Bosses launch bid for glory
ELY CITY manager Dennis Lightning has signed two players as the Robins make final preparations for the start of their Ridgeons First Division campaign. Newmarket centre-half Ben Lawrence and former Fordham striker John Sands confirmed their moves to Ely a
ELY CITY manager Dennis Lightning has signed two players as the Robins make final preparations for the start of their Ridgeons First Division campaign.
Newmarket centre-half Ben Lawrence and former Fordham striker John Sands confirmed their moves to Ely at the weekend.
And Lightning believes the signings will prove vital. He said: "We have a number of injuries so I knew that it was important to make further signings.
"I think that we have a strong squad now and we will need it this year. It will be a much harder season than the last one because good teams have come down into the division and they will be eager to bounce straight back up."
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But Lightning is pushing for promotion himself.
He said: "I know my best 11 but, with injuries and suspensions, that will change throughout the season."
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City enjoyed a confidence-boosting result in their final pre-season friendly on Saturday when they beat CRC 2-1.
Robbie Mason opened the scoring after just four minutes when he latched on to a long clearance and chipped the CRC keeper.
The visitors equalised before the break but the Robins dominated the second half and Dean Blackman got on the end of Jamie Alsop's cross to score the winner.
Lightning said: "We created enough chances to lead comfortably at half-time but we gave away a bad goal.
"I made nine changes at the break but we continued to play well and hit the woodwork three times before we scored."
Ely begin their Ridgeons First Division season on Saturday when they entertain Cornard United.
n SOHAM Town Rangers boast a 100 per cent record from their pre-season fixtures after a 3-2 win at UCL side Cogenhoe United.
Andy Furnell's opener was cancelled out by an equaliser on the half-hour. Adam Clements scored his first goal for Soham to regain the lead but United hit back again with a spot-kick.
Rangers continued to threaten and hit the woodwork before Scott Carter scored a late winner.
Soham manager Ian Benjamin said: "It was a very physical game but I was very pleased how the experienced players gelled with the younger lads on the pitch.
"We didn't always get that right last season so it was great to see our positive attitude."
Soham kick-off their Ridgeons Premier campaign with a trip to Kirkley and Pakefield on Saturday.
But Benjamin remains unsure of his starting line-up for the match. He said: "There have been some outstanding performances from players during the summer and they have staked a claim for a starting place.
"A good example is Martin Bromwich, who has come through the friendlies brilliantly and is now in contention for a start.
"It is important that we continue our good form. I am sure there will be a few nerves but if we can settle down early on then we will have a great chance of getting a result."
n MILDENHALL Town manager Trevor Munns has described his squad as "the strongest I have had in seven seasons with the club".
He said: "We have a very good squad and some strength in depth but back-up in key positions will be tested from the very first game."
Munns faces a daunting injury list ahead of Town's Ridgeons Premier opener at Felixstowe and Walton United on Saturday.
New signing Andy Claydon will be out for two months after breaking a metatarsal in the friendly against AFC Sudbury.
And he is joined in the treatment room by Lewis Blois (calf), Andy Lodge (ankle), Simon Betts (groin), Ian Salt (ankle) and Niall Inman (groin).
Andy Eady will also miss the first three games of the season through suspension.
Munns said: "I have tried to make sure that we have cover in every position and there will be other times during the season when our squad strength will be tested.
"I think that the league will be more competitive and open than ever and I expect to see five or six teams battling for the championship."
The Mildenhall manager has strengthened his squad with the signing of Daniel Flack, who has impressed in pre-season.
Flack was in the Town squad that lost 4-2 to a Southend United XI on Saturday - the final pre-season game of the summer.
Matt Robinson and Liam Harrold hit the target for Town and Munns was satisfied with his team's performance.
He said: "We played fairly well considering we had a lot of players missing and it was a very hot day.
"Pre-season has been up and down in terms of performances but it has been more about building fitness and attracting big crowds.