Sunday, February 22, 2009

Semi Finals here we come

Ely booked themselves a place in the Semi finals of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup and lined up an away tie with Cambridge City after beating Soham Town Rangers on Tuesday night.

The weather was at last mild after 3 weeks without a competitive game and what seemed like an eternity of poor weather beforehand. The Robins looked dead and buried after just 17 minutes after going behind to a goals from Simpson and Richards on 10 and 17 minutes.

The sides had seemed fairly evenly matched up until then, but some diabolical defending from Ely let Soham get a couple of early goals. Ely got back into the game just before half time when Brady Stone scored from one of Ben Lawrence's long throws. Lawrence who usually gets some decent long throws into the box was further aided by the fact that there was a lot of space around the pitch at Soham and he always looked a danger from this position.

Just after half time Ely looked hungry to get back in the game and on 50 minutes Dave Smith pulled the Robins level. Ely sensed the possibility of victory and on 73 minutes Robbie Mason scored after another goalkeeping error from a long ball and set up a return to his old club Cambridge City in the Semi finals.

The last 20 minutes seemed to go on for an eternity, probably because the referee's watch had seemed to stop, but Ely managed to come away with the victory and sent us home happy - for a change.

Bad weather and no home fixtures

February has been a fairly sparse month with hardly any home fixtures and even the home fixtures all beig called off Ely won yesterday, but I was at work, so the only game so far tis month has been Soham Town Rangers V Ely City in the Cambridgeshire Cup. More of that in a moment.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Demise of Whitton United

A couple of weeks ago the demise of Whitton United was announced and their record was eradicated from the Eastern Counties League. It seems a little strange though as their reserves are playing and not doing too badly in the Reserves League, this seemed a bit starnge, so I decided to do a little bit of research. After all it was only on November 15th that Whitton beat Ely 3-0 at the Unwin ground and in the 1960s they were one of the most successful teams in Suffolk.

It would appear that their promotion when they nicked 3rd place on the last day of the season last season to get into the Premier league was a step too far for the club. The club were struggling in the Premier and were below Ely when they announced their decision to throw in the towel. The board had already left the club and the cost of bringing the ground up to scratch was estimated at £20,000 (it's a little bit worrying that Ely also have until the end of the season to bring their ground up to scratch too). At the same time Simon Betts was named player manager for the rest of the season, bt he had aready stated that he had no interest in going on beyond that. In the end he didn't take charge of a single game, as the bad weather saw the fixture list wiped out. The club made an appeal for a new chairan, but nobody was forthoming. It has been suggested that the club will make a return to the first division next season, but nobody is sure if that will happen or not yet.

One of the other worrying factors is that the club had been chosen as a member of the PASE Scheme (Programme of Academic and Sporting Excellence), which is a scheme for 16 year olds who want to get into further education and also helps players who are released from league clubs get into education and get jobs. It is now hoped that the scheme will go either to Ipswich Wanderers or Needham Market.

It's not the first time that this has happened to Whitton United, as something similar happened in the 1980s, so I think we will see them back. Leiston are probably the least happy about this as they had thrashed Whitton home and away and were putting pressure on Lowestoft for the championship. However, Lowestoft hadn't played Whitton at all and the extra 6 points seemingly puts them beyond the reach of their rivals