Last night, as I have already said in the post below Ely City were at March Town United for the Preliminary Round of the Eastern Counties League Cup. Last week I said it was a bargain as we had a bounty of goals and extra time in the game in the FA Cup against Needham Market. We also had a bounty of goals and extra time last night (no surprise on the extra time front, eh?) but as the bloke in the paper shop said this morning it wasn't a good game.
Nothing much happened in the first 20 minutes of the game with neither team seeming like they were particularly up for it. March had a shot stray just wide on 8 minutes and Nick Impey had a decent shot for the Robins on 11, but it all felt a little half-hearted. Ely did get a breakthrough on 20 minutes though when a long free kick from Ely keeper Lee Pacey took a bizarre deflection off a March defenders head sending the ball rocketing in the air and into the back of his own yet. If there had been a cameraman there it would have definitely been a candidate for 'What happened next?'
Going behind seemed to spur the home team on though and 3 minutes later the Hares were on level pegging when a beautifully taken free kick whizzed into the back of the Ely net. This was probably the best period of the game and on 28 minutes Josh Bridgeman scored a brilliant long range goal to put Ely back in the lead.
The period of interest was soon over though and the only two other moments of excitement were on 35 minutes when Pacey was beaten by a March attacker, but he hit the post and a reckless tackle on Austen Diaper on 42 could have easily been a red.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were as uneventful as the first 10 minutes of the first half and then Ely from the Premier started to turn the screw on their first division opponents. On 54 minutes Impey had the ball in the March net, but it was offside and he knew it. Ely also had a gilt edge chance on 59 minutes and the ball was going in, but Ben Lawrence tried to make sure it was going in by helping with his head and inadvertently headed it over. Impey came close again on 62 and then the inevitable happened.
On 77 minutes the Ely defence did a perfect impression of a set of garden furniture and March, against the run of play had their equaliser. We all knew now that the game was going into extra time and despite the unseasonably hot weather both sets of players wanted it over in normal time, but their desperation let them down and neither side could breakthrough despite a decent attempt by Dalby for Ely on 86.
Extra time started off brightly for Ely and the introduction of Taz Chisonga on the wing for ely soon paid dividends. 3 minutes into extra time Taz picked out Diaper with an inch perfect cross for him to put Ely in the lead and then 3 minutes later he had a shot from the left wing that beat the March keeper to make it 4-2. Ely now finally were showing some dominance and could have won 5-2 when they were awarded a penalty at the start of the second period of extra time, however Sam Parkinson's shot bounced off the cross bar and over the wire netting into somebody's garden. That was it 4-2 and a home tie in the next round, but despite the result not the greatest game with Taz's supersub performance probably being the highlight.