City breeze past title rivals
Ely City 2 Norwich Dragons 0
ELY City’s fine start to the season continued with a comfortable victory over a strong visiting Norwich Dragons side on Saturday.
In a clash between second and third in the Division 2N table, Ely produced one of their best performances of the season so far to outclass their opponents and secure their sixth win in seven games this season.
Ely’s work-rate, movement, and ball circulation in the first half was excellent and left the Dragons largely on the back foot. Nick Wells was dominant in the middle of the pitch, Chris Purllant led the line well, Charlie Kisby was again busy up and down the left wing.
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Ely’s dominance was rewarded by a terrific goal from Feroze Abass, a short-corner move flicked high past the helpless Dragons keeper, though they should have been more than a goal ahead at the break, Purllant cracking the post with a fine strike, Jack Upton a whisker away from a cross at the close of the half and a plethora of other half-chances wasted.
In the second half, Dragons sat deeper, allowing Ely to control possession for long periods. Julian Palmer, Abass, and the two fullbacks, Freddie Upton and the outstanding Myles Forber controlled the game. Rutland, returning from a career-threatening knee injury, demonstrated his commitment to the team, playing the full 70 minutes for the home side. It was a measure of Ely’s dominance that Dragons lost their composure, losing two players to the sinbin.
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It was only in the final two minutes, though, that Ely managed to make the game safe – following two scares on the break and having seen Purllant hit the post again – when Purllant, with characteristic authority, converted a penalty flick, after a goal-bound shot from Jack Upton had been kicked off the line.
Captain Stu Clarke was delighted with the team’s performance: “The two young fullbacks were magnificent today and the work-rate of the whole team couldn’t be faulted,” he said.
“We were without three important players but the rest of the lads really stepped up to the plate. We have another tough game next week, but I’m proud of the effort today.”
Ely City III 1,
March Town III 2
ELY City III fell to a narrow defeat against a strong March III side.
Ely showed terrific character against a more experienced team, defending resolutely and attacking with purpose and imagination.
Chris Reay continued his remarkable start to his hockey career – five goals in five games now – with an opportunistic strike on the break. Youngsters Sam Dunkley and Alex Spence were also in good form and continue to show great promise.