Gallant Greens undone by Grays

A CLINICAL performance from Grays put paid to a gallant Soham Town Rangers side in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Soham Town Rangers 1

Grays Athletic 2

A CLINICAL performance from Grays put paid to a gallant Soham Town Rangers side in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

A goal in either half ensured safe passage through to the next round for Julian Dicks’ visitors but they were made to work hard for the win by Soham, who had to play the majority of the match with 10 men after Scott Carter was dismissed.

Neither side managed to forge any real openings in the early stages of the match as the respective midfields vied for control. It was in one such lusty exchange after 22 minutes that Carter was given his marching orders as his challenge on Dean Pennant was deemed to be high by the referee.

The extra man allowed the Ryman Premier side to exert a measure of control over Ian Benjamin’s young charges and it was less than 10 minutes after the dismissal that the visitors took the lead as Ishmael Welsh worked a yard of space and thundered home past keeper Dan Bircham from 25 yards out.

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Bircham had to be alert again on a couple of occasions after the opener as Grays sought to test his mettle from range, Emile Atkin coming closest with a bouncing low shot that was pushed wide by the Greens custodian.

Athletic continued to impress themselves on the match as the game resumed for the second half and tireless work in their midfield allowed further opportunities for Atkin and Tom Harvey. Fortunately for Soham however, some good work from Bircham and determined defending kept the deficit to one.

The introduction of striker Dubi Ogbonna just after the hour mark gave the Greens more impetus in attack and visiting keeper Stuart Robinson was soon called in to action to deny the youngster after a Shawn Richards freekick whipped dangerously into the area.

A header from defender Andy Coleman slipped a yard wide for Soham before Grays made it 2-0 with a few minutes remaining as Simon Thomas tapped home from a yard out after a looping cross evaded the Soham defenders.

Deakan Napier squandered a golden chance less than a minute after Grays second but Ogbonna finally gave the home crowd something to cheer in injury time as he curled home a quick freekick as the Grays defenders were busy organising themselves. The Greens had left it too late however, and the whistle blew mere seconds after the restart.