Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More extra time

I don't know why, but every time Ely have a midweek game that's in a cup the game always goes to extra time. We had the never ending story of Shelford last season, an epic fight against Soham away and a cheerless end to the Cambridgeshire Cup run on a very cold and wet evening at Cambridge City and then there were the heroics of the game against Diss last week.

Last night Ely took on Kings Lynn Reserves in the Ridgeon's League Cup Preliminary Round. For most of the match Ely dominated and a Robbie Mason goal separated the teams after a defensive error in the first half. Ely continued to dominate, but with 3 minutes left disaster struck again and Kings Lynn sent the game into extra time.

I'm not proud of myself, but as Mick wasn't there, I'd had a day off work the day before with a heavy cold and getting home at midnight after another disappointing game didn't fill me with much joy. So for the first time since in 1996 when I was at a Moscow Spartak game that went into extra time in temperatures of about minus 20 and was on course to finish at about midnight I left a game early. Football God will strike me down!

I didn't miss a dramatic end though. Well maybe I did, the game finished 1-1, but Ely went through on penalties.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not impressed

Yesterday Ely took on Wivenhoe Town in what could already be billed as a relegation battle. Wivenhoe are a team who have been sinking like a brick over the last few seasons and the position they are in at the moment doesn't suggest that they will be in the Ridgeons Premier last season.

In the game Ely had most of the ball and just couldn't score, unfortunately the fans and the players decided to take their frustrations out on each other in a way that wasn't big or clever. Brady Stone was sent off late on for a tackle that most people would say he was lucky not to break his opponents leg. I'd rather say that he was unlucky, as his intention was clearly to break the strikers leg.

In the end Robbie Mason came off the bench again to score the winner 4 minutes from time, but let's be honest this was football at its worst

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goal fest in Ely

Some things on Tuesday night when Ely took on Diss in the replay of the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Vase. Autumn was back with some football in the dark for the first time in months and a cup tie at the Unwin ended in extra time, as it did on so many ocassions last season. However, after the last Ely match I went to ended in 0-0 at Newmarket, Tuesday night's game ended in a goal fest. As may have been predicted the Diss player pictured in the club focus for Diss, Xavier Huckle, who is pictured in the club focus below did score against Ely again. In fact he scored 4 times, but it wasn't enough to save Diss.

Trevor Munns has stepped down as Ely manager and now Dennis Lightning has taken control of the team again at least for the time being at least and he got off to a winning start.

We predicted a lot of goals from the start when Grant Robbins scored after only a couple of minutes. However, we had to wait until the second half until Ely managed to extend their lead when Nick Impey put the second goal in just after the break.

As we have come to expect though Ely can easily snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and Huckle pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later to make it 2-1, and yes it was a defensive error that led to the goal.

Ely hadn't finished though and on 72 minutes Impey struck again and our legs were getting all trembly thinking of Wembley. 3-1 up with about 15 minutes left, could Ely possibly cock it up? Course they could. 2 late goals again by Huckle sent the game into extra time and Diss seemed to have the impetus.

It really looked like Ely had blown it when Huckle scored his and Diss's 4th in extra time. He went mad and got booked for taking his shirt off. David Ginola he certainly wasn't.

Time for Robbie Mason to step up though and like he did last year in a cup game against Shelford he scored 2 goals and Ely ran out 5-4 winners. Bring on Eynesbury Rovers in the next round

Monday, September 21, 2009

Club focus -- Diss Town

Tomorrow night Ely have a second round replay in the FA Vase against Diss Town after a 2-2 draw in Diss at the weekend. Diss are currently second in division 1 of the Eastern Conties league, while Ely are struggling in the Premier. Diss also have a bit of a history in this competition after winning the FA Vase in 1994, but it's a long way from Wembley yet!

Diss were formed in 1888 and one hundred years later they became founder members of division 1 of the Eastern Counties League. They have played in the Eastern Counties since, but from 1993 to 2006 they played in the Premier division. This year they will probably be hoping to gain promotion and last year despite missing out on promotion did win the division 1 league cup.

Famous faces at Diss have included ex-Norwich and Chelsea player Robert Fleck, who managed the team until being replaced in 2008 and Mathew Upson, who is from the town, but I'm not sure if he has any connections to the club.

The nickname of Diss is the tangerines, they are the only club apart from Blackpool that I can name in England that wear this particular colour. Their badge is representative of the town's coat of arms that are connected with the River Raveney that runs through the town and is famous for shrimps.

The photo above shows Huckle celebrating after scoring the equakising goal with Ely that led to the game ending 2-2. Let's hope we see none of that tomorrow

Another Villa win and another Pompey defeat

On Saturday I went to Villa v Portsmouth, and it was Villa's 4th consecutive league win and Portsmouth made it their 6 defeat out of 6 a record in the Premier League.

Villa controlled most of the game without having to break too much of a sweat. The first half was all Villa and the pressure finally paid off when Stylian Petrov was upended in the area and James Millner scored from the spot. Villa continued to pile on the pressure and it again paid off when Gabby Agbonlahor scored a beautiful goal on 43 minutes. It was almost over at half time, but as usual, or as it seems as usual Villa didn't finish them off in the second half.

There were chances for Milllner, Sidwell and Ashley Young in the second half, but Pompey probably had the best of the chances. The statistics say they had more shots on goal, but some stout defending from Richard Dunne and James Collins along with Brad Friedel and his magic magnet gloves meant that they never looked like breaking the Villa down, and that's how it finished 2-0 to the Villa.

Other events included a couple of drinks with some Pompey fans outside Tesco, seeing the Pompey weirdo who they always publish when they want to show how mad Portsmouth fans are and David James making a fool of himself trying to juggle a ball when the game had been stopped.

All in all a good day out and a great result.

The pictures show Steve Sidwell having a shot and Gabby celebrating his goal.

Lack of camera

I haven't actually had a lack of camera recently. I just haven't been to any new grounds, so I haven't actually taken any photos at recent games. I'll try and remedy that situation soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't mess with Football God from Kyiv to Newmarket

Football God is a figment of my and Phil's imagination. He was always there looking over you awarding hardcore football fandom and punishing the fair weather fan. The funny thing was that it actually seemed to work. If you went to the trouble of going 100 miles for a meaningless Ukrainian 2nd division game with no public transport back to Kyiv, you could rely on Football God to provide a sunny day with plenty of goals and a free lift home with a friendly truck driver who was making a delivery to Kyiv (true story). Similarly if Tatarchuk went home early because the game was dull or the weather was bad the last 20 minutes would be a flurry of goals and excitement. He certainly rewarded the faithful and punished the weak.

So when I entertained Joe on Saturday and had a football free weekend and Ely won 7-1 and Cambridge won 7-0, I was expecting the worse when I went to Newmarket for the game against Ely on Tuesday night. And surprise, surprise the final score was Ely City 0, Newmarket Town 0. See what I meas about Football God (come on play along with the joke a bit).

To be honest, I can't really complain as it was the first 0-0 I have seen since Arsenal Kyiv drew with FK Kharkiv on 17th May 2008, so that's a lot of games with goals. The weather was also very good and both teams put in a lot of effort in what was a very well balanced game. It must also be remembered that it was the first time I had ever seen Lee Pacey keep a clean sheet and indeed the first time I had ever seen an Ely team keep a clean sheet.

Ely dominated the first half, but Newmarket were able to keep Mason and Impey quiet with some good zonal defending that didn't allow for much manouevering around the box. The first 20 minutes of the second half were dominated but Newmarket, but when one of the Newmarket players fouled Brady Stone and then got lippy with the ref, he was given his marching orders and the balance was tipped back in the favour of the Robins. However, despite some good chances Newmarket didn't cave in and just before the whistle a superb save from Pacey saved the day for Ely.

A 0-0 draw, but an entertaining evening out with a good solid performance from 2 teams who hopefully won't struggle at this level against some of the richer clubs.

CSKA Kyiv go belly up

I was texted on Saturday by Phil to let me know that CSKA had finally called it a day. I won't go into the details too much here, as I have talked about CSKA and what they meant to me in several places on this site.

After Arsenal took their place in the top division it was always going to be a struggle for survival. There was then the problem with their ground (photographed on this site and you can look at through the tags) which saw them having to play at Dynamo's training ground at Chapaevka, outside of Kyiv. When I was there they got relegated to the regional 2nd league. Most people thought that they wouldn't take part in the 2nd division last season, but they did and just missed out on promotion. However, they didn't seem to have the finances and stomach to face another season down there and it's shocking to think that 8 years ago they were knocking Red Star Belgrade out of the UEFA Cup.