Jake Gray continues to make a name for himself whilst on loan at Hartlepool, having bagged another goal in a big win for Craig Hignett’s side at home to Dagenham and Redbridge last weekend.
In a game which was quite rightly billed as your archetypal relegation six-pointer, it was Gray and his teammates who made the more impressive of starts when Billy Paynter put them into a fourth minute lead from the penalty spot, only to then see Jake Carroll double their advantage with a header ten minutes later.
The home supporters could have been forgiven for feeling a tad nervous over their chances of securing a victory when the Daggers’ Matthew Cash pulled a goal back on 33 minutes, but shortly after the restart, Palace loanee Gray made his mark on the fixture, smashing home the decisive strike from just outside the penalty area.
It was a goal which showcased the midfielder’s obvious potential, after a run of performances which will undoubtedly have caught the eye of both Mark Bright and Alan Pardew back in SE25. Whilst the gulf in class between our first-team and the fourth tier is huge, the 20-year-old’s efforts are certainly doing him no harm in the eyes of our supporters.
After being plucked from Wycombe shortly after they decided to close their academy, Gray appears to be one of two or three youngsters who stand a genuine chance of making it into Alan Pardew’s first-team squad at the start of next season. Who doesn’t love to see a youngster climbing up the ranks?