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Grays Athletic vs AFC Hornchurch
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- Grays Athletic 2 - 1 AFC Hornchurch
- Pre-season friendly
- LIVE coverage from Rush Green
All done then.
A good job from Grays Athletic and it's Joao Carlos' wonder goal which seals the win.
A very efficient, hard-working display from the Blues which has pleased the fans.
Hornchurch had a plethora of chances in the first half, and in fairness, should have sealed the deal before the break.
But Grays capitalised on their failures. Hornchurch took the lead through Tuohy after the ref and linesman awarded a penalty for hand ball against Cooper.
Grays then levelled the scores through a West spot kick. Another strange decision from the referee and his linesman.
But both penalties were dispatched coolly.
But Joao Carlos stole the show with a wonder strike on 80 minutes. A goal worthy of winning any game, you might say.
Thanks again for following!
I'll be at Rookery Hill on Tuesday for East Thurrock vs Tilbury.
Incidentally, Tilbury have lost 4-0 at Banbury today.
Still 2-1 to Grays, but Hornchurch are knocking at the door.
East is on at left back for skipper Flynn, as Luke Marshall shoots over after a nice move from the Blues.
We're in the final moments of the second half here now.
Hornchurch lumping the ball forward in a bid to level the scores.
Kenny Beaney has put a good shift in for Grays today. He's blowing a bit now, but he's worked hard.
Jake Hall coming off for the Blues now, after he got himself in a bit of trouble for squaring up to a Hornchurch defender.
Wise move by Hakan. On comes Tyrone Scarlett, the former Chelmsford City forward who scored on his debut last week.
One of the songs sung by Grays fans was: "Conference South, you're having a laugh!"
It's not over yet, though - and another excellent chance goes begging for Hornchurch!
A cross field ball from the left leaves everyone flat footed. But it's picked up by McKenzie, who is in acres of space on the right. He bears down on the goal from the right and elects to square the ball.
That catches everyone by surprise, including the incoming Hornchurch striker, who is ahead of the ball.
Great cheers from the Grays fans!
GOAL! OH MY WORD! IT'S A SCREAMER FROM JOAO CARLOS ! Grays lead here!
What a goal, struck beautifully from 30 yards, the ball cannons off the underside of the bar.
Wonder goal. Cue songs from a cluster of delighted - but surprised -Grays fans.
Glover, the centre mid, is coming off for Hornchurch.
As the announcer Paul points out (over the PA system!!) a player with no number has come on, so we have no idea who has replaced Glover.
Paul's comments attract laughs from all here - good stuff.
Tilbury are 4-0 down at Banbury.
Tempers flaring here. The referee dashes over to a group of players squaring up to one another, after awarding Hornchurch a free kick.
Alex Bentley is still on the pitch, sorry. He's moved to right back for Hornchurch. James Love was the player to make way earlier.
But Hornchurch are on top again now and certainly dominating territory.
Orilonishe is a nippy winger who looks a threat down the left. Lewis Smith is down at the moment after a good spell of possession around the Grays area for Hornchurch.
So we're level pegging thanks to two dubious penalty decisions.
Amidst the drama, Joe Sweeney has come on for West.
Fola Orilonishe is on for Hornchurch, too. Alex Bentley off.
Martin Tuohy off as well, he's replaced by former Grays player Leon McKenzie.
Grays have been better in the last few moments. Lalite showing good composure and Hall chasing just about everything up front.
GOAL! West converts that penalty, low to the right, sending Woolley the wrong way.
1-1 here. No less than Grays deserved. Some bizarre refereeing in the last few moments!
A bit of drama here.
Jake Hall brust through, looked to play it across to West as he got into the box. He went down as he played the ball and there were a few cries for a penalty.
Again the ref said no, but after a chinwag with his linesman, he's given it!
Jack West not getting much joy up front on his own. A bit isolated at times, but he's also failing to win the ball when it's put his way.
A little unluck as a free kick is given against him for an aerial challenge.
GOAL! In the 56' then, Tuohy sends Johnson the wrong way, netting the spot kick in the left of the goal.
A bit unfortunate for Grays. The ball definitely struck Cooper's hand, but he looked to have his hand by his side.
It's a penalty to Hornchurch.
Cooper is penalised for hand ball. The ref originally said no, looked to his linesman who said yes.
Tuohy to take...
Banbury have a third against Tilbury. It's now 3-0 there.
Little to report here. It's a bit scrappy and a bit frantic. Grays have started the better though.
Junior Baker coming on for the Blues now, with Ryan Kirby making way.
He'll settle into that back four.
Neither side have made any changes. So it's as we were. Can't see this remaining goal-less.
Second half underway
The players are out for the second half here and we're almost ready for the restart.
Grays 0 - 0 Hornchurch
A lively game with several good chances, particularly for Hornchurch.
The best of those fell to Cutler in the dying moments of the half, but he fluffed his effort.
Grays have retained possession well enough but lacked potency, their best chance game midway through the half when Marshall flashed his shot across goal.
It's now Banbury 2 - 0 Tilbury. Not a great day for the Dockers, by all accounts.
A good half drawing to a close at Rush Green. Hornchurch have had the best chances and as I type, they've just blown the best one. Good football releases Curley into the box, who's cut back from the left finds Cutler.
From 10 yards, if he's hit it hard, left or right, he would have converted. Instead, it was a tame, low effort which Johnson got down to.
I'd say Grays have edged it on possession, but could be 2-0 or 3-0 down. Hornchurch extremely wasteful.
The crowd are getting into it, too.
Ping ball in the Grays box. Smith started it off, finding space on the right hand side of the area, but his low cross was shocking. Grays failed to clear and the ball bounced around the box, falling at Hornchurch feet but they all wanted too long to have a dig. Still 0-0 but a great game.
The intensity of the game has gone up a notch. Hornchurch getting frustrated by several offside calls going against them and Grays are tackling hard (and late, at times) with referee calling Beaney over for a talking to after he raised a foot late.
Some good football from Hornchurch as they spurn another chance. From the throw, the ball was flicked on into the box and then headed back across by Smith to Tuohy who volleyed over on the turn.
Tilbury FC are a goal down at Banbury after 29 minutes.
And I shall retract my earlier observation about Grays playing long. They're really getting the ball down now. They're getting joy as they spread it wide and Luke Marshall and Joao Carlos switching flanks - definitely been the key to their resurgance in this half.
They're the better team at the moment.
Fair to say that Lalite is being targeted by the Hornchurch midfield. More often than not, the former Thurrock FC midfielder has two midfielders around him.
A source at Thurrock (who I won't name!!) told me that Lalite was on of the best non-league players he'd ever seen. He's being marked as if that's the case today!
A good spell this from Grays. They've won a couple of corners and had some decent possession, with Marshall's chance coming amid it all. But good stuff.
Hornchurch have a lad down injured now after they successfully defended a corner.
Woolley has the ball in his hands and will get us going once Reiss Noel has received his treatment.
West is a big lad and it looks a little like the game plan at the moment is to pick him out with, dare I say it, the long ball. It's not really working at the moment.
But Grays have just gone very close! Luke Marshall somehow broke free on the left hand edge of the Hornchurch box, chased the ball to the byline and smashed it goal-wards. West was there but couldn't quite get a touch and it was, fortuitously, deflected behind by a Hornchurch defender.
Joao Carlos won a free kick for Grays, which they worked short from mid-way inside the Hornchurch half. Luke Marshall was then muscled off of the ball, Lewis Smith collected and had Cooper at his mercy. He jinked the ball round the Grays centre half who just scythed him down.
Cynical, but it worked in stalling the Hornchurch attack. Needless to say, he got a little warning from the referee!
Lewis Smith hits the post for Hornchurch. A long and speculative hoof up the pitch by Woolley, which Smith took down, despite a challenge from Kirby. His shot as the ball bounced had Marshall scrambling to his left, before the post came to his rescue.
Good football from the corner by Hornchurch. Worked it short, knocked it around the edge of the box, before Sam Cutler flashed a cross-come-shot across goal which is just wide.
They're on top at the moment, the Urchins!
Grays working very hard when Hornchurch have the ball. Lots of chasing and closing high uo the pitch. Making life quite difficult for the Blue Sq Sth new boys at the moment.
Hornchurch have Martin Tuohy in their starting XI today. He's a former East Thurrock player and has just gone close with a lobbed effort after he broke free from the defence. Johnson was at full stretch but the ball bounced wide.
Good start to the game in the opening minutes.
Both sides looking to get the ball down, almost sussing eachother out at the moment.
No chances of note yet though.
Kick off slightly delayed by the late emergence of the referees...
Very good crowd here at Rush Green. A good mix of fans I imagine, with Hornchurch being so close. But lots of blue, as you's expect.
We're just about set. Next update will be kick-off!
So we're about set here. Weather's good, without wanting to sound pedantic, it's maybe a tad breezy. But that should help the players.
Just spoken to a few more Grays fans, so much optimism here.
One said: "I'm usually a glass half-empty guy, but i've a feeling we're going to win the league."
General consensus is that this is a strong Grays XI, but not quite a full strength one, with Junior Baker on the bench and no James Bunn - although no one seems sure what the best option is in attack.
Great chance for Jack West to stake a claim here, though!
Ok, the teams!
Grays Athletic: (4-5-1)
Johnson; Pope, Kirby, Cooper, Flynn (c); Marshall, Beaney, Hall, Lalite, Carlos; West
Subs: East, Baker, Scarlett, Sweeney
Hornchurch: Woolley; Love, Anderson, Noel, Goodacre; Curley, Cutler, Glover, Tuohy; Smith, Bentley
Subs: McKenzie, Spencer, Hunt, Eyong, May, Orilonishe, Styles
Grays Athletic face a tough test against Hornchuch today.
The Urchins were runners up in the Ryman Premier League last year, the division above Grays' Ryman North.
We're just waiting for confirmation of the teams.
Speaking to a couple of Grays fans, they expect the starting XI today to be the first choice XI. So it will be interesting to see who Hakan Heyrettin, the Grays boss, feels are his best players.
Good afternoon and welcome to Rush Green!
It's the penultimate day of the Olympics in London and we are a stones throw from the Olympic Park in Stratford here at Grays Athletic's new Romford home.