Five games to go top
RIDGEONS LEAGUE, FIRST DIVISION Ely City 1 Whitton United 0 BRADY Stone s late header moved Ely up to fourth in the table, with games in hand over the teams above them. Ely now have four games in hand over league leaders Swaffham Town and maximum points
RIDGEONS LEAGUE, FIRST DIVISION
Ely City 1 Whitton United 0
BRADY Stone's late header moved Ely up to fourth in the table, with games in hand over the teams above them.
Ely now have four games in hand over league leaders Swaffham Town and maximum points from these would put them level on points.
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They face five of the top seven teams in their next five matches, so the next few weeks are likely to shape the outcome of their whole season.
Ely were without captain Andy Chatters, who is expected to be sidelined for at least two more weeks with ankle ligament damage, and Nick Impey, Richard Dewsbury, Tony Brown and goalkeeper Tim Catley were also unavailable. Leigh Follen came in to play between the sticks.
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The first half was an intriguing battle, with Whitton having large periods of possession in the centre of the park, but the Robins always looking the more likely to score.
Ely left-back Jamie Thurlbourne came close with two efforts from distance; the first narrowly missing the left post and the second forcing a good save from the impressive Whitton goalkeeper.
Martin Westcott had a couple of half-chances to open the scoring, but the best opportunity of the first period fell to Mark Johnson, yet the Ely midfielder screwed his shot over the crossbar from six yards out.
Ely upped the tempo in the second half as they went in search of the opening goal but the Whitton keeper was in fine form.
At the other end the Ely defence looked comfortable and Follen confidently dealt with everything that came his way.
Centre-back Stone almost scored in the 68th minute but his header narrowly missed the target after a free-kick came in.
The impressive Robins' defence, with Vinnie Long particularly flawless, gave the team a solid platform which allowed them to keep pushing for the winner. This eventually came in the 83rd minute when Thurlbourne whipped in an excellent free-kick and Stone's cleverly flicked header found the back of the net.
n To see how Ely got on in their Ridgeons League Cup match against Godmanchester Rovers on Tuesday night, turn to page 39.