Sunday, March 25, 2012

Photos from the second half CRC v Wroxham

At least this includes a photo of CRC on the attack.

Photos from the first half CRC v Wroxham

The photos here all show Wroxham on the attack and one where they have just missed the target. It was impossible to take any photos of CRC attacks because of the angle of the sun.

Photos from CRC V Wroxham

Here follows a few photos from CRC V Wroxham. This one is from the team line up.

Spring at the Abbey

Yesterday we saw a game that led to Ely going back to the top of the league without seeing Ely play. The game in question was CRC V Wroxham at the Abbey.

It was the first footballing Saturday of Spring and when the weather improves at the tail end of the season the local non-league football starts to deteriorate, mainly because the teams I follow never have much to play for. This season is different though with Ely challenging at the top of the Eastern Counties Premier and Thetford going for promotion from the first. They both have finals to look forward to with Ely taking on Soham in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup and Thetford facing Gorleston in the Norfolk Cup.

Yesterday CRC who are in 4th might have been excused for taking their foot off the pedal a bit, especially after a fixture full couple of weeks and playing on a particularly hot day. Wroxham on the other hand have everything to play for and are hopeful of promotion to the Ryman League.

Therefore it was a bit of a shock that CRC started as the sharper of the two teams and looked most like taking the game by the scruff of the neck in the opening encounters. However, despite Luke Allen's good work on the right wing Ryan Ingrey and Yacine Gnahore in the middle were unable to force a save from Scott Howie. Wroxham hit the target on 11 minutes, but Alex Salsano did well to save for CRC.

Wroxham, who started to get more in the game had the ball in the back of the net on 20 minutes, but the Wroxham forward was judged to have handled the ball before scoring. Wroxham were now clearly in the mood and some excellent defending by CRC on 25 minutes and some desperate defending on 36 denied the Yachtsmen from taking the lead. A minute later they should definitely have taken the lead, but the cross that came in alluded everyone and went wide.

CRC weren't finished either though and a cross from Allen was nearly met by Ingrey on 41 minutes. Wroxham had one more chance in the half, but Salsano again pulled off an impressive save.

The second half saw CRC start the way they had started the first. Luke Allen was clearly the most dangerous of the CRC players, but nobody seemed able to get on the end of his crosses. After the opening quarter of an hour CRC started shooting on site, which didn't seem to be the best approach. They were really dominating the play now though and Wroxham's first chance of the half came on 66 minutes when they blasted over.

Finally a goal came on 70 minutes when Ingrey and Allen swapped places and Ingrey's cross was struck sweetly on the volley and went cleanly past Howie. They tried the same move in the next attack and they could have easily put the game to bed, but this time Howie saved and the score remained 1-0 to the Scholars.

Wroxham haven't got where they are in the table by giving up and not fighting for every game, so it was quite surprising that CRC continued to dominate after scoring the goal. The best chance came with 9 minutes left when Allen again crossed and the ball nearly went in off a defender.

In the last minute Wroxham sent everyone up for a corner, but CRC cleared and Owen Kabodi could have scored but in his haste fouled a defender and the game finished 1-0 CRC. Ely won at Stanway and regained pole position in the run in.

Highlights from Ely City v Royston Town

Thursday, March 22, 2012

We're all going to the Shabby

On Tuesday night Ely took on Royston in the semifinal of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup. Ely might be top of the Eastern Counties, but Royston are top of the Southern Midland League and are well in control at the top. Added to that they swatted aside Thetford in the FA Vase earlier this season, so it was never going to be the easiest of games for the Robins.

In fact things got off to a pretty poor start with Royston's big centre half scoring from a corner after just 3 minutes. It was just the wake up call that Ely needed and they started to press as they had to get back in the game. Unfortunately for most of the opening period they managed to combine some slick passing with some woeful passing. They did finally get back on level terms on 21 minutes when Ben Lawrence was caught in the face by a stray boot and the Robins were awarded the penalty. Richard Chadwick then stepped up to strike his second penalty home in 3 days.

Royston came back at Ely, but were clearly not used to losing and started to get a bit mardy. The game then settled down a bit, but neither team created too much in front of goal and the half ended with the teams on level terms.

Ely started the second half strongly and dominated the first third of the second half, however Chris Sterecki blasted over the best chance on 59 minutes. Royston then got back in the game and it evened out a bit.

The last 20 minutes looked destined to go to extra time with the creative spark draining out of Ely and Royston being minimised to hoping to hit them on the break.
Things were about to get better and as the match drifted into the 6th and last minute of stoppage time a through ball found Austin Diaper who squeezed the ball past the keeper from a tight angle into the back of the net. What a week he has had! First his heroics as stand in goalie at Yarmouth and then a stoppage time winer to fire Ely into the final where they willtake on Wisbech or Soham at Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Yar having a laugh

St.Patrick's day and a trip to the seaside, what could be better? Well, the weather for starters. Like last time Ely were at Great Yarmouth it rained all day, but that wasn't enough to dampen our spirits and after a trip round the town, to the funfair and the pub, which included spotting a couple of Ely players getting stuck into fish and chips we made it to the Wellesley for a pint of Guinness in their impressive clubhouse. We had time to enjoy it though as the kick off was put back by 15 minutes, as some of the Ely players had got caught up in a traffic jam.

Things clearly aren't going to well at Yarmouth. They were relegated last week having only got 7 points from 33 games. The memorabilia that had adorned the walls of the clubhouse had gone and a crowd of just 50 with a large contingent from Ely says it all really. The people still doing work for the club are clearly keen and committed, but you feel that they are going to have to turn a lot of things round or the future for the club with the oldest stand in the world might not be too bright.

Ely were missing Luke Parkinson and Nick Impey, who have been creating a number of chances in midfield this season. The Robins were clearly looking to go forward though with Richard Gammon, Richard Chadwick and Austin Diaper starting up front.

Ely started on the attack and Richard Gammon came close on 5 minutes. On 10 minutes he did score when a through ball was passed in neatly by Chadwick and Gammon scored what is called a striker's goal tapping it in on the line.

The Robins continued to dominate against a struggling Yarmouth side and created a number of chances with Chris Sterecki's blast over on 12 minutes being probably the best opportunity to extend the lead. Ely did manage to go 2-0 up though on 28 minutes when Diaper was tripped in the area and Chadwick stepped up to convert the penalty.

..... And then things started to get a bit mad....

On 33 minutes Chadders was awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. The Yarmouth defender accused him of diving and our Richard told him to f*** off. Happens all the time you might say, but he was given his marching orders by the rather pompous referee Stephen Artis. That was pretty bad, but then captain and goalkeeper Lee Pacey came to ask the official why he had given the decision and he was sent off too. 1 hour to play, Ely were down to 9 men and without a goalkeeper.

Stephen Artis, the referee had a very poor game overall, but these decisions were sheer madness and means Pacey will be missing in key games against Stanway and Wisbech. Strangely he has experience at league level, perhaps he feels that he's too big for sweary players in the Eastern Counties though as both Haverhill and Clacton have complained about his overzealous red cards for similar decisions in the past.

There was a little silver lining though, as Gammon put the ball in the back of the net when the game finally restarted. Ely obviously had to shuffle the pack and Austin Diaper took over in goals and Richard Gammon was upfront on his own. Ely managed to hold on without conceding in the first half and Austin looked comfortable in between the posts.

Great Yarmouth are poor, very poor and you wonder what motivation skills their current manager has. They had two more players on the pitch, but it was Ely who looked more like getting a 4th than them getting themselves back in the game. Sam Parkinson came close on 56, but then Yarmouth had a great chance to stage a comeback. On 66 minutes they were awarded a penalty for a trip in the box. How the referee saw it I don't know though, as it was debatable and he was looking in another direction. Yarmouth didn't make the most of the chance though and hit the post. The Bloaters continued to press, but Diaper managed to make a few saves. On 73 Richard Gammon put the game beyond doubt when Murray hit the bar and he followed up with a header to make it 4-0.

Ely continued to hold on, but they did have a wobble on 87 minutes when Diaper was clearly worried about bringing a player down and Yarmouth scored. On 89 minutes they made it 4-2, but all in all it was a great performance by Ely against the odds.

The referee's performance was enough to make anybody sick.

As usual the weather was poor when Ely go to Yarmouth.

A view of the stand, the oldest stand in the world. If you want to see more I have a lot from a previous visit to the Wellesley. Click on the Great Yarmouth tag below.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Top of the table clash

Last night Ely took on Wroxham in a game that would go a long way to decide who would win the Eastern Counties League. It is a comment on just how far Ely have come this season that we are now considering them as possible Champions. We started the season hoping that they would pick up enough points to stay up, when that milestone was met we hoped for mid table security and the more recently we've been talking about top 3 and now we are considering them for the championship. Standing their way are Wroxham who had a chance to close the gap yesterday.

The match started at a frantic speed and was played at a break neck speed for the whole 96 minutes that it lasted. Ely had a couple of decent chances at the start with Chadwick coming close from a long throw on 5 minutes and Wroxham goalkeeper Scott Howie made a fantastic save with his feet from Josh Bridgeman on 12. Ely were going to have to do better than that though to beat the best keeper in the league, who once cost Norwich City £300,000 and saved 3 penalties in a shoot out for Shrewsbury that helped to propel them back in the League.

Lee Pacey was also doing well in the Ely goal and pulled off a fantastic save on 8 minutes with a great punch. Both defences as a whole were playing well and on 15 minutes had a good appeal for hand ball turned down. They also had a couple of good chances within a minute in the 23rd minute when a good chance glanced across the goal and then Adam Murray came close with a header from the resulting corner. Things continued to move quickly, but it was Wroxham who took the lead. On 26 minutes the Yachtsmen were awarded a soft penalty and although Pacey guessed right he was unable to keep the ball from going into the back of the goal.

Up until this point the game had been equally balanced, but Ely now turned the screw as they tried to get back into the match. On 29 minutes Austen Diaper fluffed a chance to get the equaliser after a great slide rule pass from Richard Chadwick. Wroxham tried to come back at Ely on the counter attack, but Ben Lawrence was having a stormer and managed to mop up anything that got through to the back four. Ely weren't able to get back into the game though and another penalty appeal for what looked like a definite handball was denied to them in the last minute of the first half.

The second half got under way and it was still being played at a lightening pace. The first real chance of the half fell to Wroxham on 52 minutes, but Ely were doing most of the pressing. Unfortunately though they looked like they lacked a bit of imagination up front. And then just when it looked like they weren't going to get back into the game Luke Parkinson found Richard Chadwick with a perfect cross and Chadders slotted home the equaliser.

Wroxham weren't going to give up though and a minute later Ely had to clear the ball off the line to stop a definite goal for the Yachtsmen. There was still a lot of time left in the game and a lot of commitment left in the players, but the next real chance came on 82 when Pacey pulled off a finger tips save to stop Wroxham in their tracks again. Then Ely had a couple of chances with both Luke Parkinson and Chisongo coming close, but it looked like both teams were going to have to settle for a draw.

Disaster was about to strike and in the 4th minute of stoppage time Wroixham scored after being awarded a corner, however there had been a hint of offside in the lead up to it. So that's how it finished 2-1 to Wroxham who inflicted Ely's first defeat of the calendar year on them and closed the gap to 2 points. Now Ely have to pick themselves up and travel to an already relegated Yarmouth on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The table going into tonight's game

Premier Division : League Table
Ely City 31 21 7 3 66 38 +28 70
Wroxham 29 20 5 4 71 23 +48 65

Brantham Athletic 31 20 4 7 73 37 +36 64
Wisbech Town 29 18 3 8 65 41 +24 57
CRC 33 17 6 10 72 53 +19 57
Norwich United 31 15 7 9 44 34 +10 52
Dereham Town 30 16 3 11 56 42 +14 51
Stanway Rovers 30 15 4 11 60 43 +17 49
FC Clacton 29 15 4 10 57 46 +11 49
Mildenhall Town 31 14 5 12 61 51 +10 47
Haverhill Rovers 30 14 4 12 62 54 +8 46
Woodbridge Town 31 12 8 11 62 48 +14 44
Hadleigh United 32 12 5 15 60 66 -6 41
Gorleston 28 11 6 11 43 50 -7 39
Diss Town 31 10 7 14 30 41 -11 37
Felixstowe & Walton 30 10 6 14 54 51 +3 36
Kirkley & Pakefield 33 8 9 16 50 57 -7 33
Walsham 31 8 6 17 41 61 -20 30
Wivenhoe Town 33 8 5 20 34 60 -26 29
Newmarket Town 34 3 6 25 32 104 -72 15
Great Yarmouth Town 33 1 4 28 25 118 -93 7

Ely - top of the league

Ely are now 8 points clear at the top of the Eastern Counties League after some fine away wins at Newmarket and Hadleigh. Tonight they take on fellow contenders Wroxham at the Unwin.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Battered Bloaters

Today Ely took on Great Yarmouth and with the visitors having let in 113 goals already this season I was expecting a big score for the Robins, but it didn't quite work out like that.

Ely who seem to have two games a week for most of the rest of the season made a few changes and started with an unusual combination of Richard Gammon and Austin Diaper up front. It was clear from the start the way the game was going to go with Ely camping out in the Yarmouth half. Ely went into the lead on 13 minutes when Luke Parkinson swung a corner in and Ben Lawrence met it clearly on the edge of the 12 yard box and knocked it into the back of the net. It looked like this would probably be the first of many as Ely were crossing the ball in well and Great Yarmouth didn't look like they would be able to deal with it.

In the few minutes that followed the opening goal Ely had several chances to increase their lead after a spot of head tennis from the forwards in the six yard box and then Sam Parkinson, Diaper and Wilson also came close.

During the next 15 minutes Ely continued to dominate, but were guilty of some poor passing. On 32 minutes though they did manage to string some passes together, but Luke Parkinson hit the the crossbar when it would perhaps have been easier to score.

In the closing part of the first half Gammon and Impey both had chances, but were unable to make it 2-0 and went in at the break only up by one.

The second half continued in the same style as the first half. Josh Bridgeman came close on 49, and a great shot by David Wilson was tipped over by the Bloaters' keeper. One minute later the Yarmouth defenders froze and Wilson knocked the ball in to Gammon who just had to poke the ball into the net.

However, if Ely wanted to get the goal difference up it looked like they had to make some changes up front and it seems as if Alan Alsop was of the same opinion as Taz came on on the hour mark for Diaper and Chadders came on for Gammon a few minutes later. In the early encounters with the subs on they seemed to have the problem of being too fast for the Yarmouth defence. I'm only saying it was a problem as they were given offside when they weren't, but the ease which they ran past the Yarmouth defence onto through balls was enough to put seeds of doubt into the linesman's mind.

On 76 minutes a rather strange thing happened when Yarmouth actually had a shot. It wasn't great though and almost hit the corner flag. Ely's response was to go right up the other end and show them how it was done, but the keeper managed to save from Taz Chisongo.

The game ended 2-0 although Chadders missed an open goal, although it has to be stressed that he did well to get round the keeper and was off balance. Taz also had a decent chance from a tricky back heel. Another 3 points but not the avalanche of goals that were predicted, but with Brantham and Wroxham drawing with each other Ely are (and whisper this) title contenders now.