So far it's been a season to forget for Ely and more and more players seem to be jumping ship, so the league cup offered a chance to offer a diversion from the rigours of the league and also offered the chance for some of the new players to stake their place in the starting level.
The opposition was Haverhill Borough, who were only formed a couple of years ago and after promotion last year and a good run in the Vase are now sitting at the top of Division 1. It was difficult to know before the game what sort of opposition they would provide for Ely. They had knocked out some fairly decent sides in last year's Vase run, but at the same time the gulf between the Premier and Division 1 of the Eastern Counties League seems to have grown over the last few seasons.
The game got off to a brilliant start with Adam Murray starting up front instead of Central Defence. Striker Richard Chadwick has departed from Newmarket and Darren Coe was available again. Murray has always done well when he has been asked to play up front, so the decision was not a desperate one. The fact that it wasn't a strange decision was underlined when Murray latched on to a long clearance too steer the ball home with a header that was more powerful than a lot of players could have volleyed it. Murray had a second goal on 24 minutes when Austin Diaper and Stuart Walker combined well on the right before Diaper crossed for Murray to make it 2-0. The whole half was dominated by Ely, although on the odd occasion when Haverhill did threaten there were still question marks hanging over the defence that will need to be answered in the league. That said, Ely should have been out of sight by half time after a flurry of chances, the best one being Murray hitting the crossbar on 27 minutes. Murray and Ely though finished the half 2-0 up, but it could have been so much more.
The Robins and Muzza carried on the second half as they had finished the second half. Within two minutes Adam Murray had his hat trick after beating the offside trap and finishing with aplomb. As the game went on Ely grew in confidence and Josh Townsend on the left was particularly impressive and seems like a decent replacement for Luke Parkinson. Lewis MacDonald was also having a good game and stung the keeper's fingers on a couple of occasions. If there was one complaint though Coe and Pacey looked a bit shaky at the back and another club would have punished them.
The positives outweighed the negatives and the Robins hadn't finished. Andre Mendes came on as substitute and scored with his first touch of the game. The shine was taken off his goal a bit though, as the visitors went up the other end and scored from the restart. With five minutes to go though Mendes had his second and had restored Ely's 4 goal lead after hitting a sweet volley after a Sam Parkinson cross.
5-1 is a great result, and let's hope it has given Ely the confidence boost that they needed now that they have a run of tricky away games coming up throughout October.