Sambridge stars on return against Grays

Gary White

SWIFTS recorded another terrific away win as Danny Sambridge returned in goal with a stellar performance.

Swifts took the lead on 32 minutes when a driven corner by Juan Luque caused havoc in the six-yard box and Joe Gardner was able to force the ball over the line.

They extended their lead early in the second half when Luque unselfishly squared for Luke Callander to coolly side foot home from close range.

Swifts were in control but the hosts were able to get a goal back when a good cross from the right was slid home at the far post by substitute Callum Thompson.

Grays had the chance to draw level when awarded a penalty for a trip on speedy winger Ade Cole.

But Sambridge performed a great double save, stopping the spot kick from Cole and then blocking the follow up superbly.

And it proved to be a major turning point in the game, given that Matt Price then came off the bench and scored a quick double to seal the win.

His first came when he followed up after keeper Lamar Johnson made a good save at the feet of Gardner on 82 minutes.

And he scored again five minutes later when an excellent move and cross from Kreshnic Krasniqi was met at the near post as he once again proved his striker’s instinct by getting in front of the centre back.

The Swifts following swelled the crowd to 273 on a nice spring day as the play offs were secured in one of the club’s best seasons in their 138 year history.

Heybridge manager Jody Brown said: “It was nice to see a few old faces from my time at Grays. It reminded me what a good side we built there.

“With our place in play offs basically confirmed we continued to rotate and rest those who needed it.

“Our keeper Jake Jessup was recalled by Chelmsford on Friday night and we gave Baker and Abdulla a much needed rest.

“We also rested Krasniqi and the league’s top goalscorer Matt Price.

“I will never take for granted beating clubs like Grays, or teams containing players like Johnson, Bruce, Folkes, Poole, Bishop, Oli and Cole

“So it was a good day and made even better with Danny Sambridge’s performance.

“He’s played nearly 50 games this season but lost his place to Jake Jessup, who has been very good too.

“But today Danny came back in and showed how good he is – and how strong our squad is.”