Boss Brady Stone proud of Ely City’s historic FA Vase run
PUBLISHED: 10:58 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:58 31 January 2017
Brady Stone has spoke of his pride for his Ely City players after their heroic FA Vase run came to an end last weekend.
The Robins’ Wembley dream was brought to a halt by Midlands Football League side Sporting Khalsa, who fired in three second-half goals at the Unwin Ground to secure their passage into the last eight of the national competition.
And although Stone was disappointed to not see his side progress, he was full of praise for his players and their record-breaking journey – and the 646 fans who flocked to watch the two sides go head-to-head – a new club record.
“The players have been fantastic throughout the competition and I’m really proud of them,” he said.
“We’ve had a great run and it was a great day for the people of Ely. 650 of them came down and they helped to make it a great occasion.
“It’s just a shame we couldn’t give them the result they wanted.”
Ely were comprehensively beaten thanks to goals from Khalsa’s Craig Bannister, Dave Meese and Marvin Nisbett, but Stone believes a controversial penalty decision denied his men the opportunity to change the complexion of the game.
George Darling was scythed down in the box by Sporting’s Carlo Franco with the score at 0-0, but referee Ian Rathbone waved play on – a decision he later apologised for, according to Stone.
“They got their penalty in the second half and we should have had ours,” he said.
“The ref admitted to me that he should have given it and that would have changed the game completely.
“But I’ve got no complaints about the result in the end. The better team won.
“They didn’t let us play, they were very well organised at the back and disciplined and we wish them the best of luck in the next round.”
Stone will now turn his attentions back to ensuring his side’s survival in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
The Robins are currently sat in 19th position in the standings, but could climb two places with a victory over Kirkley & Pakefield this weekend.
“I’ve said to the lads that we’ve got a relegation battle on our hands and we need to focus on that now,” Stone said.
“We’ve got a tough run of games coming up – including the semi-final of the Invitation Cup in a fortnight – so we need to kick on.”