The 2012-13 season opener was far from a feast of football, but Forest know they will have to improve from today’s performance if they wish to have a good season.
On a sweltering August afternoon, Grays’ experience and quality came to the fore, putting Forest to the sword and punishing them for their mistakes.
Only a few minutes into the game Grays were forced into making a change. Jake Hall was unintentionally caught in the face by Adrian Clifton, who was trying to clear the ball. Clifton was booked for his challenge.
The visitors took the lead on 18 minutes. Inaki Ordono bundled over Joao Carlos inside the penalty area, and Daniel Bunce slotted away the resulting spot-kick, despite Omand in the Forest goal guessing the right way.
Grays enjoyed long spells of domination in the first half, and could have scored twice more. Junior Baker was denied by Luke Stanley clearing off the line, and Joao Carlos’ shot was then stopped by the woodwork.
Forest did manage to carve out a couple of chances in the first half, and Luke Stanley went closest just before half time. His long-range effort was tipped onto the bar and out of play by Lemar Johnson in the Grays goal.
In front of 95 people, Forest started the second half as far the brightest team. Luke Stanley was beginning to find joy on the wing, but Courtney Walsh, playing as the lone striker, was starved of service.
The game was secured by James Bunn on 70 minutes. He turned Dmitri Larin and unleashed a fiery half-volley past Aaron Omand.
Things then got worse for Forest as they were carved apart in the centre of the field, allowing Joao Carlos to get a deserved goal, rolling the ball past the onrushing Omand.
Second half substitutes Arian Retkoceri and Corey Whitely did add a bit of guile and cutting to Forest’s play, but in truth, they were off the pace for much of the game.
Next up for Forest is a tough trip to Cheshunt who beat AFC Sudbury 3-1 today.
Today’s other scores:
AFC Sudbury 1-3 Cheshunt
Aveley 2-2 Maldon & Tiptree
Brentwood Town 1-1 Tilbury
Chatham Town 3-0 Waltham Abbey
Heybridge Swifts 0-1 Harlow Town
Potters Bar Town 1-2 Wroxham
Romford 1-2 Redbridge
Soham Town Rangers 1-2 Ilford
Waltham Forest 0-3 Grays Athletic
Ware 1-2 Needham Market
Witham Town 2-1 Thamesmead Town
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