Sunday, September 30, 2012

More improvement at the Unwin

Yesterday Ely met Gorleston at the Unwin Ground. The visitors have had a decent start to the season and are among the early pacesetters, so despite the fact they lost last week they were going to prove a tougher test than Downham did on Tuesday night. Ely, however did have a full strength squad to choose from for the first time this season so hopes that they were finally going to turn the corner were also high.

Ely started off dominating the game and a clever through ball by Adam Murray on 10 minutes was met by the head of Paul Claydon and the Robins took an early lead. The visitors started to get into the game shortly after and on 14 minutes Pacey made a great save from the visitors, although the linesman was flagging for offside.

After this Gorelston put Ely under increasing pressure, but the defence was finally at full strength and the Parkinson brothers looked dangerous on the break. Neither of the sides had any real chances in the first half until Gorleston hit the post on 41 minutes, but it was certainly an entertaining half.

Gorleston came out with all guns blazing in the second half and Pacey pulled off a fantastic save on 48 minutes to keep Ely in the lead. Fortunately though on 63 minutes a piece of skilled play and a brilliant finish from Nick Impey put the Robins 2-0 up and settled nerves. After this Ely started to attack more after having spent periods of mopping up pressure. There were no further goals, although Luke Parkinson hit the post on 82 minutes.

Finally a second league win for the Robins and with other results going their way has seem them create a big of clear space between them and the relegation fodder. Let's hope this really is a turning point in the season.

Many photos from Nadiya to follow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Something to cheer about in the League Cup

Last night Ely took on Downham Market (Downham Town) in the league cup. Downham are in the first division and have never been one of the stronger clubs even in the lower division. Therefore it was a chance for the Robins to either give themselves a confidence boost after an indifferent start to the season or could have been an early nail in this season's coffin. Fortunately, it was the former rather than the latter that we witnessed last night.

Ely got off to the perfect start when a Luke Parkinson cross got the faintest of touches off Adam Murray (well, he seems to be claiming it, although it may have been an own goal) to put the home team in the lead. Ely continued by bombarding the Downham goal with shots. Downham had their first, and probably their only chance of the entire game on 20 minutes, but managed to almost hit the corner flag when they should have scored. We weren't to know that Downham weren't going to create much then though, so it was a great relief when a bit of Taz trickery saw him beat a few defenders and put the ball in the back of the net straight from the goal kick after Downham's wayward shot.

The onslaught continued and Impey nearly made it 3 when he tried to lob the keeper from the half way line on the half hour mark. Gammon should have done better 5 minutes later when his shot was charged down 5 from close range 5 minutes later. The Robins weren't finished with their scoring before half time, as on 39 minutes a clever pass from Adam Murray was headed in by Austin Diaper to put the Robins 3 up at the break. It looked like they had killed the game and although some Downham fans in the bar were saying it was a game of two halves, we for once thought that we would be avoiding extra time in a cup match on a cold Tuesday night.

It really wasn't a game of two halves as the second half was almost a carbon copy of the first. On 54 minutes Ben Lawrence squeezed the ball under the keeper from a corner. Ironically, I think that one was chalked up as an own goal by the keeper, but there was more contact from Ben than there had been from Muzza for the first.

Austin was tripped on 67 minutes and Taz stepped up to score the penalty. On 73 minutes some great work on the wing from Luke Parkinson culminated in an inch perfect cross and Gammon put it in the back of the net. Game over and 6-0 to the Robins.

In the League version of the League Cup Villa won 4-2 at Man City. Now hopefully both Villa and Ely can find some of this form in the league.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Photos from Posh v Wolves

A Wolves attack is broken down in the first half.

Mark Little in Peterborough's defence.

Gabriel Zakuani

Robert Olejnik getting ready for Ebanks-Blake's penalty

Sean gives a press conference at London Road

Pointless Posh

The season hasn't exactly got off to a good start for any of my clubs, but Peterborough are doing even worse than any of the others. Seven games in and Posh are still to register a point in the Championship.

Yesterday we went to see Posh take on Wolves at London Road and to be honest we didn't really expect Peterborough to get a win from a Wolves team who have made some good money in the transfer window and have reinvested it wisely in the squad.

It was good to get to a professional match though and we had a really good time even though the result didn't go Borough's way.

The first half hour saw Wolves in the ascendancy and although 'the Football League Paper' gave Mark Little and Gabriel Zakuani low marks both of them did well to keep the Wolves at bay for the opening section. Slowomir Peszko and Bakary Sako were causing the Posh all sort of problems, but they seemed equal to the attack. However, on 34 minutes Ebanks-Blake fell over Grant McCann's leg and then stepped up to put the penalty away. Wolves therefore went in at the break deservedly 1-0 up and it was mainly due to some solid defending and also some competent goalkeeping by Robert Olejnik that the Posh were still in the game.

Fortunately Posh started the second half with more intent and unlike the first half it was they who dominated. That said chances were few and far between with the passing more than a little bit wayward. Posh striker Tyrone Barnet was getting in some really good positions, but the poor passing in midfield meant that for most of the time he was chasing shadows. Typically of Posh, although things were going wrong and have been going wrong this season they still tried to play the game properly and refused to give up. They were dealt a hammer blow though on 82 minutes when substitute and new signing for Wolves, Bjorn Sigurdarson made the most of a defensive slip by Zakuani to slip home Wolves second and wrap up the match.

Posh are sticking to their guns and playing good attacking football, but they need to tighten up their sloppy passing and hopefully get a few lucky breaks or they might be relegated by Christmas. Unfortunately, the only thing we had to cheer was when giant rabbit Peter Burrow won the mascot race at half time. That said, with his amount of energy and commitment they might think of playing him up front with Tryone Barnet soon if things don't get better.

The picture below from the Wolverhampton Express and Star shows Sylvan Ebanks-Blake taking the penalty that put the Wolves 1-0 up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ely's bad luck continues

On Saturday Ely took on Brantham Athletic at the Unwin and with points, apart from in the fine win over Wivenhoe becoming a rare commodity, it was definitely time for Ely to register some points.

It looked like attack was going to be the best form of defence with Chadwick, Diaper, Taz and Claydon all starting for City. Pacey was suspended and replaced by young Jamie Greygoose in goals, but both Ben Lawrence and Adam Murray were back where they belong in the centre of defence.

Ely started off brightly enough and were only denied a lead on 2 minutes when Brantham managed to keep 3 shots in quick succession from going over the line. It was to prove to be a false dawn though as the only other real chance that either side had in the first half was when Adam Murray came close with a header from a corner on 13

Murray had a similar chance on 49 minutes, but 2 minutes later a mix up between Darren Coe and Jamie Greygoose saw the hapless right back put the ball in his own net and the visitors had the lead.

With 15 minutes to go Brantham extended their lead when they were given a soft penalty and it looked like it was game over for the Robins.

It wasn't quite over though as 2 minutes later the Brantham goalkeeper relaxed and was tackled off the ball by Andrew Claydon who put the ball in the net to make it 2-1.

For the last 10 minutes both teams stepped up a gear, but the game finished with Brantham going back to Essex with the 3 points and no further goals were scored.

It was another disappointing game and neither of the teams look like they are really going to recapture the form that saw them finish 2nd and 3rd last season.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why no warm-up?

One tell tale sign of when you are going to see one team absolutely trounce another one is by looking at them in the warm-up. The team that is going to score a hat full of goals tends to be doing a good mixture of exercise and skills practice, where as the team that is on a hiding to nothing tends to half heartedly kick the ball around.

The reason that I have made this observation is that on Sunday I went to Cambridge Women V Norwich City Women in the South East Combination. It was the second game that I have seen Cambridge Women play and despite the heat yesterday, on neither occasion have either of the teams been out on the pitch warming up. Yesterday the first half hour was some of the most lacklustre football that I have seen and neither of the teams looked like they were ready to play.

Finally on 34 minutes something happened when a Norwich player was left unmarked and they took the lead. Cambridge then also woke up and on 40 minutes should have put the ball in an open net, but shot wide. On 44 minutes Cambridge were equal when the centre forward sprung the offside trap ran onto a through ball and scored to make the half time score 1-1.

The second half finally looked like a game of football and I don't think that it was only the beers that were making it seem more exciting.

Cambridge got half to a great start and the centre forward scored a carbon copy of the goal she had scored just before half time.

On 58 minutes Norwich got an equaliser when they were awarded a penalty after a foul in the box.

The rest of the game was played out with more conviction, but clear chances were few and far between. It looked like it was going to end a draw, which probably would have been a fair result, but with time clicking on the clock Norwich pushed for a winner. In stoppage time they managed to squeeze the ball under the keeper and the Canaries had a 3-2 win.

Picture from the corner in the first half:

Picture from behind the Norwich goal in the second half.

A win for the reserves without scoring

Taz was surprisingly back in the reserves when Ely took on Chatteris on Saturday. After a brilliant performance against Wivenhoe last week he probably thought that he had done enough to cement a place in the first team. Claydon was recalled for the first team and probably did enough to earn his place scoring twice in a game where Ely capitulated a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with basement team Diss.

Anyway back to the action at the Unwin. Taz was back and if he's a hero in the first team, he's like a God in the Reserves. He was also joined by his mate who's name I don't know apart from it being Sam and him having a bit of a temper. He looked a lot more confident for the Reserves than he did when given a chance for the first time.

Ely took the lead on 13 minutes when the right back swung in a great corner. It was probably going in any way, but the keeper just parried it into his own goal. Taz showed that he was playing below his level on 28 minutes and hit the bar. However, one minute later Chatteris equalised when nobody picked up a forward on the far post and it was 1-1. Ely regained the lead on 42 minutes when a bit of Taz trickery lead to a Chatteris player putting the ball into his own goal. Ely were 2-1 up and Chatteris scored all of the goals.

In the second half Ely dominated and seemed to have corner after corner.

The game was played a high octane and Sam got mouthy and tempers spilled over after a bad tackle from a Chatteris player, but it still ended 2-1 to the Robins.

Littleport Town 2 Ely Crusaders 10

The start of the season for the Under 8s got off to a great start when Ely Crusaders beat Littleport Town 10-2 away in their first match.

The picture shows them straight after the match

Grassroots weekend

Over the weekend we had probably the best weather we have had all year and not that I usually seem to stray too far from grassroots football lately, this weekend was perhaps a bit more grassroots than most. Saturday started with a trip to see Sean's Under 8s team play away at Littleport in their first game of the season. Ely City's first team were away in the afternoon and as there didn't seem to be any other football between Littleport and the Wash we came back in to town to see Ely's reserves take on Chatteris Town in the Cambridgeshire Senior League. Then the weekend was finished off with a return to the Unwin Ground to see Cambridge Women take on Norwich Women in the South East Combination.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A new look Ely finally deliver

Yesterday Ely took on Wivenhoe in the league. The Robins took to the pitch in a brand new kit and a brand new look to the team. That all sounds positive and the new kit looked nice, but the mood around the ground was definitely less than upbeat. After the disappointing performance in the cup in the week Taylor Parr and Lewis Thompson walked away from the club. Added to this Claydon, Sterecki, Lawrence, Murray, Impey and Wilson weren't available. In defence Luke Freckwell was brought in from the reserves and Josh Bridgeman was brought into Central Defence despite normally being a midfielder. The inexperienced Walters was with Josh Curry in midfield and with the players that they had available they had to go with Gammon and Chadwick up front with Chisonga and Diaper having being finally given a chance joining the four pronged attack.

It looked like a makeshift team and it was.In fact Chairman Bob Button looked like he was going to hang himself before the game and as Ely only had two subs to call on it really did look threadbare.

The game started off well enough with both sides trying to attack. As Ely were playing 4-2-4 they didn't really have much other choice. In the opening half hour both sides had chances but neither of the goalkeepers were really tested. The first and only real time a keeper was troubled in the half was on the half hour mark when Pacey pulled off a great save from a Wivenhoe attack. So the teams went in at the half at 0-0 and to be honest we were happy with that and would have settled for honours even at full time. Things were about to get better though.

Ely came out in the second half firing on all cylinders and peppered the Wivenhoe goal; with the pick of the bunch being a dipping shot on 53 minutes, but the keeper was equal to it. Coe came close on 58 minutes and nearly got the ball under the Keeper. It was starting to look like Ely's luck wasn't going to change, but as I said we would have settled for a draw.

On 63 minutes though the Robins finally got the breakthrough. Chadders forced the Wivenhoe keeper into a brilliant save, but the ball fell to the feet of Taz and he smashed it in the back of the net to put the home team in the lead. Chadwick didn't have to wait long to have his own name on the score sheet though as 4 minutes later a corner came in from the right and he managed to squeeze the ball over the line to give us a 2-0 for the first time in what felt like ages.

The celebration of Chadders' goal is shown below.

The defence had to keep concentrating though and Ely seemed to think that attack was the best form of defence. They were up to what little the Dragons threw at them and on 84 minutes Diaper got a decisive touch from a Walters cross and it was 3-0 to the Robins.

Ely continued to attack despite being 3-0 up and Taz came really close on 87 minutes, but Wivenhoe hit them on the break, scored and looked like they had a consolation goal. Taz was having none of that though and had the ball in the back of the net in the last minute only for it to be ruled offside. In injury Taz hit the ball at distance on the volley and the ball went into the back of the net.

Ely had a 4-1 victory, their first 3 points of the season, the Dragons went back to Essex with their tails between their legs and some players who hadn't been given much of a chance up to now proved a real point.