Although it might be known locally as the shabby, Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium feels like Wembley when you are watching Step 5 football. Last night Ely City took on CRC at the Abbey in the Eastern Counties League Premier and again there were plenty of goals and unlike in recent seasons they weren't all in Ely's net.
The game started off in the drizzle and the referee seemed likely to be the star of the game after booking Richard Chadwick for diving in an innocuous looking place on the pitch and stopping the game twice as two Ely players were showing the bottom of black shorts under their red shorts, which must have 'clashed' with the black shorts of CRC. And that was about all that happened in the first 25 minutes. During this period CRC put some nice passes together and Ely showed a decent level of commitment and tenacity, but nobody showed any real ability to put a decent shot on target. Then CRC got a penalty out of nowhere, literally out of nowhere as when the player went down the nearest Ely defender seemed to be a yard away from him. CRC converted the penalty and it was 1-0. Nothing much else happened in the first half, although Diaper had a decent enough chance on 35 minutes that just went wide and the Parkinson brothers put some nice moves together on 40 that could have led to a goal, but didn't.
The second half started off a lot more livelier and Ely pushed for an equaliser with Chadders coming close on 56, but they were struggling against the referee who was being easily hoodwinked by some sneaky moves by the CRC team. However on 62 minutes the referee gave another soft penalty, but this time to Ely. Unfortunately, Luke Parkinson's penalty was saved. Ely continued to press though and one minute later David Wilson scored and it was 1-1.
Things started to be moving in Ely's favour and on 67 minutes one CRC player managed to pick up 2 yellow cards in a minute and the team were down to 10 men. One minute later and Chadders was on target for the Robins to put them 2-1 up.
The lead didn't last for long though and on 70 minutes CRC were back in it when a thunderous shot from distance flew into Ely's goal. There was nothing much that Lee Pacey could have done to stop it and it could quite easily be Eastern Counties league goal of the season. Things were to get even better for CRC and worse for Ely when on 77 a CRC forward, who should have been stopped, found his way into the box and was tripped. They were successful from the spot again and it looked like Ely would be going home without any points.
Ely weren't done for and Taz was on for his super sub role while David Wilson was getting more and more into the game after being away for a few weeks and together the pressure they were exerting on CRC paid off on 88 minutes when Impey slotted home to make it 3-3 and salvage a point.
A good performance, but it does raise the question of when are they going to give Taz a start.