Saturday, February 26, 2011


Well, I got out of examining today, the family are away and what could be more perfect but a day out at the football?

However, despite being in London for the last few days where the weather was fine I came back to a soaked East Anglia and most of the local stuff if it isn't off already will be by kick off time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Old fashioned football

Last night Ely took on Wroxham in what could only be called by the media as a good old fashioned game of football. The game was played in the freezing cold on a pitch that has seen better days, especially after a few days of torrential rain and was big on commitment and the more physical side of the game. I wasn't sure whether to applaud the referee for letting the game flow or be a bit appauled for him only giving out two yellow cards and a straight red. The only thing that the game lacked was a few goals. In fact there weren't any goals, but it was an entertaining enough affair and Ely would probably have settled for a 0-0 draw before the game started.

As I suggested before there were a lot of hard tackles going in during the game, some which were fair, but would have probably been penalised at a higher level and some which were definitely outside the laws of football. One criticism that could be levelled towards Wroxham is that they gave away a lot of freekicks that put their defence under pressure. The first chance for Ely that came from a free kick was after 5 minutes when Chadwick came close but couldn't quite get the ball on target. Wroxham had a good chance themselves to go ahead on 9 minutes, but the final shot was fairly feeble and didn't worry Lee Pacey in the Ely City goal. Ely then had a chance on 11 minutes, but Robbie Mason's shot glanced across the goal, the chance again coming about due to a free kick.

The middle part of the first half was most characterised by battles in midfield that showed a lot of passion, but didn't lead to many meaningful chances. The next chance came on 29 minutes when Wroxham put the ball into the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed. If the Yachtsmen of Wroxham felt a bit hard done by after that decision then Ely also felt aggrieved just 2 minutes later when they were denied what looked like a clear cut penalty. That wasn't the end of the action for the half though, as on 39 minutes Wroxham had another chance to go ahead, but the shot that was well placed towards the bottom left hand corner of Lee Pacey's net was well saved by the keeper. Ely retaliated with a chance of their own 2 minutes later, but Robbie Mason was unable to get the ball into the back of the net either.

The second half more or less continued in the same vane. Chadwick was fouled on 50 minutes, which led to another chance for the Robins, which again didn't find its way into the back of the net. There was one difference though as on 53 minutes the referee finally found his cards and yellow carded a Wroxham player, which was probably just luck, as it could have been 5-5 on the card count with a different referee. Wroxham were unperturbed and after dealing with the resulting free kick had a chance to go ahead, however Ely hit them on the break in turn and Nick Impey was unlucky to score at the other end.

The next meaningful chance came on the 64th minute when Ebanks-Blake, who had come on for Andy Pettit flicked the ball on from (you guessed it) a free kick, but none of the Ely players in the six yard box were able to connect. Wroxham themselves came close on 69, but it didn't seem to worry Ely unduly.

On 74 minutes after some arguing in the box a bit of argy bargy ended in one of the Wroxham players hitting an Ely player in the face, I don't know who because I think that me and the referee were the only two people in the ground who missed the incident. The linesman however did see what had happened and the Wroxham sub who had been on for all of 10 minutes was given his marching orders. On 84 minutes Chadwick was the next victim of some over zealous defending and limped off the pitch, the defender on this occasion escaped a booking though. The last meaningful chance of the game came a minute later when Wroxham broke down the left for the first time in the half. In fact I think that probably 90% of the play in the second half was down Ely's left and Wroxham's right. Luckily this change of emphasis didn't have an adverse result on Ely though and the game ended 0-0. A game that was small on goals but big on entertainment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Club Focus -- Wroxham

It's been a quietcouple of weeks on the live football front, although there has been plenty of it on the TV. Last Saturday I was working and yesterday there wasn't much locally on and most of the matches got hit by the torrential rain. So it was good news when I heard that Ely have got a rearranged match against Wroxham on Tuesday.

It's going to be a tricky game for the Robins against one of the in form sides of the Eastern Counties League. Wroxham are currently in second place in the League and have been consistently in the top 6 for the last 20 years. Last year they also reached the FA Vase final where they lost to to Whitley Bay.

Wroxham were formed in 1892 by a Mr.G.E Preston who was the ex-captain of the Norfolk team. Their original colours were pink and black, so the current players are probably glad that at some point in the past they changed their colours to blue and white. They did however also gain the nickname 'The Yachtsmen' pretty early on in their history and they are still known by this nickname today.

After spending their formative years playing just friendlies and also taking part in the East Norfolk League and the Norwich City Junior League they joined the East Anglian League in 1935. However, after a few financial problems they dropped down to the Norwich and District League in the 1950s.

Things got better for them eventually though and in 1963 they became one of the founding members of the Anglia Combination. Their first piece of silverware came in 1975 when they won the Norwich Junior Cup. In 1982 they were crowned Anglia Combination Champions and didn't relinquish the trophy for four years. in 1986 they had the chance to make it 5 in a row, however they narrowly missed out, but in '87 they won it again. They also had a considerable amount of success in the league's cup competition winning the knock out trophy in '81,'83,'85 and '87.

In 1989 Wroxham embarked on a new challenge when they joined the newly formed first division of the Eastern Counties League, but if people expected them to struggle they were proved wrong, as Wroxham won the league in its inaugral season and were promoted to the Premier Division.

After finishing 12th in their first season in the ECL Premier Wroxham stepped up to the next level and in 1992 were crowned Champions winning the league with a record 99 points. In 1993 they retained the Championship and their reserves also won the Anglia Combination 1st division. In 1994 they made it a hat-trick of wins . And the trophy came home to Wroxham for a fourth time in 1998, when they narrowly pipped Ely to the title. In 1999 they came close again, but they finished runners up to the rising stars of the league at the time, Histon.

In 2000 Wroxham won the Norfolk Senior Cup at Carrow Road, but it was going to be a lean few years as AFC Sudbury started to dominate the league for the next five years. Lowestoft won the league in 2006 and then Wroxham again won the trophy in 2007.

They are again challenging for the championship and are going to make it difficult for Ely on Tuesday, although I think that Leiston will rpobably run out League Champions.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Windy City

Yesterday Ely took on CRC in a fixture that Ely hardly ever get anything from. However, Cambridge United parted with their manager Martin Ling and this had ramifications for CRC, so it was probably the best chance Ely had of registering a result against an even younger than usual CRC side.

The weather was warm for the time of year but the wind speed, which had seen the market in the city being abandoned meant that the game was always going to be played under difficult circumstances.

Ely were playing against the wind in the first half, however CRC never really looked like capitalising on their advantage, despite Ely keeper Lee Pacey doing his best to help them out by booting the ball in the wind under every opportunity. CRC could also have perhaps considered themselves lucky not to have been down to 10 men when a late, late tackle on Ebanks-Blake was punished only by a yellow card. It was arguable if he was the last man, but the lateness of the tackle would have been dealt with more seriously by a different referee on a different day. That was on 14 minutes and just 2 minutes later Ely had the only clear cut chance of the half with some good work in the area by Mason and Impey went unrewarded. All in all the game in the first half was a bit of a stalemate with both teams struggling in the wind, although as I said CRC should have taken more advantage of having the wind behind them.

Ely could not be accused of not using the wind to their advantage in the second half. Robbie Mason put the Robins ahead from the spot on 53 minutes after the inexperienced CRC defence gave away a bit of a soft penalty when Mason was brought down by a fairly inocuous challenge. Two minutes later and Ely were 2 up when James Wallis got on the end of a cross. Things continued to get better when Dave Wilson (formerly Dave Smith) used the wind to his advantage to put in a free kick that eluded everyone and went straight into the back of the CRC net from 35 yards. 65 minutes gone and the Robins were 3 up

Ely don't like to make it easy for themselves, as I've said on several hundred occassions in the past and and from the kick off after Wilson's goal Eades went down the other end and scored to make it 3-1. However this time Ely clinged on and Andy Petit, on for Ebanks-Blake, despite seeming to have lost his pace continued to make it difficult for CRC. The game finished 3-1, which was a good result and a good performance was put in. Some people might say it was even a shock result, as I notice that I was the only person on the Eastern Counties Forum Predictions League to have it down as a home win.