Ely hold out for Walsham win

Ely City 1 Walsham-le-Willows 0

AUSTEN Diaper’s third-minute strike was enough to earn Ely City all three points against strugglers Walsham on Saturday.

With his back to goal and a defender breathing down his neck, the striker turned on a sixpence and volleyed past the visiting keeper to hand the Robins the lead and, ultimately, the win.

Alan Alsop’s men maintained their second-place position in the Ridgeons Premier Division with the win and they will be hoping for another three points on Saturday when they take on lowly Kirkley and Pakefield.

Having opened the scoring with little more than two minutes on the clock, the Robins kicked on and were unlucky not to stretch their lead as Dave Wilson fed Stuart Walker, who clattered the bar with a driven shot from inside the box.

The visiting keeper then pulled off a superb double save to keep his side in the match as Diaper had a diving header from six yards beaten away and Luke Parkinson saw his follow-up shot from close range blocked.

The Robins continued to pile on the pressure after a blistering opening salvo, with Walsham unable to muster a single shot in anger on Lee Pacey’s goal.

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In the closing stages of the half, defender Ben Lawrence saw his header cleared off the line as an alert back-post defender reacted quickly.

The half-time break appeared to be the perfect fillip for the visitors, as they emerged for the second half with renewed purpose.

Their midfield started to compete effectively with Ely’s and their defence was able to repel the fleeting Robins’ attacks.

With only a single goal between the two teams and with the minutes ebbing away, the visitors started to grow in confidence and goalkeeper Pacey had to be at his best to stop a well-directed header from creeping in at his near post.

Josh Bridgeman and Richard Chadwick were thwarted late on by the visiting keeper amid a goal-mouth scramble and Thomas Wright drove wide when through on goal for the hosts.

The chance of the half came in the 90th minute however, as, with Pacey stranded on the penalty spot, the ball came loose to a Walsham midfielder, whose lobbed shot sailed inches over with the goal gaping.