Thursday, June 2, 2011

End of season round up

July
The season started off for me almost as soon as the uninspiring World Cup had finished with a friendly on 9 July where cash strapped Histon took on Ipswich Town in a hastily arranged friendly. Ipswich put out a strong team and Histon had barely been able to summons a starting 11. Not surprisingly Ipswich ran out 6-0 winners.

On the 19th Villa took on Posh at London Road in what seems to be becoming a yearly fixture. Villa ran out 3-2 winners.

Elsewhere Ely looked good in preseason winning 3 out of 4 of the games that I saw them play in preseason in July.

Highlights: The games between Histon and Ipswich and Peterborough and Villa.
Lowlights: The fact that Villa at this stage looked like they were losing their way a bit. The writing on the wall for the in most parts poor season seemed to be on show in the somewhat lacklustre performance.
Heroes: He might be on his bike from Villa Park soon, but Ashley Young gave it is all in the game at Peterborough. For Ely Kentoh Gray looked like he was going to be an inspired signing. This didn't really transpire, but he put in some great performances in preseason.
Villains: James Millner and his continued moaning was really starting to grate by now.

August

Ely continued their good form in August with a fine 4-1 win over Soham in the Doug Unwin Memorial game to take the trophy back to the city. They also recorded fine wins at home over Stanway, Histon Reserves and defeated Wroxham on penalties in the FA Cup.

I also recorded my first visit to London Road to see a league game and Posh didn't disappoint with a fine 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers. And I also saw Cambridge defeat Eastbourne Borough 2-0 in the Conference.

Highlights: Some fine performances by Ely especially in the cup against Wroxham and the style of their victory against Soham. Peterborough also impressed against Bristol Rovers.
Lowlights: Ely not managing to finish off Wroxham in normal time and the fact that they weren't presented with the trophy after beating Soham.
Heroes: Boyd, McLean and McCann at Peterborough put in an outrageously good performance. Lee Pacey in goals for Ely against Wroxham saved 2 penalties in the shoot out and converted another.
Villains: Whoever it was for Soham who didn't bring the trophy to the game at the Unwin, 'hand it over Soham Town'.

September

All the games I saw in September featutred Ely City with 3 games being played at the Unwin and another at Great Yarmouth's Wellesley Road ground. Ely seemed determined to make it a bad month by going out of the FA Vase and FA Cup in the space of four days before losing to Dereham in the league and then finally gaining a draw away at Yarmouth.

Highlights: A trip to Yarmouth and their fine ground even if the weather was iffy to say the least.
Lowlights: The two cup defeats.
Heroes: Adam Murray was showing why he had been linked to higher level clubs than Ely and put in some great performances in central defence.
Villains: I hate to say but Dennis Lightning, who had always been a great servant to Ely City got it completely wrong in the two cup games and stepped down from the management hotseat shortly after.

October

Ely continued to look less than impressive in October and I was witness to two defeats and a draw. Elsewhere I saw Soham draw 0-0 with Daventry and Fulham beat Wigan.

Highlights: Winning the golden goal prize with a card that read 'no goal scorer' at Soham. I'm glad that we didn't rush to leave with a 50 quid prize.
Lowlights: Ely going out of the last cup competition they were in, the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup, by losing 5-2 to Fulbourn Institute, of all people.
Heroes: Fulham FC for lowering the price of entry to the Wigan game to a very reasonable £5.
Villains: Ely City for charging the full £6 to see the reserves go out to a team from their own league.

November / December
There were two real villains over these 2 months. The first one being the bloody weather. Winter came early and there were hardly any games played over the whole of the two month period. When Ely did finally manage to get a game on I had to go to work (the other villain of the piece).

I only managed to get to one game in November and one game in December. However in these 2 games I saw 12 goals. Unfortunately, Peterborough and Cambridge were both on the wrong ends of 5-1 spankings against Charlton and Mansfield respectively.

January
January, which is traditionally the month when all the games are called off was slightly milder. Well, in fact it was absolutely freezing, but at least some clubs managed to get some games on and I managed to get to five different games at four different grounds. In the two local derbies Ely managed to beat Newmarket at home and were unlucky to lose at Mildenhall. In the FA Cup I saw Fulham beat Peterborough 6-2 and I also got to see Thetford draw with Ipswich Wanderers and beat Long Melford.

Highlights: Peterborough never let you down when it comes to serving up a goalfest, even if they sometimes let in more than they score. I was also really glad to stumble upon Thetford Town, who did well to keep matches on when most other clubs in East Anglia were really struggling.
Lowlights: Ely losing to Mildenhall after dominating for most of the game.
Heroes: Matt Blake of Thetford Town for the winner against Melford; the Eastern Counties Discussion Forum for being such a great source of information.
Villains: Whoever edits the Mildenhall programme; the officials and fans of Long Melford. I didn't have any direct dealings with them but they seem like bad losers who like dishing it out, hut can't take it.

February
February was another fairly quiet month with a combination of bad weather and work preventing me from getting to that many games. Ely City recorded a fine win against CRC in extremely blustery conditions and recorded a hard fought 0-0 draw with Wroxham.

Highlights: Two very good performances from Ely, especially in the 0-0 draw with the might Wroxham.
Lowlights: The bad weather that led to yet more waterlogged pitches.
Heroes: Alan Allsop seemed to be finally get the best of the players at his disposal.
Villains: Nobody really unless someone is responsible for the weather.

March

In March I saw King's Lynn win a place in the FA Vase Semi final, Ely record another 0-0 draw, this time against Norwich United and Rocester beat Friar Lane & Epworth.

Highlights: The big crowd and fine performance at King's Lynn.
Lowlights: Yet another 0-0 draw at Ely. I shouldn't moan though as at least they seemed to have got over the habit of letting goals in at the death.
Heroes: Robbie Harris and Sam Langston put in great performances for King's Lynn and Rocester respectively. It was also great to see Dynamo knock out Chavchester Citeh in the Europa League.
Villains: I was at the King's Lynn game when Robbie Mason finally completely lost it after getting sent off for Ely. Nobody can doubt his talent, but the team have performed better since he went.

April

As I said above the departure of Robbie Mason was a blessing in disguise and in April I saw them undefeated in four. Elsewhere I saw King's Lynn beat Rothwell Corinthians.

Highlights: A great win for Ely when they beat Brantham 4-1 and the way they finished off the season with a fine 3-1 victory over Great Yarmouth.
Lowlights: The general knackerdness of the players as they reached the end of the season and finally had nothing to play for apart from pride. This was most obvious at King's Lynn where the players knew they were finishing second with no chance of promotion after having played 10 or 11 games a month over the previous few.
Heroes: Willy and Kate, I'm fairly anti-Royal family if I have any opinion at all on them, but having the day off for their wedding after a trip to Lynn was something to thank them for.
Villains: The weather was great and the football was playe din good spiritts, there was nothing to complain about.

May

Villa, Ebbsfleet and Peterborough were on the agenda in May. Villa recorded a disappointing draw against Wigan, although they then went on to beat Arsenal and Liverpool. At Ebbsfleet and Peterborough I saw the home teams win their places in the finals of their play-offs.

Highlights: Ebbsfleet's victory over Chelmsford and Peterborough's over MK Dons were real treats. It was also good to see them go on to beat Farnborough and Huddersfield respectively wo win promotion.
Lowlights: It's a pity Villa couldn't find a winner against Wigan
Heroes: All the people at MyFC who made my trip to Ebbsfleet such a great day out and for their help with a project at work. Peterborough United also deserve a mention for a great day out.
Villains: He started off a hero, but Ashley Young and the way he's pimping himself to ManUre and Liverpool has a distinct feeling of De ja vu. As long as he doesn't go to City like Barry and Millner though.

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