Grays Athletic Supporters Team

Grays Athletic 2- 4 Oaks Athletic

Sunday, 9th September 2007 - Thames Rugby Club, Ockendon

The match took place at Grays Athletic's training complex at Thames Rugby Club, on a warm September morning. The Supporter's team have an abysmal record against Sunday League sides, losing 6-0 against LTD and 7-0 against aptly named Grays Athletic 1890.

Oaks Athletic's team included a number of familiar faces. Parker in goal has made a number of appearances for the Supporters Team, also Gollum up top for Oaks Ath, is pencilled in to make his Supporters Team debut next week in the clash against Stafford Rangers.

The Blues gaffer was away and so caretaker manager Jim Hardingham aka Jimmy Barton stepped in. Barton adopted the standard 4-4-2 formation from Tony Packer. The starting line-up included, Brett Page in goal, Deano - right back, Steve Hardingham - left back, Jonesy and Jords - centre back. The midfield included Scotty and Stan on the wings, with player/manager Jim and Richard 'Bifford' Hunt in the middle. Vale and Mort up top. The subs were Kev, Tobin and Packer. Although there was a late withdrawal from Jamie Goodwins, who was out with a shoulder injury.

The Blues started poorly and within 5 minutes or so, Oaks Athletic - wearing a black and red striped shirt, opened the scoring with a neat through-ball from the attackers to put through his colleague. Fans on the touchline were feeling nervy of another heavy defeat.

Desperate not to be embarrassed, the Blues stepped up a notch and dug deep. With centre backs Jords and Jones commanding their area with presence, heading clear any balls that came near. No Jay Smith bottle jobs to be reported.

Although another goal for the Oaks went in. The Blues had their chances, Stan down the left hand wing found himself through on goal, but as per usual the old nosebleed kicked in and he failed to convert. Morty too found himself in space on the edge of the 18-yard box, and went up for a header against the Oaks defender. He was caught on the head by the Oaks defender's teeth and blood started pissing out of Morty's head like a fountain - he was subbed for the new addition to the squad, Tobin.

Half-time came and Grays went in 2-0 down.

A number of substitutions followed. Midfield enforcer Andrew Packer came on for Jim, Morty was back on for Stan and went back up top, with Tobin dropping out wide. Prior to half-time KFC Kev was on for Scott.

Morty found himself just inside the penalty box, knocking the ball just to the right of the oppo's centre-back and nailed a high shot. Parker managed to get a hand to it, but couldn't get enough on it to palm it over. The score now stood at 2 to 1.

Chris Jones was unlucky with a header from a corner, but Oaks Ath pounced on it, flew up the other end and scored again. Steve was subbed for Scott and Packer was dropped into the full-back position.

Grays piled on the pressure, with numerous shots on goal. They then found themselves in the area, and the ball came off a defenders hand - the ref blew up and pointed to the penalty spot. There was a bit of confusion over who was going to take the pen, discussions were going on between Vale and Scott. Scott stepped up confidently and placed a low penalty to the right of the Parker, who dived the wrong way.

Only one goal separated the teams, Grays trailing 3-2. Kevin found himself on goal, with no defenders around him but chickened out and fluffed the shot which could have equalised the game. Oaks later scored to put increase the margin back to two goals. Tobin with some fancy footwork down the right flank came close, managing to beat the full-back drove a low hard ball across the six-yard box with wide of the goal, unsure it was a cross or a shot.

The Blues put in a sterling effort and clear signs of improvement showed. Positive words came from the Oaks Ath camp, and thanked us for the game.

Attendance: 6 and a dog.

Lineup: Brett, Deano, Jords, Jones, Steve, Scott, Richard, Jim, Stan, Vale, Mort, Kev, Tobin, Packer

Goals: Morty, Scott

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