NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Ely City pick up a point but slide closer to the drop

PUBLISHED: 11:21 27 March 2019

Sam Goodge's return from injury will boost Ely City's survival bid. Picture: IAN CARTER

Sam Goodge's return from injury will boost Ely City's survival bid. Picture: IAN CARTER

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Ely City assistant boss Martin Grey was left with mixed emotions last Saturday.

Ely City star Lee Reed struck from the penalty spot against FC Clacton. Picture: ELY CITY FCEly City star Lee Reed struck from the penalty spot against FC Clacton. Picture: ELY CITY FC

Grey took charge of the Robins along with director of football, Alan Alsop, for their 1-1 draw against FC Clacton in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division with boss Brady Stone serving a stadium ban.

And while the point gained in the Ellgia Stadium deadlock prevented City from falling into the relegation zone, Grey felt they missed out on a good chance to claim a vital victory in their survival battle.

Ely fell behind on the half-hour after conceding a sloppy goal, but Lee Reed levelled from the penalty spot seven minutes into the second period after Alex Theobald was brought down.

A City side, featuring impressive recent recruits Adam Capel and Jack Saunders, then saw two further appeals for a spot-kick ignored while a fine save from a Tom Williams header denied them a second goal.

Grey said: “It was one of those days where we picked up what could prove to be an important point, but we also could view it as two points dropped.

“We’ve got to cut out conceding sloppy goals, but the response from the players in the second half was positive.”

City are one of three teams locked together on 29 points with only a superior goal difference compared to fellow strugglers Long Melford keeping them out of the bottom two.

And they face a daunting run with all five remaining league fixtures being against sides currently in the top six.

The first of those is this Saturday as Grey again takes charge for a trip to Walsham-le-Willows, 3pm, when the City squad will be boosted by the return of influential midfielder Sam Goodge.

He came through a 25-minute run-out in a friendly against higher-level Mildenhall Town last night (Tuesday) in which City lost 3-2 but performed well. Williams and Rukky Diejomaoh hit their goals.

Grey added: “It was a useful exercise to get minutes into a few lads and very pleasing that Sam came through it after injury.

“We have a very tough run-in ahead of us, but we need to find a couple of wins from somewhere if we can.”

City’s visit to fifth-placed Walsham-le-Willows is followed by an April 6 date at Woodbridge. They then go to Kirkley & Pakefield on April 22 before finishing the campaign at home to Godmanchester Rovers (April 22) and Woodbridge (April 27).

* The Ely City veterans’ side have a friendly at the Ellgia Stadium tomorrow night (Friday) against Isleham. It’s a 7.45pm kick-off and admission is £2

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