Grays Give K’s The Blues
Given the fortuitous nature of Ks’ win at home to Grays earlier in the season, this away defeat shouldn’t have been that surprising – but nonetheless, defeat to a team who had lost six on the bounce and remain adrift at the foot at the table will feel like a missed opportunity for Tommy Williams and his side.
Grays had a slightly chaotic air about them, particularly at the back, but their dismal run of form had done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. And given that Rob Tolfrey had to make two superb saves, Ks cannot level any accusations of being lucky at their Essex opponents.
Ks had the bulk of the possession in the game but it invariably led to frustration. In just the fifth minute Amadou Tangara raced out to deny Ryan Moss and then Shaun Bonnett-Johnson fired wide. But just three minutes later Tolfrey did superbly to deny Kieran Bishop one-on-one and it was clear that the game would not be one-way traffic.
Ks’ best move of the match saw Bonnett-Johnson combine with Youssef Bamba. Bamba fired hard across goal but Moss, at full stretch, could only deflect the ball onto the crossbar. Ks began to up the pressure and Alan Inns had a header saved but the sucker-punch came just after the half hour mark when Nathan Campbell rose to lob Tolfrey with a header after a free kick.
It was too early for Ks to panic though and on 41 minutes the sides were level. Lee O’Leary was felled on the edge of the box and Bruce Hogg curled a perfect free kick over the wall and inside Tangara’s near post.
If Ks fans hoped that would calm the side down though they were soon mistaken. Tolfrey had to make another great save almost straight away, this time from Luke Hornsley, before half-time and then immediately after the break the home side restored their lead when Bishop broke in behind the defence and beat Tolfrey.
Ks dominated possession even more in the second half but Grays defended deep and the visitors could not find a breakthrough. A Moss header was cleared off the line by Jamie Mascoll and Hogg and O’Leary both headed over, but Tangara did not have a serious save to make all half.
Ks had a lot of pressure but very few clear-cut chances with the ball frequently ending up behind the goal either through wayward efforts or corners – one Ks fan managed a remarkable six touches of the match ball.
Campbell’s night turned bittersweet in injury time when he picked up a second yellow card for tripping Moss but Hogg was unable to repeat his free kick heroics and Ks were left to lament a frustrating night.
Match report by Simon Grier.