Sunday, April 29, 2012
Mid season weather and end of season football
Ely took on Norwich United in their last game of the season yesterday and were already guaranteed to finish the season as runners up in the Eastern Counties League, but it would have been nice for them to finish off with a win and they duly obliged. The weather however was more suitable for late Autumn than Spring, but the football definitely had an end of season feel about it, with both teams making mistakes that they probably wouldn't have if more had been at stake. Ely were also missing Josh Bridgeman and Ben Lawrence to injury and Austin Diaper to suspension. The first real chance of the game fell to Lewis McDonald who fluffed a brilliant lay off by Richard Chadwick on 8 minutes. The opening play was however pretty evenly balanced, although every Norwich attack was cut out by Adam Murray, which was probably just as well, as Lee Pacey in the Ely nets seemed to be struggling with an injury himself. On 19 minutes Richard Gammon had a real chance to put the Robins ahead after a clever move by Brady Stone and Nick Impey, but it was cleared off the line. Just to show how well balanced the teams were at this point in the game was underlined when Norwich then went up the other end and hit the post. This obviously spurred the Planters on, as 5 minutes later they took the lead just 5 minutes later with a brilliant through ball and chip over Pacey. Ely tried to get back into the game and the pressure finally paid off on 38 minutes when Chadwick jinxed into space on the right wing and slotted home from the tightest of angles. So at half time the scores were level and the impetus was back with the Robins. Ely started off the stronger of the 2 sides in the second half and were putting on most of the pressure, but as I said it was typical end of season game and they looked a bit casual in front of goal. Norwich on the other hand were starting to look a bit disinterested and happy to play for a draw. Norwich's first chance of the half came on the hour mark when Pacey did well to save with his legs / backside. This shock seemed to wake Ely up a bit though and Luke Parkinson came close to getting the winner on 70 minutes when he hit the crossbar. It wasn't all over though as just 4 minutes later Norwich had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead, but somehow managed to mess up. Finally though Ely did manage to find the winner when Adam Murray rose above the crowd to score a header from a corner in the last minute. This probably typified how Ely have been all season with the great team spirit and a never giving up on the game and was a fitting way to end the season after a few up and down weeks. It was the icing on the cake of a season that exceeded all occasions and it was nice to see the players receive a trophy for finishing runners-up.