Ely City 3-2 Kirkley & Pakefield: assistant Robins boss hails Alex Theobald after striker fires FA Vase winner

Alex Theobald netted his first goal since returning from injury last weekend.

Alex Theobald netted his first goal since returning from injury last weekend. - Credit: Archant

Ely City assistant manager Martin Grey has praised striker Alex Theobald after he netted the winner in the Robins’ 3-2 FA Vase success over Kirkley & Pakefield.

Theobald, who has been out of action since the end of Ely’s last campaign, bagged an extra-time winner as the Robins secured their place in the second round of the competition on Saturday.

And Grey, who took over the managerial reins at the Unwin in the absence of Brady Stone, says he is relieved for the striker who finished last season as the club’s top scorer.

“We missed him at the start of the season,” said Grey. “He didn’t have a pre-season because of his injury but he got 120 minutes at the weekend which will be good for him.

“He was getting frustrated because he hadn’t scored for a while so I’m sure the goal will give him a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season.”

Ely took the lead against fellow Thurlow Nunn Premier Division outfit Kirkley & Pakefield through Ash Walter, but the visitors fired back to force extra-time.

Tom Williams’ first Ely goal looked to have sealed their passage into the next round, but they were pegged back again before Theobald fired the decisive goal.

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“I’m really pleased with the result,” said Grey. “It’s good for the club and the lads to progress into the next round of a big competition and we’ll look forward to the next round.

“The first half was a scrappy, cagey affair but we brought on Kelvin [Enaro] and Matty [Simpson] in the second half and that changed the game as they brought more pace into the side.

“We got a goal and I thought that would be enough but they equalised and it went into extra-time.

“Both teams went for it in extra-time and we had some great chances but the lads kept going and got the winner.”

Grey has now challenged his men to embark on a winning league run, and is hoping it can be kicked off with six points from their meetings with Walsham le Willows (September 17) and Godmanchester Rovers (September 20).

He said: “We’ve got two massive league games coming up. Both sides are right around us in the table and we want to be looking at the teams above us, rather than looking down. We need to push away from them.”