Battling Ely City fall just short as three-year cup reign ends

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City’s three-year reign in the Cambs Invitation Cup has come to an end, but they most certainly put up a fight. 

Ash Walter fired the Robins back on level terms, but a dominant second half from Cambridge United Development saw them run out 2-1 winners at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday night. 

“The boys didn’t give up and I can’t fault them for effort,” Luke McAvoy, Ely joint-boss, said, 

“They know they can get something out of these games, but on the night, United were too good.” 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Ely City fell just short in their Cambs Invitation Cup final against Cambridge United Development. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Goalkeeper Harry Reynolds was called into action on several occasions during an entertaining first half, when Saleem Akanbi stroked home on 19 minutes. 

Walter’s thunderous volley then levelled the score 10 minutes later in an even contest. 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Ash Walter celebrates his goal for Ely City vs Cambridge United Development. - Credit: Nick Bowman

But United’s persistence after half-time paid off when midfielder Kai Yearn’s 71st-minute strike found the top corner past a helpless Reynolds. 

Most Read

“We created the odd half chance, but second half we hardly got a touch,” admitted McAvoy.  

“They upped a gear and once it went 2-1, we wanted to stay compact and try get something on the break.” 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Ely City goalscorer Ash Walter vs Cambridge United Development. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely, who last won the cup in 2019 before a two-season break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, responded strongly after United’s first goal but were resorted to defending deep for much of the second half. 

Talisman Ryan Gibbs went closest for City, backed by a strong following, when his shot was blocked by a combination of defenders and woodwork on 80 minutes. 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

It was a much-improved Robins performance in contrast to last Saturday’s 2-2 league draw with Whitton United, something McAvoy does not quite understand why. 

“I think it’s when we play the lesser teams; I don’t know if it’s attitude, but we end up drawing or losing,” he said. 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely now aim for a strong finish to the Eastern Counties Premier Division season, starting with a clash against Walsham-le-Willows at the Demcom Stadium on Friday night, 7.45pm. 

It has been a disappointing campaign for his 12th-placed side, but McAvoy will take belief from an upbeat cup final outing. 

“We know who we are and where we should be; we wanted to punch above our weight,” he added. 

“It was good to play in the final; shame we couldn’t give a better performance but we will try to stay positive.” 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City: Harry Reynolds; Josh Revell, Adam Capel, Dom Hunt, Tom Williams (C), Taylor Hastings, Luke Crisp, Ash Walter, Ryan Gibbs, Ben Tait (sub Callum Chambers-Shaw), Luke Young (sub Jordan Foster). 

Unused subs: Louie Bull, Louis Jenkins, Alex Theobald. 

Cautions: Ely City – Williams, Walter. 

Man of the match: Harry Reynolds.

Referee: Mr Thomas Kelly. 

Attendance: 285 

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Ely City joint-managers Luke McAvoy and Ben Farmer (left) watch on. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Action from Ely City vs Cambridge United Development in the Cambs Invitation Cup. - Credit: Nick Bowman

Ely City vs Cambridge United Development MAR 29 2022

Ely City battled hard but fell just short vs Cambridge United Development. - Credit: Nick Bowman