NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Lack of commitment angers Ely City chief

Ely City boss Brady Stone. Picture: IAN CARTER

Ely City boss Brady Stone. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

Ely City boss Brady Stone has publicly questioned the commitment of his players.

The Robins was left fuming by a terrible turnout for training on Tuesday night as his side battle to avoid relegation from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

Only nine members of the City squad took part in the session which followed a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of FC Clacton last Saturday.

Stone's side have dropped to third-bottom in the standings, but do have a seven-point cushion over basement club Hadleigh. Only the team finishing bottom goes down this season.

"Just because only one team goes down does not mean we're happy to finish in the position we're currently in," said Stone.

"For a club at our level of football to only have nine players turn up for training is quite simply embarrassing.

"I don't mind admitting I was absolutely fuming and those lads that stayed away will quickly learn how unhappy I am.

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"Myself and Martin (assistant, Grey) don't take a penny for doing this. We are volunteers who do it for our love of the game.

"But we need a lot more commitment from a lot more players if we are going to get ourselves out of trouble.

"We don't have an open chequebook at Ely to go out and spend big money on players.

"That means the only way we can improve is by working hard on the training pitch and it is absolutely sickening when so few of us bothered to do that."

City's heavy defeat against FC Clacton at the Demcom Stadium was a second successive loss.

They fell behind in the first half following a mix-up between debutant goalkeeper Barney McLaughlin and defender Ash Walter.

Ely started the second half impressively as they searched for a leveller but they were stung by an FC Clacton breakaway which ended with a shot creeping under the body of McLaughlin.

A third goal from a corner then killed off any hopes of a City comeback before their afternoon went from bad to worse with defender Tom Williams being dismissed for lashing out at an opponent.

City shrugged off their numerical disadvantage to claim a consolation goal as captain Jamie Alsop struck with a free-kick, but the visitors had the final say when pouncing for a fourth goal late on.

"It was another case of us playing much better than the scoreline suggests," added Stone.

"But we're making far too many individual mistakes and they are costing us dearly."

Ely handed debuts to two other new signings against FC Clacton.

Midfielder Josh Revell, who arrived from Haverhill Rovers, and young striker Oli Shackleton, who joined from Wisbech Town, both pleased Stone.

City face a tough trip to second-placed Wroxham this Saturday, 3pm.