Sunday, November 27, 2011

Borough and Boro deadlock

Yesterday we went to London Road for the clash in the Championship between Peterborough and Middlesbrough. The first half was a bit of a disappointment. Middlesbrough are clearly a decent team and should be looking at a play-off place at the least. They were clearly the stronger side in the first half but they didn't really look like scoring, although Peterborough seemed keen to give them a helping hand with some shocking blunders in defence. That's perhaps a bit unfair as the Posh defence saw a lot of the ball in the first period with them unable to get the ball out of defence. Anyway, the half drew to an end with neither side scoring, which wasn't helped by a whistle happy ref.

The second half was a lot better, but it was Boro rather than Borough who scored first with Matthew Bates putting the visitors ahead with a header on 58 minutes. Posh fought back though and Boyd and Tomlin both came close only to be denied by Jason Steele in the Boro goal. Grant McCann had a go at several set pieces in dangerous positions, but it wasn't to be his day as most of the shots were off target with the closest him coming to the goal being a shot that hit the post. Borough finally got back into the match on 82 minutes when a superb shot from Paul Taylor flew in from the right to go into the top left corner of the goal. And that's how it finished 1-1, a bad first half, but a decent enough second half made good by Posh's never say die attitude.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Park life

Yesterday Ely were away to Brantham and the only game nearby seemed to be March v Cornard, so I decided to go to watch the reserves play Leverington Sport in the first round of the Cliff Bullan Challenge Cup. Basically it was a glorified park game. It's not often you see a right back having a fag as the game kicks off or hear a referee say 'get up you tart' when a player gets down easily,but as I still needed to pay £2.50 to go in I think that it counts as a game.

The game though was big on commitment. Ely's centre halves managed to keep Leverington at bay for most of the first half. They had a few chances themselves, but never really threatened to score. The Ely Reserves keeper did well and could perhaps step up if Lee Pacey does leave the first team. Ely didn't manage to hold on until half time though and Leverington went ahead on 41 minutes.

At half time I spoke to a couple of the A-Team players who had been playing against Cherry Hinton and had lost 8-1. It sounds like the referee had been card happy in that game with 2 sending offs and about 8 bookings. The same couldn't be said about the refereeing in the Reserves game though.

Leverington started off brightly enough in the second half, but Ely soon had them under pressure. The Leverington defence and midfield seemed able to mop up the pressure, although they were coming close to losing their cool. In fact the Leverington number 7 at times looked like he should have been cast in the prison team in 'Mean Machine' after two tackles on the Ely left back that looked designed to break his leg the left back 'accidentally' stamped on him. This ended up in some squaring up and I thought that the Leverington lad was about to throw a punch. The ref's answer: 'Shake hands'. I may have been critical of refs being too strict lately, but that was a bit too much.

Anyway, the game ended 1-0 to Leverington, which was probably fair. Ely had perhaps most of the play, but Leverington had the better chances including hitting the cross bar in the early encounters of the second half. They might have been a bit thuggish at times, but the visitors obviously want to do well in this trophy and showed a level of commitment that was higher than in the game between England and Spain in the evening. Well, the first half of the England game, as I didn't see the second half as I was at the fireworks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Comeback Kings

Yesterday Ely took on Gorleston and as has been usual of late there were plenty of goals.

Gorleston were quick out of the blocks and Lee Pacey had to get down well to block a Gorleston shot on 3 minutes. Ely soon got back into the swing of things though and Adam Wallis was unlucky to shoot wide. This led to a sustained period of pressure by Ely, but the Gorleston defence were fairly resolute and the attackers looked dangerous on the counter attack. On 20 minutes the visitors caught the Ely defence napping and were 1-0 up.

Ely continued to pile on the pressure and Gorleston continued to mop it up and on 38 minutes things went from bad to worse for the Robins when a well worked move from the Gorleston players led to a second goal and it looked like Ely would be lucky to get anything out of the game. If they were to get anything it was probably necessary that they got something in the first half.

Luckily Ely did strike back quickly and a Ben Lawrence throw was flicked on by Adam Murray and Luke Parkinson was on hand to prod home. 2-1 at half time might not have been to bad for Ely, but they managed to do better than that and get back on level terms before the break. Just one minute after getting Ely's first goal Luke Parkinson managed to win the ball just in Gorleston's half to run down the left and slot the ball home to make it 2-2.

Ely started the second half looking to get ahead for the first time in the game and Luke Parkinson could have had his hat trick in the first minute if the ball hadn't gone just wide. On 48 minutes Chadwick had a chance of a tap in, but he somehow managed to hit the post when it would have been easier to score.

At the time it looked like Ely might live to regret those chances when the Gorleston number 7 had two great chances on 51 and 57 minutes, but on both occasions he couldn't keep his balance and put the ball wide.

The Robins did finally get the lead though on 61 minutes when a goal line scramble from a corner was prodded home. It was difficult to see who got the last touch, but I think that it was Adam Wallis.

After surrendering a 2 goal lead to go 3-2 down Gorleston were obviously feeling dejected and Ely started to really dominate. Chadwick came close on 69, but the ball was not going in the net for him on the day. Ely did get another goal though when on 79 Ely were awarded a penalty for a hand ball in the box. I don't know what the statistics are, but I think that Ely have probably been given more penalties than any other club in the league, but have also probably got the worst conversion rate. Therefore nobody looked like they were willing to take it and the crowd were suggesting that Lee Pacey should abandon his goal and take it. In the end Josh Bridgeman showed the courage and converted with a well taken penalty.

In the last 10 minutes Gorleston seemed to wake up, however they didn't really threaten the Ely goal, so thankfully we didn't have our hearts in our mouths and luckily the referee ignored a couple of ludicrous penalty appeals by Gorleston. Another game and another 6 goals at the Unwin. Ely 4 Gorleston 2