Fakenham Town defeat wasn’t ideal for FA Vase preparations, admits Ely City boss Brady Stone

Brady Stone.

Brady Stone. - Credit: Archant

Brady Stone admits that Ely City’s 1-0 defeat to Fakenham Town on Saturday wasn’t the best way to warm up for their historic FA Vase clash with Sporting Khalsa this weekend.

A second-half header from the Norfolk side’s Josh Youngs separated the sides and Stone admitted he was disappointed to see the Robins’ five-match unbeaten run shudder to a halt.

“It was a pretty poor performance, especially after the performances we put on in our last two games,” the Ely boss said.

“The only positive thing really was that Sporting Khalsa’s manager came down to watch us and we didn’t really give anything away!

“Fakenham were quite direct and I’ll be the first to admit we got brought into that.

“It was a poor game in general – I think there were only one or two chances, the pitch wasn’t the best and it was a hard game to play football in. It wasn’t great to watch.”

Stone also conceded that the Robins are still stuck in a relegation battle – but believes they have the quality to move clear with a run of positive results.

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“A lot of the teams around us lost last weekend so we’re still right in it but we know we’re capable of pulling away from the bottom,” he said.

“There’s only 11 points between 20th and 13th so that shows how tight it is but I’ve got full belief in the players.”

Ely can begin their climb up the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division standings with a win against Kirkley & Pakefield on February 4, but before that is the small matter of the club’s biggest fixture in recent history – an FA Vase fifth-round tie with Sporting Khalsa.

The Robins have already made club history by reaching the fifth round, but Stone wants his men to go one better and take another step towards a dream final at Wembley in May.

“Saturday is a massive game for everyone at the club,” he said.

“We’ll go into it exactly how we have done in the other rounds, with big smiles on our faces and with nothing to lose.

“No-one expected us to get this far so I’ll just tell the boys to go out there, embrace it and enjoy the game.”

For more FA Vase build-up, read this Thursday’s Ely Standard.