Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Back to Earth with a bump

On Saturday morning I was busy with Crusaders at Stretham and after clocking up game 42 on Monday night I thought I might not bother with a game in the afternoon. With the time I had there were probably only 2 matches I could make it to. Cambridge City had their last game at Milton Road before joining up with Newmarket for a ground share and Soham had a chance of making the playoffs. As you may have noticed I am not a big fan of Cambridge City and I thought that going to two Soham games in a row wouldn't have gone down well with the regulars at the Unwind.

In the end though I couldn't resist going to a game and I realised that even more locally the Ely Reserves were at home to Lakenheath, so for the second time this season I descended down to Step 7 for a Cambridgeshire Senior Premier game.

The game started off brightly enough and it had the added interest of having a linesman that I work with, although I fought the temptation to heckle him! Ely whose reserves have had a terrible season and who had lost to the visitors just 3 days before got off to a great start, although it was all thanks to Lakenheath. The left back tried to put the ball out, but just managed to hit his own post. The rebound unfortunately for him hit his knee and Ely were 1-0 up after just 6 minutes.

The game was entertaining enough and full of end to end stuff with Lakenheath having the best of the play. However, there were no further goals until 75 minutes when the visitors got a well deserved equaliser from a headed corner.

Ely weren't finished though and on 80 minutes they made the most of a defensive error to regain the lead. It wasn't to last though, 3 minutes later Lakenheath were awarded a penalty for a handball and struck the ball home. A draw would have probably been a good result, but another corner on 86 minutes was expertly chested down by the Lakenheath centre forward and the left winger drove it home to give the visitors a win, which on balance they probably deserved.

But why back to Earth with a bang? Well, while we were there it came through that despite the heroics on Monday night the first team went 8-1 down at Gorleston. Is that the season done and dusted though? I hope not!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pictures Post final

Here are a few pictures from the cup final. My camera photos are usually bad, but due to the excitement they are specially bad this time. Apart from the one nicked from the Ely Standard obviously.



Some lads with a flag. Sorry to the Ely Standard for mixing this with my own poor photos which follow.



Waiting to get the cup



Collecting the medals



Lifting the cup - oops



Lee Pacey with the cup

How to win the cup part 2




Last year Ely City beat Soham in a breathless final to win the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup. On Monday they had the chance to retain the cup after reaching the final again, this time Cambridge City stood in their way.

Ely went into the final as the underdogs and although Cambridge City have slipped away in the play-offs of late they are still 2 steps further up on Ely. Most Ely fans didn't expect a victory for the Robins and it would appear that none of the Cambridge City lot thought the trophy would be going back up the A10 again either.

Cambridge City have never endeared themselves to me, so at least it was a chance to wind them up a bit, as they definitely can give it out, but can't take it. Little did we know that apart from being easy to wind up they are also bad losers.

The opening half hour was pretty evenly balanced, but Ely looked more threatening and the other City looked adept at falling over themselves, but they were cancelling each other out during this period. All that was about to change though. On 33 minutes Ely were awarded a penalty. Chadders stepped up to take it. The Cambridge keeper saved it. Their fans were cheering. Chadders got the rebound. 1-0 we were cheering.

After this Ely seemed to grow in confidence, but it was still quite tense and the game was fairly evenly poised, so it was a big relief when it was still 1-0 at the break.

Ely came out firing on all cylinders and on 51 minutes a bullet header by Austen Diaper put the Robins 2-0 up. Cambridge's tempers were being tested and Pepper saw red after an atrocious foul on Chadwick. Things were about to get worse for the team in black and white though, as on 56 minutes a deflection some how went in from David Wilson. I didn't even realise it was a goal until I saw it in the back of the net. The underdogs were now 3-0 up and the job was done.

Cambridge as you would expect had the better chances in the last half hour, but Ely were able to hold them at bay and apart from hitting the bar they never really threatened Lee Pacey's goal. So it finished 3-0 and the cup will be spending another year at the Unwin.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Photos from Ely v Diss part 2



Kenny Smith gets a cross in




Back of the net. 2-1 to Ely

Photos from Ely v Diss Part 1



The teams line up



Kick off



An early Ely attack.

Last home game of the season Ely City 2 Diss Town 1

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, as Ely took on Diss in what was a bit of a meaningless fixture. Ely were definitely the stronger of the two teams, so it was good that they came ahead with a win ahead of the cup final on Monday.

Ely's first real chance came on 27 minutes when Murray's header just missed. One minute later the Robins took the lead from a wonder strike from Kenny Smith and Diss had hardly even got in Ely's half. That was all about to change though when after the centre Diss got in Ely's six yard box and forced the ball over the line. The Diss player more or less punched the ball in the goal, but neither the linesman or referee saw it, so the goal was given.

For most of the game Ely dominated and on 61 minutes they got the winner when Taz's shot was saved and Josh Bridgeman scored from the rebound. They could have had more with Murray coming close on several occasions, but a win is a win.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Murray mint - Ely City 4 Thetford Town 1

Last night as well as Sean being the mascot at Ely V Thetford the Robins recorded a decent victory, unfortunately it was against Thetford and more or less sealed their relegation back to Division 1. The last couple of season we went to quite a few games at Thetford, but this was regrettably the first time I had seen them this season because the fixture list meant that their home games have clashed with Ely's. I only actually recognised the 2 Portuguese players, Valter Rocha and Bruno Tavares in the Thetford team, so things had definitely changed since the heady days of massive victories and promotions from last season.

Things looked ominous for Thetford from the start when Murray came close with a cheeky header from a Diaper shot in the first minute. However, it was the visitors who took the lead on 14 minutes when Parrish lobbed Pacey. Ely came back at Thetford though and just after the half hour mark Adam Murray, who was playing out of position up front, made a strong tackle in midfield and worked his way to the goal line before cutting in and crossing for Diaper to head home. The teams went in at the half on level terms, Ely were probably the stronger team but Thetford were scrapping for survival.

The game followed this pattern for the first 20 minutes of the second half with both teams attacking in turns, but neither threatening. Then on 68 minutes Luke Parkinson was introduced and his first job was to take a corner. The corner was met by Murray, who headed home to put the Robins 2-1 up. Ely could have put the game to bed 2 minutes later, but the chance was scuffed. It looked like they really might regret that miss as Rocha was starting to cause problems and on 76 minutes he hit the post. More disaster was to strike for Ely as David Wilson was about to go off injured and Ely had made all of their substitutions.

Murray, who had been majestic all night, was on hand to save the day though on 81 minutes a free kick from Parkinson bobbled up in front of the keeper and Murray was on hand to stab the ball home as the keeper was caught up and then on 83 minutes Murray was again in the thick of it as he set up Porky Claydon to make it 4-1 and send Thetford back over the border into Norfolk more than a bit demoralised.

Video of Sean being the mascot at Ely V Thetford

Nadiya also made a video, here it is.

Ely V Thetford Mascots

Sean was one of the mascots for Ely City's 4-1 win over Thetford. Here are a few photos by Nadiya.



Sean in his Crusaders' kit waiting for everyone to turn up.




Sean comes out with the players.



In the centre circle.



With the match officials and team captains.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cambridge V Chesham photos Part 4



Chesham players close in on a Cambridge midfielder



The view of the cathedral from the Unwin Ground.

Cambridge V Chesham photos Part 3



Chesham on the attack.



A battle in midfield.



Chesham turn defence into attack.


Cambridge V Chesham photos Part 2



Cambridge header





Cambridge take a corner.



Chesham play the ball out of defence, again!

Cambridge V Chesham photos Part 1



The Cambridge winger loses her marker.



Chesham's first attack of the game



Chesham clear their lines.

Chesham win the league in Ely - Cambridge Women 0 Chesham United Women 1

Yesterday Cambridge Women took on Chesham United Women in what could be the last game at the Unwin for Cambridge in what was their last home game of the season. The game was given an extra point of interest in that Chesham could clinch the league. We had expected for the visitors to perhaps run riot, as Ipswich who had easily beaten Cambridge last week had recently had 8 smashed past them by Chesham.

The game however was very easily balanced and for most of the game Cambridge probably shaded it. However Chesham's defence was especially impressive. The visitors finally got the break they needed when on 58 minutes they managed to lob the Cambridge goalkeeper with a cleverly worked move. They almost doubled their lead one minute later, but hit the crossbar. They should really have made it 2 on 74 minutes, but the centre forward just rolled it to the Cambridge keeper.

Cambridge had most of the play, but Chesham always looked the most likely to score. They took their chance and their title in an entertaining 1-0 win.

A few random photos from Soham


Soham Town Rangers 1 Ware 3


On Saturday, there weren't many games on offer of the teams we usually go and watch, so we went on the short, but time consuming journey to Soham to see Town Rangers take on Ware in Ryman Division 1 North. At the moment Soham are riding in 6th, which if they can keep it up will be their highest finish at this level. Ware, conversely are in 19th and could still theoretically be relegated. Therefore we went to Julius Martin Lane expecting a home win.

The first 15 minutes were fairly even with both teams trying to stamp their authority on the game. Buster Harradine for the home team was working his socks off and came close on 23 minutes and it looked like Soham were increasing in confidence. However, Ware's giant striker, Leon Simpson, made the most of a spilled save after Elliot King had shot for the visitors and stabbed the ball in the back of the net to give the visitors the lead. Simpson was clearly the danger man for the visitors and he almost extended their lead on the half hour mark with a header. However, the ball went up the other end and ex-Ely man Robbie Mason showed him how it was done when he headed home to make the scores equal. After this Soham dominated the remaining minutes of the half and on 34 Soham were almost gifted a goal when a Ware defender almost put the ball in his own net. During this period the Soham forwards were causing the Ware defence all sorts of problems and the visitors looked a bit shaky.

Soham started off the second half the way they had ended the first and were unlucky not to have the lead on 54 when Mason hit the bar. However, on 65 minutes it was Ware who took the lead when they seemed to conjure up a goal from nowhere. This seemed to galvanize the visitors and they certainly started to grow in confidence. And if Soham thought that things couldn't get worse they were wrong. On 73 minutes nobody picked up the Ware right back and he surged through and across the Soham defence to slot the ball to Simpson who just had to tap it in to make it 3-1. Soham tried to get back in the game, but their only strategy seemed to be a long diagonal ball to Mason, who was getting increasingly frustrated, and Ware seemed wise to the tactic. So the game finished with a surprise 3-1 win for the visitors.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tuesday night fight night - Ely City 1 Dereham Town 2

Tuesday night Ely took on Champions elect Dereham Town and with the retirement of Nick Impey and several key injuries it looked like Ely might struggle.

Ely had the first chance though when Chadwick came close on 5 minutes, but Dereham looked particularly effective down the left wing.
The equilibrium and balance of the game was about to change though when a minute later there was an altercation between Coe and a Dereham player, which led to both of them seeing red. If that wasn't bad enough something happened in the tunnel between the two players and one of the Dereham players charged down there. This resulted in a 22 man brawl. The referee went off in a huff and it looked like the game might be abandoned. They managed to sort out their differences though and 20 minutes later they were back on the pitch.

The referee was clearly not going to take any more and when Ben Lawrence went in with a strong tackle he also picked up a booking. The result was that the sting was completely taken out of the game. There were a few chances for Ely though. On 33 minutes Chadwick broke through the Dereham defence only to see his shot saved. On 37 minutes Murray came close with a header after Pacey had punted the ball up field. Just 4 minutes later he Murray did head home to put the Robins in the lead. This time from a Luke Parkinson corner. So Ely went into the break with the lead in what, after the sendings off, had been a very lacklustre half.

The second half was a lot more spirited though. In the opening encounters Dereham hit the post and Claydon came close for the hosts. On 57 Dereham got back in the game when they equalised also through a headed corner. On 76 minutes Dereham found the winner when Ely who were rightly worried about the referee and his card waving got scared of tackling in the box and allowed a Dereham attacker through.

A busy week

I am now having to play catch up on the games after games on Tuesday, Saturday and today (Sunday) and being away in Liverpool on Wednesday and Thursday. Hopefully I can get everything posted by Tuesday when I'll be back at the Unwin for Ely V Thetford.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Second half pictures from Cambridge v Ipswich



The two teams battle it out in midfield.



Cambridge get a cross in.



Cambridge take a corner.



The Cambridge goalkeeper gets caught in the clash that led to a lot of bad feeling between the benches.

First half photos from Cambridge v Ipswich



The Ipswich Keeper comes to collect the ball early in the first half.



Cambridge hit the post early on.

A few random photos from Cambridge Women V Ipswich Town Women



Ipswich clear early in the first half.



Ipswich get to grips with Cambridge in midfield.



Cambridge take a throw in the first half.



A Cambridge player loses her footing.

Cambridge Women 0 Ipswich Town Women 2

Yesterday me and Nadiya went to watch Cambridge Women take on Ipswich in the South East Combination League. I hadn't been for a while, well since the weather had got bad! But the weather improved on Sunday, so I thought I'd give it another chance and it wasn't a bad game at all.

It seemed clear from the start that Ipswich were the stronger team, however it was Cambridge who had the first chance and a cleverly weighted shot nearly caught the keeper out but hit the post. Ipswich soon took the lead on 14 minutes and the player who scored turned to provider with the next chance of the match. However, the goal that was scored on 26 after a fine cross was ruled offside. Ipswich had another good chance in the half, just before half time, but this time they hit the post. Cambridge had been trying to put the Ipswich goalie under pressure, as she seemed to flap a bit when the ball came to her and some of her kicking was suspect. Nevertheless, she proved to be a good shot stopper on 42 minutes when she pulled off a save to keep Ipswich in the lead at the break. Ipswich deserved their lead and it looked like they were capable of extending it in the second half.

We only had to wait 3 minutes to see Ipswich extend their lead when some pacey and skilled work on the right wing was met by a header that went past the Cambridge keeper. After this Ipswich consolidated their lead and seemed more concerned about keeping a clean sheet. Cambridge occasionally threatened, but couldn't get past the defence. Their best chance coming on 57 minutes when the keeper pulled off another impressive save.

There was a bit of controversy near the end when an Ipswich striker clashed with the Cambridge keeper in what looked like an accident. The Cambridge bench didn't agree though and some bad tempered words were traded.

Ipswich ran out 2-0 winners and next up for Cambridge are Chesham, who could win the title at Ely and who beat Ipswich 8-0 recently.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ely City 0 Woodbridge Town 2 - Ely egg-bound after Easter




Woodbridge have something of a reputation as a bogey team for Ely. They woodpeckers often finish below the Robins, but always seem to win at the Unwin. Funnily enough though, it was the first time that I actually managed to get to a game contested by the two teams in the 5 seasons that I have been following Ely.

The omens weren't looking too good for the Robins from the start. Both fullbacks were missing with Kenny Smith coming in for the injured Chris Sterecki, who has been a revelation this season, Richard Chadwick had to relinquish his usual role as centre forward to cover for left back Sam Parkinson and Ben Lawrence was missing at centre half. Later in the game Darren Coe, who was playing at centre back went off and his partner Adam Murray, who had an uncharacteristic nightmare of a game was sent off. Man of the match for Ely was goalkeeper Lee Pacey - when you lose 2-0 at home and the keeper is the best player it says it all really.

Ely managed to stay in the game for the first half and created a few chances, but none that really worried the Woodpeckers. The Robins when they attacked were often caught offside and both of their best chances of the first half came from headers: Murray heading wide on 23 and Wilson following suite on 26. Ross Gilfedder for the visitors was gifted a couple of chances by Murray who was having a nightmare in defence, but at the break it was 0-0, which at this point was probably a fair result.

Woodbridge were the better team in the second half though and if it hadn't been for a wonderful save from Pacey on 48 minutes they would have gone behind earlier. However on 53 minutes the visitors did take the lead. Tom Trevivian crossed for Craig Stuart and he put the visitors 1-0 up. On 58 minutes Pacey made another good save. He was beaten on 64 minutes, but Walters cleared off the line. On 68 minutes Pacey was called on again, and this time he managed to put a fine shot over the bar. Ely were still in the game, but it looked like they were going to struggle to get back on level terms. What was beginning to look like a hard job started to look like mission impossible on 80 minutes when Murray picked up his second booking in 10 minutes and a miserable afternoon for him and the team was confounded as he was given his marching orders. Gilfedder made it 2-0 with 4 minutes left and the visitors could have had a third at the death before the referee put us out of our misery.

That's what football is all about though and after a real treat of a game on Saturday a miserable game on Monday reminded us of why it's such a fascinating sport.

The goals from King's Lynn V Mickleover Sports

Some stuff from King's Lynn v Mickleover Sports



The programme, team sheet and ticket from King's Lynn's 7-0 victory over Mickleover Sports.

King's Lynn Town 7 Mickleover Sports 0 - Good Friday turns into Great Saturday




There is usually one game that stands out every season and this was the one that this season will be remembered for. Mickleover weren't a bad team, but Lynn were on fire and at times looked like the Barcelona of West Norfolk.

During the first 15 minutes of the game it looked like it was going to be a frustrating game for Lynn, Sam Mulready and Dan Jacob were causing Mickleover all sorts of problems, but Dan Quigley and Russell Dunkley seemed loathed to convert the chances. Luckily, they soon decided to do it by themselves. The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes when Danny Beaumont crossed from the left and Jacob produced a fine header at the far post for the Linnets to take the lead. After that it looked like the floodgates were going to open with Lynn attacking in swathes. They finally got a 2nd on 23 minutes when Mulready took the defence on on his own to put the home side 2-0 up. Despite these setbacks Mickleover continued to try and defend resolutely and for the most part did a good job despite being overrun frequently. Jordan Yong at left back was getting forward and causing all sorts of problems and there wasn't much that Sports could do to stop the fine and accurate passing of George Thomas. Despite all the dominance and shots on target though Lynn were finding it hard to extend their lead. The closest they came was when a clever chip by Russell Dunkley on 35 minutes beat the goalkeeper but hit the bar. Therefore it was a bit of a disappointment when Lynn went in at the break with only a 2 goal lead.

In fact Lynn didn't manage to add a third until 63 minutes when the Sports' defence undid a lot of their good work when a poor back pass was cleared equally poorly by the goalkeeper and Russell Dunkley punished them by slotting home Lynn's third. This time the floodgates were going to open though...

Just 2 minutes later Danny Beaumont skipped through the Mickleover defence and it was 4-0. On 81 minutes Ross Watson combined well in a well worked team goal with the 2 substitutes, Stephen Spriggs and Shane Tolley and Spriggs put the ball in the back of the goal to make it 5. Lynn weren't finished and continues to press to make up for just getting 2 in the first half. With 2 minutes left Mulready got his second when after his first shot was blocked he volleyed the ball in. Not to be outdone by Mulready, Beaumont also got his second in the last minute when Mulready turned to provider by playing the ball skilfully while on the deck to Beaumont for him to get his second and Lynn's 7th. What a game.

Ely City 1 Stanway Rovers 0 - Good Friday home win



The bank holiday footballing blitz got off to a fairly good start with Ely beating Stanway Rovers. Ely were clearly the better team, but the game wasn't actually full of chances. Ely got off to a good start when they hit the post on the 2nd minute. The next real clear cut chance came on 37 minutes when Chadwick came close with a header. Stanway had a really good chance to register a goal just 2 minutes later, but some how a decent cross from the left wing was greeted by 3 of the Stanway players kicking fresh air when the slightest of connections would have led to a goal and the ball went out for a throw in. Ely managed to go in at the break with a one goal lead though when Chadwick got the last touch in a goal line scramble to see the ball over the line.

The second half continued in the same vane as the first half with Ely having the better of the play, but without creating good chances. Stanway's best chance came on 61 minutes, but they again couldn't connenct and on 63 minutes Chadwick again came close. Ely had a shout for a penalty when a Stanway player appeared to handle the ball in the box in the last minute, but the referee wasn't interested and Ely ran out 1-0 winners.

Most played bands of March 2013



It's been a funny month for music. I listened to a lot of old faves, a few bands that I would never have thought of listening to normally and not as much non-English language stuff as I have been for the last year or so. Here is the play list for March 2013.

http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/March+2013/84894088

March 2013 by jim_bomb on Grooveshark
1 Kasabian - Fire
There was a period in the middle of the last decade when I gave this band quite a few plays. I think that I have been hankering for those bands that were a bit like the early 90s British bands and that is why they got so many plays.

2 De la Soul - A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturday'
I sometimes like a bit of hip hop, but not usually as soft as this lot, but anyway I enjoyed giving them a blast this month.

3 The Lines - Blisstability
There are a few bands called The Lines. This one is the post-rock band from the 80s. I think that a trip to Leyton Orient made me think of this type of music.

4 The Wedding Present - Brassneck
The Wedding Present were the first band I saw live and it was on the Brassneck tour

5 The Wedding Present - Cherez Richku Cherez Hai
The Wedding Present recorded a few songs in Ukrainian at the end of the 80's, did it subliminally effect me. Who knows?

6 Math & Physics Club - We're so DIY
They are a bit twee and sound remarkably like a British C86 band despite being contemporary Americans. Nice music for what the weather should have been like rather than what it was like.

7 Kapten Röd - Saknade Vänner
The title of this song translates to 'Missing Friends'. Swedish Reggae might sound incongruous, but it really is good stuff.

8 The Fall - Middle Class Revolt!
Well, that won't come true, but you have to admire The Fall, who are the band that I have seen live more than any other.

9 Mega City Four - Ticket Collector
I had a bit of a melancholy week at the start of the month and listened to these downers from my youth quite a bit.

10 The Farm - Hearts and Minds
One of those lad bands from the early 90s. Despite being from Liverpool they did like fanzines and subbuteo, so we'll let them off.

11 Vennaskond - Suvi
There have been quite a few Estonian punk bands in the monthly play lists, but these were the ones that started it all off.

12 Modest Mouse - The Good Times are Killing Me
Great song, nothing much else to say really.

13 Pint Shot Riot - Twisted Soul
One of those bands a bit like Kasabian from the middle of the last decade. Unlike Kasabian they didn't really catch on, although they probably made a bit of cash from having songs on video games.

14 Basement Jaxx - Where's Your Head at?
Not my usual sort of stuff, but it reminds me of Ukrainian MTV and trips to Hunstanton

15 Stanton Warriors - Who are the Warriors?
A bit like Basement Jaxx but a lot better.

Catching up on Easter

It's been a funny old season with postponements and abandonments occurring in more or less every month of the season, so I was looking forward to the Easter bonanza of 3 games in 4 days. The weather wasn't what you would have expected for Easter and decidedly looked more like Christmas, but fortunately everything went off without a hitch. I'll be catching up with reports of the 3 games after sorting out a few things and the off topic March play list. It wasn't disappointing though, Ely got off to a home win against Stanway and then I saw what was probably match of the season when King's Lynn knocked 7 past Mickleover Sports. Conversely, the last game of the bank holiday saw Ely lose to bogey team Woodbridge in what was the most lacklustre performance of the season. More about that later as there were mitigating circumstances to be fair.