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.