Injury horror and two off in City nightmare
ELY City finished with only eight men as they lost in the league for the first time since September in a controversial First Division match at Saffron Walden Town. Robbie Mason and Josh Beech who received their marching orders, as promotion-chasing City c
ELY City finished with only eight men as they lost in the league for the first time since September in a controversial First Division match at Saffron Walden Town.
Robbie Mason and Josh Beech who received their marching orders, as promotion-chasing City crashed to a 1-0 defeat.
"It was more than just a 1-0 loss," said Robins boss Dennis Lightning afterwards. "It was probably one of my worst days in football."
City dominated the opening 25 minutes without scoring, but then suffered a devastating injury blow as Blackman dislocated his knee.
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The game was held up for more than an hour as the players waited for the ambulance to arrive, and as Blackman - now out for the rest of the season - departed from the ground, Lightning had to ask his players whether or not they wished to continue.
The players decided to carry on, but failed to heed Lightning's words or warning.
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"I said that we needed to stay disciplined, because they (Walden) get in your face and wind you up."
Mason was red-carded for retaliating on the hour mark, and with 20 minutes remaining Beech was received his second caution and followed his team-mate into the dressing room.
"They (Walden) still didn't look like scoring," said Lightning, but City - with all three substitutes on the field - then lost central defender Ben Lawrence with an ankle injury to leave them with eight men.
With five minutes remaining, the hosts won a corner kick and Stuart Kingham nodded in the only goal of the game to leave Ely point-less and frustrated.
Lightning's troops are now 13 points adrift of leaders Tiptree United (who beat Cornard United 3-1 on Friday night), and only five points clear of their nearest pursuers Diss Town and Saffron Walden.
# On Tuesday night Ely travelled to Gorleston in the Quarter-Finals of the Ridgeons League Cup, hoping to give a debut to striker Mark Paul, a recent signing from Yaxley.
Blackman and Lawrence missed the cup tie though injury and Dave Smith was still unavailable, but Tony Brown was likely to return to the side.
"It gives us an opportunity to get over Saturday's game," suggested boss Lightning on the eve of the cup tie.