Crystal Palace have a number of young players out on loan around the country at the moment, including midfielder Jake Gray, who is making a real impression at Hartlepool United.
After originally agreeing to a month long stint at Victoria Park in the first few days of November, the two clubs have subsequently agreed to keep Gray with Pools until the end of the 2015/16 season, given his regular appearances in the heart of their midfield.
Despite Gray’s impressive individual form, his teammates have been struggling of late and currently find themselves near the foot of the League Two table, just three points clear of Yeovil Town who themselves occupy one of the two relegation places.
Last night’s tie at home to Notts County will have no doubt been looked towards as a potentially winnable game prior to kick-off, but the hosts found themselves 2-0 down after just 14 minutes, thanks to goals from John Stead and Liam Noble, leaving Gray and co. with a huge mountain to climb over the next hour or so.
After showing an improvement in the opening stages of the second period, it was Gray himself who provided Hartlepool with a route back into the game on 62 minutes, hitting a fantastic low strike across the penalty area and into the bottom left-hand corner of the County goal. It showcases the best of what Jake can offer to any side, highlighting a degree of technique and invention that will surely serve him well in years to come.
The home side then went on to regain parity just four minutes later through Billy Painter, but as the game edged towards its final moments Stead bagged his second and Notts County’s third of the night to ensure all three points came away with them from the trip North.
Whilst the situation looks decidedly grim for Hartlepool, Gray can be pleased with another eye-catching display, allowing him to look towards the summer as a time when he may well break into Alan Pardew’s first-team.
Have a look at the goal via the link attached above, it’s impressive to say the least.