Yesterday Ely took on Histon in the 3rd match in their pre-season programme. In the first match they played well and dominated against Huntingdon, but only managed a draw. Then next up was Deeping Rangers, who they played poorly against and lost and then last night they welcomed Histon, who unlike Huntingdon and Deeping don't play at the same level, but at 3 leagues higher so it was interesting to see how they would perform against a team from a higher level.
Ely had a much more familiar feel to them and fielded a team who apart from the right back, who had signed from CRC and a midfielder recently signed from Wisbech was made up of familiar faces from last season. Impey and Strecki had gone off on holiday to Ibiza, but Taz, who had, it was rumoured signed for Soham was given a rare start on the wing.
Ely lost the game 1-0, but the performance was much better, and although I don't think anyone would argue that they deserved to win it they held their own against their more illustrious opponents for most of the match.
The teams were quite evenly balanced for the first 15 minutes with both midfields playing well and Murray and Histon's centre halves doing well for their respective defences. However, it was Histon who opened the scoring with the only goal of the night when a slip by Parr, the new right back from CRC, allowed Histon to loop a shot in from the left which was looped over Pacey's head giving him no chance. It was a shame as Parr in general had a good game.
There were relatively few chances in the first half for either team. Ely's best chance came on 23 minutes when Luke Parkinson came close with a trademark free kick. Histon also came close to extending their lead on 32 when a speculative shot from distance went just over after it looked like it was going to squeeze under the bar. However, for the most part the teams cancelled each other out, Murray as I said was having a blinder and Ely's passing was good, but Histon's was great.
One criticism of Ely in the first half could have been that they were too defensive, but they looked to remedy this in the second half. That said their best chances came from set pieces. They did have two really good chances. The first being when Diaper just missed connecting with a cross on 62 minutes and the second being on 83 when Diaper really should have converted a cross from Chadders.
The game finished 1-0 though and Ely still have games against Sudbury and Chatteris before the real football gets underway.