Grays Athletic win second consecutive FA Trophy
Grays Athletic lifted the gloom engulfing east London by securing a second successive FA Trophy title today.
After West Ham's FA Cup final defeat against Liverpool yesterday, Mark Stimson's Grays ensured champagne cocks will be popping in London this weekend as they saw off Trophy specialists Woking.
Two goals in the final five minutes of the first-half by Dennis Oli and Glenn Poole and a phenomenal display by former Woking man Ashley Bayes after the break saw Grays defend their title.
Grays, dumped out of the Conference play-offs by Halifax in midweek, showed just why they are the top scorers in non-League's top-flight with two smart finishes.
Woking's Gary MacDonald needlessly gave the ball away in midfield on 41 minutes, allowing Michael Kightly to run at the Cards' defence, before feeding Oli who expertly lifted the ball over Shwan Jalal to score.
Four minutes later and Poole doubled Grays lead after more pedestrian defending by Glenn Cockerill's Woking.
Skipper Stuart Thurgood played through the impressive Kightly, who lobbed the stranded Jalal. As the ball bounced dangerously around in the Woking penalty area, Poole reacted quickest to head the ball into an empty net.
It was a very different story after the break as Woking poured forward in search of a lifeline.
In the 47th minute Woking midfielder Steve Evans was left banging the turf in frustration as Bayes saved his smartly taken free-kick.
In the 63rd minute Bayes again denied the unfortunate Evans with a diving save, before producing a fantastic block to deny Woking striker Justin Richards when he seemed destined to half the deficit.
In between John Martin somehow missed a routine header from close range to kill the tie for Grays, while Thurgood saw his bending effort strike the woodwork 15 minutes from time.
It was fitting Bayes should have the final say against his former club, producing the save of the game on 88 minutes to somehow deny 22-goal Richards from close range.