NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Relegation fears for Ely City chief after third successive defeat

Ely City boss Brady Stone.

Ely City boss Brady Stone. - Credit: Archant

Manager Brady Stone admits Ely City have fallen back into a Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division relegation battle.

The Robins suffered a third successive defeat when beaten 3-1 at FC Clacton last Saturday after initially leading through an Alex Brown goal.

Stone’s men were also beaten by the same scoreline in their final two outings of 2018 – away at title-chasing Godmanchester Rovers on Boxing Day and at home against Haverhill Rovers on December 29.

City sit four points above the bottom three, but all five teams below them in the standings have games in hand and Stone is a worried man ahead of a blank Saturday in which they are without a fixture.

He said: “I firmly believe we are good enough to stay up – but at the moment I can see us going down as we’re just not working hard enough.

“We were outstanding when we drew at a top Stowmarket side just before Christmas and we also did very well when losing at leaders Godmanchester on Boxing Day.

“But they last two games have been very disappointing and we’re now in real danger of being relegated.

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“The players have to start putting a shift in otherwise I will have no alternative other than to make changes.

“It really is shape up or ship out time because we have to start putting points on the board.

“The break this Saturday comes at a good time as we’re getting a few lads back from injury who can get minutes into the reserves and then come back into the first-team squad the following week.”

City are battling to avoid a second relegation from the Premier Division in five seasons. They also went down in the 2014/15 campaign after having to rebuild their entire playing squad following a mass exodus the previous summer.

* Ely City Reserves dished out an 8-0 drubbing to strugglers St Neots Town Reserves in the Kershaw Premier Division of the Cambridgeshire County League last Saturday.

Joe Brannan hit a hat-trick with strikes from Scott Callaghan, Rhys Mazey, Alex Thoebald, Tom Thulborn and an own goal completing their haul while goalkeeper Evan Jeckells saved a penalty at the other end.