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.