NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Ely City chief upbeat following two defeats

James Seymour scored from the spot in Ely's loss at Thetford.

James Seymour scored from the spot in Ely's loss at Thetford. - Credit: Archant

Ely City boss Brady Stone was upbeat in the wake of two defeats.

The Robins returned to Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division action in recent days – suffering a 2-1 setback at Thetford last Friday and then being beaten 4-1 at title-chasing Coggeshall last night (Tuesday).

They were undone by a late penalty – conceded by defender Ollie Brookes – at Thetford. City had earlier levelled from the spot themselves through James Seymour after Deakan Napier was brought down.

Stone’s men were on the receiving end of a couple of controversial refereeing decisions as their trip to Coggeshall went ahead at the third attempt.

City hit the front through a classy Dan Brown lob after he had been picked out by a fine pass from debutant Jamie Thurlbourne, but the high-flying hosts levelled just before the break.

A super save denied Dan Jeffrey a second Ely goal in the second half before they also saw a strong penalty appeal ignored by the referee after Brown was dragged to the deck.

Their frustration increased when Coggeshall went ahead and continued when a home player escaped with a yellow card for a two-footed challenge on Josh Sewell.

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To rub salt into the wounds, the same player then cleared Thurlbourne’s free-kick off the line before Coggeshall claimed two further goals in the closing stages.

“I can’t complain about the way we played in either game,” insisted Stone. “And we deserved two draws in all honesty.

“We were looking set to get a decent point at Thetford until conceding a silly penalty away with 10 minutes to go and that’s a lesson to be learned.

“We then went ahead and played some great stuff at Coggeshall – a team I expect to go on and win the league.

“They are well organised and well drilled, but we matched them for 75 minutes despite having big decisions go against us.

“We should have had a clear penalty and they should have been down to 10 men for one of the worst tackles I’ve ever seen.

“The scoreline does not reflect the way the game went or how well we played, but pushing a top team so hard with seven players missing is pleasing in itself.”

Ely now host Long Melford this Saturday when Stone will hope for a repeat of the performance which earned a 5-1 away triumph in the reverse fixture last month.

Brothers Lee and Sam Reed could both return from injury along with Alex Brown. Seymour will also be back after missing the Coggeshall due to work commitments.

Ely will face Cambridge United’s Development side in the final of the Cambs Invitation Cup. The United youngsters beat Cambridge City in a semi-final clash earlier this week.

The final is on April 24 at the Abbey Stadium, 7.30pm when Ely will attempt to go one better than when being runners-up to Cambridge City last season.