High hopes at the start
THE football season kicks off on Saturday with Ely, Soham and Mildenhall all playing at home. The three teams have had mixed fortunes in their pre-season warm up matches, but all managers are confident a successful season lies ahead. Soham Town Rangers fi
THE football season kicks off on Saturday with Ely, Soham and Mildenhall all playing at home.
The three teams have had mixed fortunes in their pre-season warm up matches, but all managers are confident a successful season lies ahead.
Soham Town Rangers finished their
hectic run of friendlies with a 4-1 win against UCL Division One champions Sleaford Town on Saturday, to ensure they have remained unbeaten in the run-up to the season.
A lack of available players meant Soham manager Ian Benjamin had to play from the start and was also forced to play people out of position.
Despite this, Soham opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a strong header from Steve Bell. The Soham striker added another goal 10 minutes into the second half and Paul Jones struck in the 70th minute to make it three. Sleaford pulled one back a minute later, but captain Peter Hinde made sure of victory by converting in injury time.
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A controversial penalty meant Ely City were beaten 2-1 by Cambridge team CRC in their final warm-up game on Saturday.
Ely manager Dennis Lightning fielded a strong side, with Ben Green returning to the Robins this season, adding some much-needed pace up-front.
Ely started well but CRC opened the scoring, against the run of play, after 13 minutes when a Tony Brown block fell to a CRC forward who slotted into an open net.
New signing Brady Stone equalised for the Robins, grabbing his first goal for the club by side-footing the ball in after some good build-up play by the pacey Green.
Ely were denied a penalty a minute later, when Nick Impey was impeded by a CRC defender, only to have his claims waved away by the referee.
Lightning said: "I felt we deserved more out of the game, and maybe if the referee was a bit braver and given us the blatant penalty we would have."
Goalkeeper Lee Follen was beaten again after 38 minutes as a low shot crept into the Robins' goal.
The second half was played at a much slower pace, with both teams taking the opportunity for more substitutions and the game finished 2-1.
Lightning remained positive about Ely's performance: "Even though we haven't won I think we've played well.
"We have a hard game against Tiptree on Saturday, but I think we'll do well. We've looked good defensively in pre-season."
Long-range efforts from Paul Miles and Wayne Goddard ensured Mildenhall drew 2-2 against Ryman side Bury Town in their last warm-up game on Monday night.
INFO: Ely City open their Ridgeons Division 1 campaign at home against Tiptree United, while, in the Ridgeons Premier League, Soham play Clacton Town and Mildenhall face Stanway Rovers.