Hockey

Ely City 1

Bourne Deeping 5

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Ely City’s hopes of a miraculous escape from relegation slipped further away on Saturday in the wake of a heavy defeat to mid-table Bourne Deeping.

Ely were missing no less than five first team regulars on the day and were once again punished as a result, with plenty of hard work and endeavour but nothing to show for their efforts.

City have taken just a single point from 16 games played so far this season, with their nearest rivals – Upminster - some 14 points clear in 11th place.

In order to escape a drop back to East Hockey League Division 2N, City would need to win the majority, if not all, of their remaining six league fixtures

Ely started brightly against Bourne, with a slight change in formation that saw veteran Julian Palmer playing a pivotal role at the anchor of the midfield to try and utilise his vision and distribution.

However, a lapse in concentration within the first 10 minutes resulted in Bourne Deeping scoring the opening goal. The early breakthrough gave Bourne the confidence to put the pressure on Ely and it was only fantastic saves from Rory Gilmour and the tireless work of the backs which prevented any further goals for the majority of the half.

Try as they might, Ely couldn’t make it to half-time and in the last five minutes of the half, a passage of slick passing from Bourne carved Ely in two and the visitors doubled their lead going into the break.

A poor start to the second half saw Bourne move further ahead as a simple through-ball to the Bourne attacker saw him go through one on one with the Ely keeper and slot Bourne’s third goal.

Ely played better in the wake of the third goal and probing attacks from Ruairidh McDonald and Sam Dudley opened the opposition defence only for their keeper to produce some quality saves.

McDonald’s hard work earned Ely their first and subsequently only short corner of the game but outstanding defensive work from Bourne saw the chance snuffed out. But some intelligent play from the midfield trio of Palmer, Wells and Clarke saw the captain get his first goal of the season and give Ely a glimmer of hope heading into the business end of the match.

With play going end-to-end, the next goal was to prove crucial and, unfortunately for Ely, patient attacking play from Bourne won them a penalty corner which they dispatched with ease.

With no subs, the Ely team looked tired and it began to tell as Bourne got more and more chances. They finally completed a deserved win with a fifth goal late in the game.

Ely captain Stu Clarke said: “I can not ask anymore of my team they work extremely hard we were beaten by a better team. I’m proud of the way we have stuck together during an extremely hard season.”

City must hope they can find a way to force their first win of the season on Saturday when they travel to Cambs rivals St Ives.

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