On Wednesday night Ely took on local rivals Soham at Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium in the final of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup. There was probably an equal number of fans of both teams but the Ely fans were definitely making most of the noise.
Both teams seemed to be equally matched, but Soham probably had the best of the early chances. Nevertheless it was Ely who struck first when some silky skills from Chris Sterecki, after I had just been remarking on how poor he had been for most of the season when he got a chance, found Chadders unmarked in the box and he slotted home to put the Robins 1-0 up. One minute later he thought that he had doubled Ely's lead but he was ruled offside.
Soham came back at Ely and Dubi Ogbonna was looking especially sharp, but Ely were looking sharper in front of goal and on 34 minutes Sterecki went on another mazing run, beat most of the Soham team and then threaded it through to Josh Bridgeman who made it 2-0. Ely now looked in complete control and seemed happy to see out the half with a 2 goal lead, but Ogbanna managed to pull one back for Soham on the stroke of half time and Ely's lead looked a lot less comfortable.
Ely started the second half off like they meant business and a great shot from Luke Parkinson on 50 minutes hit the bar. However, things started to move in Soham's favour and Ogbanna scored a goal that was ruled offside and Pacey pulled off a fabulous save from Ryan Auger. Then after having all the pressure a header from Michael Simpson made the scores all square.
Not long after though Soham manager Steve Fallon brought Ogbanna, who was looking increasingly like getting the winner off and the new formation didn't seem to suit them and it looked like the game was going to head into extra time. Ely were forced into a substitution themselves when Brady Stone limped off and Ben Lawrence who was injured himself with a broken finger came on. Ben's first job was to hoist a long throw into the box, which given his broken finger was a surprise in itself, but it proved effective and Adam Murray was bundled over. With just 3 minutes on the clock Luke Parkinson slotted home the penalty with aplomb and sent Ely home with the cup.
After a fantastic season which sees the Robins finish second in the league it was great to see them pick up some well deserved silverware.