NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Pride and devastation for Ely City after they are hit by a later sucker-punch from the leaders

PUBLISHED: 10:15 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:15 13 February 2019

Ely City men Steve Holder (left) and Sam Goodge (right) do battle against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTER

Ely City men Steve Holder (left) and Sam Goodge (right) do battle against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTER

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Boss Brady Stone has urged his Ely City players to take heart from their most agonising defeat of the season.

Ely City goalkeeper Harry Reynolds uses his head against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTEREly City goalkeeper Harry Reynolds uses his head against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTER

The Robins were stung by a last-gasp goal – scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time – when succumbing to a 2-1 loss to title favourites Histon in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last Saturday.

City fell behind in the 17th minute at the Ellgia Stadium before striker Steve Holder saw a penalty saved, but they soon clawed their way level as leading scorer Sam Reed pounced following a corner.

And that’s the way it stayed until Histon frontman Dan Brown, who had a spell on loan at Ely last season, provided a late sucker-punch.

“I’m absolutely gutted for the all the lads,” said Stone. “To concede in the 94th minute when the referee said there would only be three added on was really cruel.

Action from Ely City's narrow defeat to Histon. Picture: IAN CARTERAction from Ely City's narrow defeat to Histon. Picture: IAN CARTER

“There’s no doubt we deserved a draw and it could have been a point which really changed our season.

“But our lads can be hugely proud of the performance they produced and it showed we can compete against any team at our level.”

The loss of midfielder Sam Goodge to a knee injury, which forced him off just after half-time and is likely to rule him out for at least a month, was a further blow to City.

Stone’s men are now two points above the relegation zone, but the team immediately below them – Great Yarmouth – boast two games in hand.

Sam Goodge hits the deck but keeps hold of the ball for Ely City against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTERSam Goodge hits the deck but keeps hold of the ball for Ely City against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTER

City begin a crucial run of fixtures against other teams in the bottom half of the standings when going to Norwich United this Saturday, 3pm.

They also face Hadleigh (February 23), Thetford (March 2), Norwich United again (March 9) and FC Clacton (March 23) during a series of matches which are likely to have a huge impact on their season.

“By the end of March we’ll know where we stand,” added Stone. “We have five really important games ahead and the target for the lads is to try to pick up three wins.

“There is no reason why we can’t do that.”

Alex Batten on the ball for Ely City against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTERAlex Batten on the ball for Ely City against Histon. Picture: IAN CARTER

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