 minutes on the clock as he powered a Nathan Fox throw home.

Grays goalkeeper Danny Sambridge made a smart stop to deny Wiggins, who had managed to break free of the home side’s defence once again.

And the save proved crucial as Grays were able to give themselves a two-goal cushion four minutes before the break.

A long ball from Steve King set Ogunrinde free and his angled effort evaded Brentwood custodian Tim Brown.

Grays saw strong appeals for a penalty waved away shortly after the interval.

Carlos’ ankles appeared to be clipped but the referee was not willing to award the hosts a second spot-kick.

Stokes passed up a fine opportunity to complete his hat-trick when he found himself in space as his shot lacked power and Brown was able to make a comfortable save.

Carlos created another opportunity, but his low cross after racing to the byline evaded the onrushing Ogunrinde.

The pacy Ogunrinde was causing Brentwood problems all afternoon and the visitors’ frustrations boiled over as Michael Toner, formerly of Grays, was shown a straight red card for what appeared to be a stamp on the young striker.

As a result, Brentwood were down to 10 men for the final 30 minutes of the encounter.

But Grays needed just a minute to capitalise as they grabbed a fourth goal.

Stokes found Carlos, who danced past three defenders before prodding the ball beyond Brown.

Grays went in search of a more convincing victory and a Carlos pile driver cannoned off the woodwork before Brown pulled off a number of saves to keep the scoreline respectable.

Substitute Mitch Hahn was also frustrated by the woodwork, but Grays impressed on the opening day.