Last gasp Ely nick all three points in relegation six-pointer
- Credit: Archant
FC Clacton 3 Ely City 4
Ely climbed out of the relegation zone on Saturday with a dramatic injury-time winner at relegation rivals FC Clacton.
Goalkeeper Lee Pacey was the hero for the Robins as his deep free-kick eluded everyone and crept into the net in the third minute of injury time to hand Ely the victory.
The win moves them out of the bottom three and up into 16th place, two points clear of the bottom three.
Boss Ben Lawrence said: “We certainly made hard work of it as we didn’t start well at all. We gifted them two goals which, in a six-pointer, you can’t really afford to do.
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“But we nicked a goal back before half-time and that gave us a taste for the game. We were on the front foot after that and really put pressure on them.”
Ely looked to be dead and buried with just 30 minutes on the clock after some poor defending allowed Aaron Condon and Tom Holdstock to put the hosts into a 2-0 lead.
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Condon’s opener came in the 20th minute, with a snapshot from outside the box catching Pacey off guard.
And Ely’s task became twice as hard less than five minutes later as a flick off of an Ely head saw the ball squirt behind the defence, allowing Holdstock to race clear and clip the ball past the exposed Pacey.
Crucially, however, in the minutes before half-time, Ely pulled a goal back, as they so often have this season, from a corner kick which was nodded in by Austen Diaper.
The Robins carried the momentum into the second half and could have pulled level just minutes in but were denied from range by the post. But Ely were not to be held for long and, in the 53th minute, parity was restored as Ricky Spriggs put through his own net.
The goal was the perfect tonic for Ely and they moved into the lead shortly before the hour mark as another long throw caused consternation in the home penalty area and Andrew Claydon nodded home from close range.
All of Ely’s hard work looked to be undone with two minutes of the match remaining as Condon was felled in the box, resulting in a penalty for the hosts. And the striker dusted himself down to convert past Pacey.
But it was the Ely keeper who had the final say as, in the third minute of injury time, he thumped a free-kick deep into the Clacton box which evaded the mass of defenders and attackers and snuck in at the back post.
Ely will be back in action again on Saturday when they travel to mid-table Walsham-le-Willows. Kick off is 3pm.
Lawrence added: “Walsham normally only lose by the odd goal so we can’t afford to give them the kind of start we gave Clacton. Ill be expecting a better level of performance.”