NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Ely City enjoy a gr-eight friendly success against Soham Town Rangers
PUBLISHED: 09:11 17 July 2019
Ely City left boss Brady Stone drooling after dishing out a pre-season drubbing to neighbours Soham Town Rangers.
The Robins roared to an 8-1 triumph against their higher-level local rivals in a Tuesday-night massacre at the Unwin Ground which featured a hat-trick from new striking capture Ryan Harnwell.
It was a first victory of the summer for City - who had lost at Step 4 side Yaxley and Step 7 outfit West Wratting in their previous friendly outings - and could hardly have arrived in more spectacular style as they stepped up their preparations for the new Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division season.
"We're over the moon with the performance and the result," said Stone.
"We treated it as a proper derby game against our local rivals and can take a lot of positives form it.
"We scored some excellent goals against higher-level opponents and there's nothing better for the confidence in pre-season than that.
"I told the players after the game that they have set their standards now and we need to ensure we hit this level consistently in the remaining three weeks of pre-season.
The only disappointment on an otherwise splendid night for City was the early loss of captain Jamie Alsop with a back problem.
Goalkeeper Harry Reynolds saved a penalty for the second successive friendly before Ash Walter opened the scoring with a 25-yard blast.
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Walter then earned a penalty that Harnwell tucked away before the new frontman, who agreed terms with the Robins before the game, struck again to open up a 3-0 lead at the break.
Harnwell completed his hat-trick as the goals continued to flow in the second half with Tom Williams volleying in a fifth goal from close range before Soham claimed a consolation.
But normal service was soon resumed as substitute City striker Josh Lowe struck twice - the second of his goals created by another new recruit, Michael Harvey, who has arrived from Hadleigh - before Sam Reed completed the scoring.
City now face Cambridgeshire County League side Great Shelford this Saturday (3pm) in a match being played at Cambourne Village College.
A trip to higher-level St Ives Town on Tuesday (7.45pm) will then provide a stern test for the Robins as they count down to the new campaign.
City have been drawn away to Spartan South Midlands League side Potton United in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.
That tie takes place on August 10 with the winners advancing to meet higher-level Wisbech Town at the preliminary round stage on August 24.
City have a home clash in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase as they entertain United Counties League team Peterborough Northern Star on August 31.
A trip to fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Thetford Town could then await in the second qualifying round on September 14.