NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Ely City finally able to celebrate FA Cup success

Steve Holder scored both Ely City goals in the FA Cup win at Potton. Picture: IAN CARTER

Steve Holder scored both Ely City goals in the FA Cup win at Potton. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

Ely City boss Brady Stone was finally able to celebrate FA Cup success as the club’s terrific start to the season continued.

The Robins made progress in the famous competition for the first time in six years courtesy of a 2-1 victory at Potton United in the extra preliminary round.

Strike ace Steve Holder struck both of the goals at the Hutchinson Hollow last Saturday to leave City chief Stone with a mixture of relief and delight.

"It's brilliant to finally win an FA Cup tie," said Stone. "And we did it without ever really getting out of second gear.

"We certainly weren't at our best, but it is about finding a way to get through and we managed to do that.

"The lads dug deep to get the result and keep our great start to the season going, but we know there is room for improvement."

City were firm favourites to triumph after launching the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division season with back-to-back victories whereas their Bedfordshire hosts had suffered defeats in both of their Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division outings.

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City seized the initiative early on with Tom Williams heading against the bar before Joe Brannan failed to make the most of another excellent headed opportunity.

Holder then saw an effort cleared off the line by a Potton defender, but a breakthrough appeared inevitable and it duly arrived when Holder headed in just after the half-hour mark.

Luke Crisp and Jordan Foster both went close to extending the advantage before the break and the latter player then fired into the side-netting in a one-on-one situation early in the second period.

And that miss proved to be costly when Potton levelled with a wind-assisted free-kick from 30 yards which flew over Robins keeper Harry Reynolds.

But City responded well and Holder applied the decisive blow from the penalty spot after Foster was brought down in the box.

Sam Reed missed a late chance to make victory certain while one smart save from Reynolds ensured Potton couldn't reply again.

City's success earned them £2,250 in prize money and they are also rewarded with a trip to higher-level Wisbech Town in the preliminary round on August 24.

The Robins return to league action on Friday night when hosting pointless Long Melford at the newly-named Demcom Stadium, 7.45pm - knowing a victory will fire them to the Premier Division summit.

Stone added: "It would be brilliant to see us sitting at the top of the table and that's the goal.

"Hopefully we can keep the winning run going and we'd love a big crowd there to get behind us."