Ely got the New Year off with a home win today against local rivals Mildenhall Town and despite Ely sitting in 3rd and Mildenhall being in the lower half of the table it wasn't all one way traffic.
For the first 20 minutes Ely did dominate possession and the long throw ins from Ben Lawrence and Lewis McDonald as well as a number of corners for Ely put Mildenhall under the kosh. Mildenhall on the other hand couldn't really get past the Ely offside trap or Ben Lawrence who was in impressive form in central defence. That said the only real chance that Ely had came on 19 minutes when Austen Diaper tried to connect with Richard Chadwick, but some how the ball didn't go in.
Mildenhall then started to get into the game and appeared to have a shout for a penalty when the ball bounced up and hit McDonald's arm. The decision could have been ball to hand or hand to ball. The referee decided to rule in Ely's favour much to the outrage of the Hall fans in the crowd. Things could have got worse for Hall as the ball went up the other end and Chadwick fed Diaper, who should really have had the ball in the back of the net. McDonald clearly wasn't having the best of it though as the ball was soon back in the Ely area and his slip would have let Hall take the lead if it hadn't been for a great save from Lee Pacey.
The last 15 minutes of the first half were pretty even with both teams having chances, but none of them really threatening. Mildenhall's best chance came on 37 minutes when they seemed to have another penalty shout when Pacey came to save and the onrushing Hall forward fell to the ground. For Ely Adam Murray had a great chance on 40 minutes, but the ball went over and on 41 he came close again with a towering header from a corner.
The second half started off with Ely having most of the possession in the opening encounters, but like in the first half Mildenhall got back into it. Mildenhall looked like they might beat the trap, but again Lawrence was keeping them at bay. For Ely Austen Diaper came really close after some great work from McDonald, but again he was foiled at the last hurdle.
Ely did finally get the winner on 77 minutes when Chadwick headed in a through ball and then managed to hold on to what they had. A good if not great performance with Chadwick, Lawrence and Stuart Walker all having good games and Lee Pacey also looked solid in the goal when he was called upon.