Ely City can ‘cause a few shocks’ in Premier Division, says boss Stone after Robins record 14th straight win on final day

Ely City celebrate their promotion to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division. Picture: Steve Williams.

Ely City celebrate their promotion to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Ely City boss Brady Stone has refused to rule out a Leicester City-like challenge in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division next season.

The Robins manager saw his side sign off a hugely successful season with a fourteenth consecutive league win over Halstead Town on Saturday afternoon, and says that the sides his men will come up against should keep an eye out for the Unwin Ground outfit.

Speaking on his plans for Ely’s next campaign, Stone said: “We just want to keep the players we’ve got now and stay up.

“The Premier Division is a lot more tough and physical, and we know what sort of challenge we’ve got coming up.

“A little cup run would be nice, but we just want to stay in the division.”

When asked if the Robins can shock the division with an unlikely title win – like Premier League champions Leicester City – Stone remained tight-lipped.

“Staying up is the aim, but if we can continue the form we ended this season on then we can definitely cause a few shocks,” he said.

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Ely City concluded a fine Division One campaign on Saturday afternoon with a fourteenth straight league win, thanks to a late, late header from emerging star, Luke Mansfield.

Mansfield rose highest to head home a Jamie Alsop cross in the final minute, and Brady Stone was over the moon to see his side turn in such a positive performance on the final day.

He said: “It was a really, really good game. Both keepers made some really good saves and Halstead played well and a draw was probably a fair result at the end of the day.

“We went into the game having already got promotion so we didn’t really have much to play for, so for the lads to show that attitude and discipline against a good side like that was absolutely fantastic.”

Mansfield was one of Ely’s stand-out players at the weekend, and Stone says the younger players in his squad won’t be sat on the sidelines when their Premier Division campaign kicks off in August.

He said: “A few of the younger lads have been with us all season, and we definitely want to reward them with playing time next season.”

The Robins finished their campaign in second, just three points behind title-winners Wivenhoe Town - an achievement which seemed farfetched only months ago.

“I think we were something like 20 points behind Wivenhoe at Christmas,” Stone said.

“So for us to finish the season with fourteen wins and only three points behind just shows how far we’ve come.”