NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Ely City hopeful that FA Vase disappointment will be followed by Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division delight

Ely City boss Brady Stone saw his side bow out of the FA Vase last Saturday.

Ely City boss Brady Stone saw his side bow out of the FA Vase last Saturday. - Credit: Archant

Brady Stone has challenged his Ely City players to turn FA Vase disappointment into league delight.

The Robins crashed out of the national competition last Saturday when suffering a 5-2 defeat at fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Newmarket Town in the second qualifying round.

Matty Simpson failed to take two glorious early chances before City fell behind as the hosts scored twice in quick succession.

Stone’s side responded as Sam Reed applied the finish to a slick passing move, but City’s defensive failings reared their ugly head again within two minutes.

Reed struck again on the stroke of half-time after being picked out by a long Tom Williams pass to leave the tie delicately poised at the break.

But City conceded again early in the second half after goalkeeper Evan Jeckells tipped an initial effort against the bar.

Sam Goodge then saw a one-on-one opportunity kept out before Reed was denied his hat-trick by the post as Ely attempted to respond before a final Newmarket goal late on ended their hopes of fighting back.

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“We looked good going forward,” said Stone. “We scored twice, we hit the post and missed a couple of other good chances that we created.

“But we were very poor defensively. We made some terrible individual mistakes and it’s disappointing to concede five goals a week after keeping a clean sheet in the league.

“It just highlights the lack of consistency that has always held us back.”

But Stone is backing his players to deliver the right response when hosting Thetford in a Premier Division clash under the Ellgia Stadium lights on Friday night, 7.45pm.

City are unbeaten on home turf so far this term and another victory could lift them up to second place in the standings.

“We trained really well on Tuesday and I’m looking for a reaction,” added Stone.

“I’m a big fan of Friday-night football. We tend to pull in a big crowd and we need to ensure we perform well enough to make those people want to return.

“It would be brilliant to end the night sitting second in the table.”

Captain Jamie Alsop is away and wideman Deakan Napier is also unavailable, but Liam Griffin and Lewis Hook are expected to return to the City squad after injury. They came through appearances for the club’s reserve side last weekend.

The Ely second string were beaten 5-3 by Brampton in the Cambridgeshire County League Premier Division despite a hat-trick from Luke Mansfield.