Joint-manager pleased with Ely City recovery after 'unacceptable' show

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Ryan Gibbs scores the second equaliser for Ely City to make it 2-2 vs Kirkley & Pakefield. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City fought back from what was labelled as an “unacceptable” first half to earn a well-deserved league point. 

After going behind twice at home to Kirkley & Pakefield today (Saturday), the Robins levelled twice to record a fourth 2-2 draw in six Eastern Counties Premier Division games. 

Ely joint-manager Luke McAvoy was disappointed with his side’s first half display, but was pleased with how they recovered after the break. 

“The first half was unacceptable; at half-time, we told the lads a few home truths and second half, we played with more aggression,” he said. 

“We offered fight, togetherness, much more desire wanting to do the dirty work and the basics but left themselves too much to do.” 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Jordan Foster (right) on the attack for Ely City. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely went behind to a Kyle Haylock strike on 23 minutes, before Luke Young’s whipped free-kick deceived visiting goalkeeper Jordan Smith midway through the second half. 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Haylock then netted to head the visitors back in front. 

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But Ryan Gibbs’ 81st-minute tap-in gave City, who then saw Taylor Hastings sent off in stoppage time for a late tackle, a share of the spoils at the Demcom Stadium. 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

The Robins are now unbeaten in six of their last seven games in all competitions, but McAvoy remains frustrated. 

“Their ‘keeper made a great save at the end to stop us from winning the game, but if we won it, I don’t think it would have been fair on Kirkley,” said McAvoy. 

“One week we’re good, like the Mulbarton win, then we turned in two average performances since which is frustrating.   

“But credit to the lads second half; they got something out of the game and didn’t give up.” 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

McAvoy feels the team has taken “a few steps back” in the last couple of weeks, which includes a 4-0 defeat at Woodbridge Town on February 5. 

He hopes Ely can show a repeat of their second half showing against Kirkley & Pakefield when they host Hadleigh United next Saturday, 3pm. 

Hadleigh are managed by ex-Robins player Steve Holder, who will be looking for a much-needed victory at his former club. 

“Our performance and intensity levels have dropped and I think some of it is down to poor preparation,” McAvoy added. 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

“We went to Hadleigh and won 3-0, so they’ll want to put that right. 

“If we can play like second half with that desire and intensity, we’ve got a chance and hopefully start getting good performances back.” 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

*Soham Town Rangers went down 2-1 at title chasers Halesowen Town in the Northern Premier League Division One Midlands on Saturday. 

They visit Daventry Town on February 19, 3pm. 

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Action from Ely City's draw with Kirkley & Pakefield in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Ryan Gibbs celebrates after scoring Ely City's second equaliser to make it 2-2 vs Kirkley & Pakefield. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

A Kirkley & Pakefield player lies hurt after a strong challenge from Ely City. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Kirkley & Pakefield FEB 2022

Ely City defender Taylor Hastings was sent off after a late tackle. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City: Harry Reynolds; Ash Walter, Brett Wyman (sub Dom Hunt, 90’+3), Josh Townshend, Tom Williams, Taylor Hastings, Luke Young (sub Josh Revell, 73’), Adam Capel, Ryan Gibbs, Ben Tait, Jordan Foster. 

Unused sub: Callum Chambers-Shaw. 

Cautions: Ely City – Reynolds, Wyman, Townshend. 

Sent off: Ely City – Hastings. 

Man of the match: Ben Tait.

Referee: Mr Jack Coupar. 

Attendance: 100.