First Division KO Cup: Pleasance pearler denies Ely City place in the last four

Ely City's Sam Goodge was denied by Stowmarket Town 'keeper Dan Boyce in their 1-0 defeat.

Ely City's Sam Goodge was denied by Stowmarket Town 'keeper Dan Boyce in their 1-0 defeat. - Credit: Archant

Ely City boss Brady Stone was gracious in defeat after the Robins’ First Division KO Cup run was halted in the quarter-finals by a plucky Stowmarket Town.

The Robins welcomed their Thurlow Nunn Division One rivals to the Unwin Ground on the back of a four-match winning run, but a superb 25-yard strike from Dean Pleasance ended their hopes of a cup success.

Stone, despite seeing his side exit the cup, praised the visitors for a resolute defensive performance.

He said: “We’re very disappointed to go out, but Stowmarket defended really well on a boggy, heavy pitch and they scored a really good goal.

“I think a draw would’ve have probably been the right result but they defended well and hit us on the break, so fair play to them.”

Sam Goodge, Matty Simpson and substitute James Tricks all had golden opportunities to draw level, but Dan Joyce was in inspired form in the Stowmarket goal and denied Ely scoring for only the third time this season.

Stone said: “We didn’t play well but we still managed to create chances and their keeper made three outstanding saves.”

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Ely will hope to get back on track on Saturday afternoon when they return to league action against Debenham LC, who are sitting in 13th.

The Robins travel to Suffolk eight points behind table-toppers Wivenhoe Town, and Stone says his side can’t afford to let their cup exit derail their promotion push.

“We all spoke after the game on Saturday and said how well we’re doing this season,” he said.

“It’d be a massive failure to let ourselves down at this point in the season, and we’ll go to Debenham and hopefully kick on and bounce back.”