Today Ely City took on Rothwell Corinthians of the United Counties in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. I don't imagine that the Robins will make it to the final, but a good run in the cup competitions always makes for an interesting season, so it was good to see Ely negotiate the first hurdle.
Ely got off to a great start as on 4 minutes a clever flick on by Richard Chadwick and then a decent pass from Andrew Claydon saw Lewis Thompson put the Robins 1-0 up. Ely had plenty of other chances to increase their lead with Claydon shooting just over when clear through on 8 minutes and Chadwick having a shot cleared off the line on 11. Things started to even out though and most of the next 20 minutes were played out in the middle of the field. Around the half hour mark the visitors had a flurry of corners that Ely did well to defend. Just after this David Wilson (number 6 below) hobbled off the pitch and was replaced by Richard Gammon. Fortunately, it seems that he only has a bruised knee.
Putting yet another forward on the pitch for a midfielder seemed at the time like a strange decision, but Gammon soon proved Alsop's decision right when he'd been given some time in the second half. On 55 minutes a Luke Parkinson corner from the right needed the faintest of touches from Gammon to make it 2-0. Parkinson and Gammon linked up again on 63 minutes when this time Parkinson crossed from the left for Gammon to score again.
The picture below shows Gammon on the right turning away after scoring the third.
On 73 minutes it was almost nearly 4 when Claydon managed to hit the upright from a corner, which was one of several corners for Ely which could so easily have gone in. It looked like the Corinthians might be able to get back in the game and that Ely might regret the squandered the chances when just 3 minutes later they pulled a goal back from a needless corner.
There was nothing to worry about though as on 82 minutes the Robins made it 4-1 when Parky and Gammo were up to it again. This time he got another touch from a corner and the Robins were in the next round. Ely hadn't finished though, as on 84 minutes yet another inch perfect cross from Parkinson was drilled home by Chadwick. Then with 2 minutes remaining Gammon scored what could already be goal of the season when he volleyed the ball from 40 yards out giving the keeper no chance and it was 6-1. There was still time for one more as deep in stoppage time Josh Bridgeman tapped the ball in the six yard box it hit a Rothwell defender and the Corinthians had lost 7-1. To think at half time we had been worried about Ely holding on to their 1-0 lead.