It's one of the fixtures that both sets of fans look at when the fixtures are released at the start of the season, and with both teams losing the FA Cup games on Saturday, this game had even more significance than normal.
The Miller signed goalkeeper David Hughes from Harlow Town, and he was making his debut, and it was a debut to remember with a victory over Grays.
The game started off very end to end as both searched to get their noses in front in this important fixture. A long range effort from Mitch Hahn went for a corner which saw Dennis Oli head over the bar, the Millers countered and Tom Richardson was denied by a finger tip save from Anderson.
Tom Richardson was then denied by the top of the crossbar after being put through on goal by Sam Cross but Tom's left footed effort clipped the top of the bar. Minutes after there was a half shout for a penalty after Alex Akrofi was bundled to the floor, but the protests were waved away.
The pace and height of Grays Athletic did cause us problems, with Aron Gordon, Ade Cole running with great pace down the flanks, and the height of Oknokwo and Muguo from set-pieces and throw-ins but we defended manfully to deny the "visitors" in the first half.
After Garrett Kelly was taken down Andy Freeman had a chance from a free-kick which forced Lloyd Anderson into a smart save diving to his right. A corner from Aveley then came and Tom Richardson shifted it towards the goal, it came to Alex Akrofi but his goal-bound sweep was deflected wide of the left hand post.
The Millers looked like they could've been awarded a penalty after Michael Finneran appeared to make contact with Sam Cross in the box, moments later Tom Richardson and Harry Gibbs were having their shirts pulled in every direction, but as soon as the corner came in, a free-kick was warded the other way.
Nearing the end of the half, Grays had a few half chances from the edge of the area but the likes of Gordon, Adeniji and Oli snatched at their chances as they all couldn't test Millers debutante David Hughes in the Aveley goal.
Half Time | Aveley 0-0 Grays Athletic.
The second half got started in a bad way for Aron Gordon as he seemed to suffer a dislocated shoulder as he landed awkwardly on the ground.
However, Grays' mood would change five minutes later as they took the lead. A neat ball through for Dennis Oli saw him beat the offside trap and finish cooly past Hughes to send the visitors into the lead. Aveley 0-1 Grays Athletic.
The Millers started to pile the pressure on with lots of crosses into the box but it looked like it just wasn't going to be Aveley's day with Michael Finneran and Munguo winning lots. Tom Richardson kept working very hard as he put in Alex Akrofi on goal, Akrofi finished well but only for the offside flag to be up.
We kept working away and eventually the pressure and quality passing showed, Tom Richardson passed it to Shad Ngandu who took aim and curled it perfectly into the right hand corner of the goal, for his first of the season. Aveley 1-1 Grays Athletic.
Our tails were up and after Mitch Hahn decided to shoot straight from kick off, giving us the ball back, we then scored with our next attack. Andy Freeman was slipped through and almost seem to miss the opportunity as he debated whether or not to pass it or to shoot, he chose the latter and managed to slip the ball under Anderson to turn the game on it's head with two goals in under two minutes. Aveley 2-1 Grays Athletic.
As the time ticked away, Harry Gibbs was in the right place at the right time to hook the ball away off the line, despite Grays' protests it went in, the linesman was adamant it never did.
Grays' were awarded five minutes added on time, despite most of the time being accumalted from when they went 1-0 and decided to waste time, amazingly from the 69th minute to the 73rd minute, players ran towards the ball rather than kick it away and walk to take every throw-in, set-piece and goal kick. They kept bombing our area but a couple of good bits of goalkeeping from David Hughes we still had our noses ahead.
Alex Akrofi was replaced by Alex Teniola, and within a minute, and with his first (ish) touch Teniola sealed the game for the Millers. Tom Richardson with a bit of trickery got into the box, fired it across to Alex Teniola and he controlled and scored an absolute worldy from two yards out. Aveley 3-1 Grays Athletic.
Full Time | Aveley 3-1 Grays Athletic.
Attendance | 391
Millers XI | David Hughes, Garrett Kelly, Sam Mvemba, James Love, Harry Gibbs, Sam Cross, Marcus Milner (Ben Sampayo 78), Shad Ngandu (George Doyle 90), Tom Richardson, Andy Freeman, Alex Akrofi (Alex Teniola (90+1).
Unused Subs | Tony Martin, Connor Witherspoon.
Grays XI | Lloyd Anderson, Ryan Mahal, Joao Carlos, Michael Finneran, Geofrey Okonkwo, Stanley Muguo, Mitch Hahn, Ade Cole, Dennis Oli (Billy Jones 78), Aron Gordon (Michael Mignot 49), Usman Adeniji (Jack Curtis 74).
Unused Subs | Barry Cogan, Perry Dunn.