Venue: Lower Road
2017/18 Season – Match 4
Date: Tuesday 18th July 2017 7.45pm KO
Hullbridge Sports : Yellow & Blue Striped Shirts, Yellow Shorts, Yellow Socks
Grays Athletic : Sky Blue Shirts, Sky Blue Shorts & White Socks
Scott W reporting (Follow me on Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
With a chill in the air on a summer’s evening at Lower Road, Rob Hodgson’s Hullbridge Sports took on Isthmian North side Grays Athletic in another pre-season encounter.
Grays started the match the brighter of the two sides, having multiple chances to go in-front with a mixture of slightly wayward finishing and stubborn Hullbridge defending contributing to that. The home goal did live a bit of a ‘charmed life’ in the first twenty minutes or so though after that the hosts did get back into the match and it was more ‘even Stevens’ though the visitors certainly did have enough opportunities to have the lead at the break. What’s heartening for Sports is that they dug in and made it difficult for Jamie Stuart’s side, who couldn’t quite find the final ball to convert the better of their attacking play.
Half-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 0 Grays Athletic
The second half began as both sides made multiple substitutions, including player-manager Jamie Stuart who came on for the visitors, playing in front of the back four. It took a little while for the second half to spring into life as Grays continued to be the better side on-the-ball at this point though creating clear-cut chances was stifling them a bit.
However, on the hour Grays broke the deadlock from the spot as Ade Cole converted the spot-kick after a team-mate was felled in the area, it was a bit of a soft penalty to concede. Hullbridge did not retreat though after the goal, to their credit. They pushed on and certainly tested the opposition’s backline for a period and had two penalty shouts turned down.
It wasn’t until the last ten minutes that the Blues made the match safe as new signing Kiernan Hughes-Mason grabbed a quick-fire double in six minutes, the first Hughes-Mason shimmied the defender before slotting past the ‘keeper. For the second, he found space and curled an effort into the top-left corner.
Grays will be happy with the win & the stout performance in their first pre-season match though Hullbridge can definitely take something from this encounter with a stronger performance, particularly in defence with the beginning of the ESL season around ten days away.
Full-Time: Hullbridge Sports 0 – 3 Grays Athletic
Cole (pen) 60’
Hughes-Mason 82’, 88’
Check back later this week for more pre-season action before the ESL season officially kicks off on July 29th.