Thursday, July 30, 2009

A friendly with a bit of a bite

To be honest last night's match wasn't really a friendly as the Doug Unwin Memorial trophy was at stake as Ely took on Soham Town Rangers in a local Derby. The last time the two teams met was at Soham when Ely beat them in the Cambridgeshire Senior Cup last season.

Soham play in a league above Ely, but the opposition finall brought out the best in the Robins in what was probably their best pre-season performance. I have to say probably as I've missed a couple due to work and the Villa game.

Ely were unlucky to go in at the break one goal down to Soham. However, they battled well in the second half and Robbie Mason scored a spectacular equaliser.

The weather was dreadful, and I was alone with the kids, so I was quite thankful that the managers agreed to go straight to penalties and it did give the kids some extra entertainment. I feel that if the game had continued rather than going to penalties Ely would have probably gone on to win it. However, it wasn't to be and despite Pacey saving one of the shots Soham went on to win 5-3 on penalties.

The team finally seems to be gelling though and I think that Impey and Mason might go on to have a good season, which starts in the Eastern Counties on August 8th.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hopefully not starting how they mean to go on

Last night Ely City played Bury Town in a friendly. I wasn't expecting the Robins to beat a club who have always played at a higher level, but the result was a bit of a disappointment.

Ely went 1-0 down early on due to what was a defensive / goalkeeping error. However, they did manage to pull one back with some nice moves, but as was the case last season discipline and the defence looked a bit iffy and I know that it was a friendly, but some of the commitment shown even now was questionable. Another question has to be asked about where the manager, who is supposedly building a new team was.

As soon as Ely equalised Bury went up the other end and some foolhardy goalkeeping that would have led to a red card in a more competetive match led to a Bury penalty. Pacey did make ammends later on in the game by saving a penalty, but Ely were really outclassed. It was 3-1 at half time and 6-1 by the end of the match. Let's just hope it isn't a sign of things to come.

Ely play St.Neots on Saturday, but I'll be at work and next Tuesday they are again at home with a pre-season friendly against Soham. I'll be in London that day, so hopefully I'll get back in time

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bright future?

The Villa slogan is 'proud history and bright future', obviously having an American owner cranks up the bullshitometer a few levels, but yesterday's performance at Peterborough would suggest that the future is bright for Villa.

Villa started the game with some established players namely Brad Friedel, Carlos Cuellar, Zat Knight, Curtis Davies, Nicky Shorey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Steve Sidwell and Marlon Harewood, but by the end of the match it was virtually a youth team on the pitch. Furthermore in the starting line up it was youngsters Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan who impressed the most. It looks like Marlon Harewood's days at Villa are numbered though as he was guilty of squandering a series of chances.

Talking of squandering chances Peterborough looked good for the first 20 minutes and squandered chance after chance. However, and not wishing to be nasty as I had a good day out I think that Posh will be out of their depth in the Championship, their ground looks more like that of a league 2 club, not surprisingly as they have spent most of their history down there and are in the Championship after 2 consecutive promotions; but more worringly for them their players looked out of their depths even later in the game when they were basically playing the youth team with Osbourne and Sidwell thrown in. It seems like their big hero is George Boyd, maybe he was having an off day, but he looked and played like Juan Pablo Angel on a very bad day.

That said Boro started off well and if it wasn't for flapping in front of goal could have taken the lead. However, on 25 minutes Austrian youngster Andreas Weimann scored for Villa and from that moment on Villa dominated.

Peterborough started the second half off well, but this obviously had the effect of annoying Curtis Davies, who on 53 minutes walzed through the Posh defence before playing a one-two with Marlene Deadwood to put the ball in the back of the net. After this Villa didn't look back and on 71 minutes Steve Sidwell hammered home to make it 3-0. His prize was to stay on the pitch, as for the last 10 minutes Villa played with 10 different players to those they had started with.

A good day out especially with a fine Villa win. The Peterborough fans seemed alright and the divided programme with one half being dedicated to the Villa game and the reverse half for the Spurs game was a good idea. I wouldn't mind going there again although Peterborough can't be described as a good place for a drink or for football. The only boozer we found was a Yates's where if you didn't have a Brummie accent you were drinking orange juice or coffee. This does have its advantages though: On the drinking front the bar near the ground is welcoming to away fans and doesn't try to fleece you for a pint. On the football front the prices for league matches are about the same as some Conference teams charge and judging from the programme it shouldn't be too hard to get in if you aren't fussy about which end you go in.

Anyway, not a bad birthday game and I even got a cheesey game souvenir scarf for 2 quid

Notes on the photos from top to bottom
The main stand before the match
Brad Friedel in goal for Villa
A Villa attack
Villa do some rare second half defending

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Club focus - Peterborough United

Villa start their pre-season programme with a trip to Peterborough on Saturday and I will be in attendance, so let's have a quick look at the club known as the Posh.

In 1932 the original Peterborough team, Peterborough and Fletton United folded after being suspended by the FA.

In 1934 Peterborough United were born and made their ultimate aim to become a member of the football league, however they had to be content with starting life out in the Midland League and their ambitions of getting into the league seemed a long way off. They might have started off by adopting the nickname of Peterborough and Fletton whose nickname had come from an advertisement player manager, Pat Tirrel had put in a local paper asking for 'Posh players for a posh club', but the new team were beggars rather than playboys. They had to get a loan to play in the league and to pay to play at the London Road ground, which they still use and the original green shirts were supplied by a local clothes shop. They struggled at the start and even after the supporters' club supplied them with blue shirts in 1939 they didn't improve by much.

Peterborough's big break through came in 1960 when the Posh finally managed to gain election to the league where they took Gateshead's place in the old fourth division. In their first season in the league they gained promotion mainly due to the 52 goals Terry Bly scored.

Peterborough stayed near the top of the 3rd for the next few seasons, but in 1968 they were relegated to the basement again due to financial irregularities. In 1974 they were promoted again and in 1979 they went down again. In the mid nineties they spent a couple of seasons in the 2nd tier, which is the highest they have ever been in the league. They will again play in the second tier next season after winning promotion to the Championship at the end of last.

Last season saw them change their badge too, perhaps that isn't that unusual, but it seems that they combined the wishes of the club's historians, the local council and new kit manufacturer's Adidas.

Anyway, hopefully it will be a good day out on Saturday.

Notes on the pictures from top to bottom:
Peterborough's new crest that came in to use last season
The original crest
The original shirts donated by a local clothes shop that were worn from 1934 -39
The shirts donated by supporters in 1939
The shirts they won promotion in last season

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Look Ely?-- The pre season starts here

Last night Ely took on Cambridge United in the first pre-season game of the season.

A lot of people had predicted a new look Ely side and many thought that Trevor Munns would more or less replace the whole team. However, this didn't really come to fruition and the team that took the pitch against Cambridge was pretty much made up of players who were at the club last season. New faces included Adam Dalby, Dave Daniels (who was at the club before) and 2 trialists, Dave Werthmann from Mildenhall and Lee James from Lackenheath. Therefore it might be concluded that the biggest differences last night were the new fence all around the pitch and the new kit, which actually had the badge on it and saw the red shorts being replaced by white shorts. Oh, another big difference was that there was a crowd of 560 instead of the usual hundred-odd, but that was mainly due to the visitors being Cambridge United.

Cambridge United more or less put out 2 different teams for each half. The first half of the game being played by what was basically the starting line up for Cambridge with a couple of trialists. The second half saw Cambridge make 8 changes. Mind you, Ely also made a lot of substitutes in the second half and as there are no squad numbers in the Eastern Counties a number of players ended up with the same numbers on. I'm sure there were 3 number 12s at one point. No wonder the local journalists behind me were getting headaches, although to be honest if they spent more time watching the game in front of their eyes than discussing Chelsea they might have a better chance of putting together a match report rather than focussing on the fact that Daryl McMahon, who hasn't been given a new contract at Cambridge United, was playing.

Not surprisingly Cambridge won the game, as they are 4 steps above Ely and it was definitely a friendly match, although in the first half judging by a couple of the challenges from Chadwick and Mason on Us players it looked anything but. Mason was lucky not to get booked and I suspect he would have been in a competetive match. Ironically a trialist for Cambridge called Robbins put the visitors ahead on the half hour mark with what I have to say was a typical goal for Ely to concede: a defensive error followed up by the ball being put in between Pacey's legs.

Ely tried to respond but I don't remember thinking that in any point of the game they really looked like scoring and on 41 minutes another trialist, Amory made the score 2-0.

As I said earlier there were alot of changes made at half time by Cambridge and a lot made during the half by Ely, so in some ways it was difficult for either team to find the shape they would have liked to. Any ideas of flowing football in the second half were also put to pay by what can only be described as a monsoon taking place during most of the game. It's funny how the slightest mention of the words football and the Ashes prompts the sky to open up isn't it? Anyway, it perhaps aided Ely and stopped a rout, as you have to remember that Ely went down 1-0 to Cambridge's reserves / youth team AKA CRC twice last season, so a mixture of these kids and seasoned pros would have expected to have inflicted real pain on the Robins. The weather made sure they didn't, although Holroyd made it 3-0 in the 83rd to make sure of the result.

In conclusion there is no conclusion. The weather, the difference in levels of the two clubs and the fact that it was a friendly and the first friendly at that makes it hard to get any knowledge of how either Ely or Cambridge will play during the season.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A quick look back at last season

July 2008
The season for me started as early as July and got off to a somewhat predictable start with Dynamo beating Illychivets Mariupol in one of their customary 2-0 without breaking a sweat home victories. The following week saw Arsenal Kyiv draw 1-1 with Kryvbas Kriviy Rih in a rather lacklustre performance. The only highlights being the fact that all the lads, apart from Sid were present and that Arsenal actually scored against Kryvbas. I wasn't expecting entertainment in either of these games and I certainly didn't get it.

August 2008
August got off to a flyer with Dynamo slipping up against an inspired Metalist team in one of the best Ukrainian league games I have ever seen. The only pity was that Han wasn't there to see it. Dynamo then a few days later got a nasty fright from Drogheda in the Champions League qualifiers, but finally managed to scrape a draw and go onto win 3-2 on aggregate. What a difference a few months makes though as Drogheda are now fighting for survival, where as Dynamo stormed to the title and made it to the UEFA cup final. My final game in Ukraine came on 10th August when Arsenal drew with Zorya Luhansk at Obolon stadium. It was a bit of a depressing end to my year back in Ukraine to be honest with most Arsenal fans missing the game due to a boycott after the wrongful arrest of some ultras and those who were there didn't celebrate or make a noise. Not that there was much to make a noise about in the rather dull 1-1 draw. Trips to Obolon tend to be depressing anyway, but as I left the stadium leaving a forlorn looking Ewig behind I saw Yura Zuba fighting some small kids for posters. He obviously wanted the posters to sell on Nivkiy market. Needless to say at that point I couldn't wait to get home. Not that the football was of a great standard when I returned. The first 2 matches were Rocester games. However, the end of August saw Burton beat Lewes 5-2. Burton looked great, but it would have been difficult to predict that they would go on to win the Conference, as Lewes were already gaining a reputation for being out of their depth in this league.

September 2008
September started off with one of the biggest shocks: Rocester actually won a game in fact they easily beat Oldbury United 4-1. It would appear that Oldbury though could beat Rocester on 2 other levels by being the worst side in the Midlands Football Alliance and having even more overweight fans than the Rocester (quite literally) massive. The next game was a charity match between an All star team and a mixture of Rocester and Uttoxeter players. Needless to say that the Allstars that included several ex-pros and David Beattie ( I wonder if Sheffield United had known what he was up to) and Tony Mowbrary. Then it was another Rocester game where they were back to their old ways losing 4-1 to an impressive Coventry Sphinx side. In September I also moved down here so on 20th I ventured down for my first Ely City game, which ended in a 1-1 draw with Harwich and Parkeston. I also ventured to Cambridge City the week later but the less said about that the better.

October 2008
I started October off by subjecting Macca to a dreadful game where Ely lost to Histon Reserves and it was bloody freezing. October also saw the start of the Great Shelford saga with the electric in the town going with Ely 1-0 and only a couple of minutes remaining. The next game was a shock Ely victory over Needham Market. Ely won 3-1 and I seem to remember it was a beautiful sunny day. I thought that I had imagined that until I looked back on this site at the pictures from the time and saw that it actually was a very nice day. I also met Mick in October which changed my football experience in Ely for the better, although it was on a very cold a rain night as Ely went down 3-2 against Wisbech.

November 2008
November in general saw some unfavourable results for Ely including a 3-0 defeat to Whitton United, who eventually dropped out of the league, although I suspect they might pop up at a lower level this season. I also went to the Abbey AKA the Shabby for the first time when Phil and his glum mates came to see York lose 1-0 to a Cambridge side who were still trying to find their stride.

December 2008
December started with Ely again beating Shelford this time 5-1, again though the result didn't stand as Ely allegedly had players who should have been suspended, although it appears that this wasn't really the case. Anyway it gave us the chance to take the mickey out of their leprechaun like Physio. I just didn't realise at the time I would have another 2 chances to see him in action. Ely also lost to an impressive Lowestoft side, but I don't think one of their fans was too happy about Nadiya asking him if he was Father Chrsitmas. Highlight of the month was definitely when Cambridge played Histon on Boxing Day. It was a 2-2 draw, although Cambridge deserved to win after being 2-0 up. It was a great atmosphere though even though the public transport system did its best to prevent me from getting there.

January 2009
Again most of the results in this month were ones that weren't too favourable to Ely with the highlight coming on 27th with Ely finally ridding themselves of the Shelford demons. However, it was probably the coldest day of the year and it took extra time for them to defeat them 2-0 with Robbie Mason returning to spur the Robins on. Elsewhere I went to the Shabby twice, once Rod was there. It was good to see him after having subjected him to a poor Ely game earlier in the season. In this game Cambridge beat Woking 4-1. I also took my dad to that game and the game between Cambridge and Oxford that ended in a 1-1 draw. The tickets were cheap from work and it was slightly annoying to have to sit with part time footbal fans, who probably prefer rugger ( as they call it), but the standard was high and I expect Oxford to do better in the coming season.

February 2009
The weather in February was appaling and therefore I only made it to one game, a shock and impressive victory over Soham Town Rangers away in the 1/4 final of the Cambridge Senior Cup. The game being the prize for finally defeating Shelford. Ely won 3-2, with the large space around the ground helping Big Ben get the long throws in.

March 2009
March began with Ely going out in the semis of the Cambridge Invitation Cup against Cambridge City losing 3-2 under unfortunate circumstances. The German groundhoppers seemed friendly enough. The Cambridge City fans were their usual knobish selves. A few days later Cambridge United put a dent in Burton's promotion hopes with a 2-0 victory. Macca was up for that. Burton actually looked dreadful in that game, so hopefully they will perform better after nearly losing the automatic promotion place after a run of poor results at the end of the season. I also sort of broadend my horizons with a few trips to some other localish grounds. The first was a trip to Kings Lynn where Ely beat their reserves 2-1. Kings Lynn have a terrible reputation, but they seemed friendly enough to me without actually dispelling some Norflok stereotypes. I was impressed by the ground, so I'm a bit shocked they have been kicked out of the Blue Square North, due to the poor facilities at the Walks. The next trip was to the quaint village atmosphere of Outwell where Wisbech have been playing whilst their ground goes through redevelopment. The less said about the game the better though as Ely went down 6-1. I also visited Newmarket, who beat Fakenham 3-1. I really enjoyed this day out, although I think that the entrance and the programme reminded me of football in the ex-Soviet Union, which made me look on it favourably. That said the beer was good and the locals (apart from the fat manager, who lost it when some kids got on the pitch at half time) were friendly.

April 2009
April started with a win for Ely over Leiston. I was beginning to think that Trevor Munns was going to start working magic after taking over the manager's seat from Dennis Lightning. Leiston had had a great season in the league, FA Cup and FA vase. Some people say they had put a weak team out, maybe they had. The other 2 Ely games I went to saw them lose to Stanway and to Mildenhall (in an extremely bizzare game - check the site out for more on that one). The other game was a reserves game that Ely lost 4-2 against the old nemesis Great Shelford.

May 2009
I went to one game in May and finally it was a Villa game. It was a great day out with a great atmosphere. Unfortunately Villa lost 3-1 after an impressive season they were looking knackered.

Anyway pre-season 2009-2010 starts tomorrow. So now it's time to move on.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last Season

I said I was going to resist the temptation but I just couldn't. So here comes a bit of a round up of what happened last season.
First of all I went to 40 games, a number I doubt that I will be able to beat this season, especially with having to work quite a few Saturdays. Anyway, first of all here are the 10 teams that racked up the most points. Obviously Ely City came first just from the sheer number of games I went to.
1. Ely City p 18 w 7 d 2 l 10 f 28 a 36 pts 23
2. Cambridge United p 5 w 3 d 2 l 0 f 9 a 4 pts 11
3. Wisbech p 2 w 2 d 0 l 0 f 9 a 3 pts 6
4. Dynamo Kyiv p 3 w 1 d 1 l 1 f 5 a 4 pts 4
5. Cambridge City p 2 w 1 d 1 l 0 f 4 a 3 pts 4
6. Coventry Sphinx p 1 w 1 d 0 l 0 f 4 a 1 pts 3
7. Whitton United p 1 w 1 d 0 l 0 f 3 a 0 pts 3
8. Mildenhall Town p 1 w 1 d 0 l 0 f 4 a 2 pts 3
9. Newmarket Town p 1 w 1 d 0 l 0 f 3 a 1 pts 3
10. Fulham p 1 w 1 d 0 l 0 f 3 a 1 pts 3

Now a quick look back at the stadiums / grounds visited last season:
The Unwin Ground, Ely 17 matches
The Abbey Stadium, Cambridge 5 matches
Dynamo Stadion, Kyiv, Ukraine 4 matches
Hillsfield, Rocester 4 matches
Milton Road, Cambridge 2 matches
Obolon Stadion, Kyiv, Ukraine 1 match
The Pirelli Stadium, Burton-On-Trent 1 match
Oldfield, Uttoxeter 1 match (this was a charity match and wouldn't normally be included)
Julius Martin Lane, Soham 1 match
The Walks, Kings Lynn 1 match
The Nest, Outwell 1 match
Cricketfields, Newmarket 1 match
Craven Cottage, London 1 match

Most goals in a match: 7
30/08/08 Burton Albion 5 Lewes 2
17/03/09 Wisbech Town 6 Ely City 1

That's enough of the boring stats, but I might try and put something together on the highlights and lowlights of the season before the season sort of starts again next Tuesday

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back online

Hopefully this will be the last banal post I make, as I have finally got a new computer. Not much has been happening in the way of live football, as there hasn't been any, so I haven't missed out there. I went to Lucca for a week and apart from that the works party last week not much has happened, but there should be some football news soon with pre-season friendlies starting as soon as next week