Grays Athletic 1(0) - (1) 1 ROMFORD Attendance 323 - Parkside
By Gary Redwin
A soft penalty awarded against them deep into added time denied Romford a fourth successive victory in their fight against relegation.
After Easter Saturday's heroics Boro came into this match with a depleted squad due to injuries and unavailability, but in a cagey first half mostly played in midfield, they were able to comfortably contain the home side before taking the lead after twenty seven minutes. John MASKELL took a free kick from out on the left, just inside the Grays half and instead of the usual high ball into the box he drove it low and hard towards the near post, knowing it would probably take a kick off the artificial pitch first bounce. That is exactly what happened, and Danny COSSINGTON was able to get a touch and help it speed into the net. Before the break Harry ALDRIDGE and his defence needed to save and block goalbound efforts on a couple of occasions but Romford were good value for their narrow lead.
The second half saw the home team trying to force the issue a lot more but the Romford defence and midfield was looking solid as was Aldridge when he was called into action. In between times Boro were getting more space in the Grays half for some attacks of their own and were desperately unlucky not to extend their lead, twice hitting the woodwork. Firstly Jimmy COX took a long ball knocked forward to him on the bounce and his outrageous lob from distance caught the keeper in no man's lob. Everybody held their breath as it dropped towards goal but then bounced off the top of the crossbar. And then late on a superb Romford move down the right ended with Cossington collecting a one-two and playing in a low cross to Cox. The striker wrongfooted the defence with a dummy and the ball ran through to the unmarked Joseph CHIDYAUSIKU whose shot beat the keeper but came back off the post.
As the game went deep into added time Romford were still holding firm, but throughout the referee had been more eager to punish their challenges whilst tending to give the home side the benefit of the doubt for similar tackles and when a Grays forward went down dramatically in the box after the minimum of contact it was inevitable that the official would point to the spot. Carlos duly converted, leaving a Boro side who had given everything, to hope that the two dropped points will not cost them dear after the climax of the season next Saturday.
Team: Harry ALDRIDGE, Danny COSSINGTON, Toby BARLOW (Derek Ohalem 55), John MASKELL (c), Ayo OLUKOGA, Danny NESBITT, Philipp Browne-Bampoe, Pedro CARVALHO (Chris TAYLOR 67), Jimmy COX, Joseph CHIDYAUSIKU, Greg AKPELE
Unused Subs: Craig Jeakins, Max Bolton
Goal: Danny COSSINGTON 27
Yellow Cards: Danny NESBITT 6, John MASKELL 43