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.