Robins boss Stone believes Ely can challenge for the title despite loss against Wivenhoe

Manager Brady Stone. Picture: Helen Drake.

Manager Brady Stone. Picture: Helen Drake. - Credit: Archant

Ely City manager Brady Stone remained upbeat about his side’s title chances despite being condemned to their fourth loss of the season against league leaders Wivenhoe.

The Robins were unable to break Wivenhoe’s unbeaten league record as a solitary goal condemned the Robins to a 1-0 defeat on Saturday afternoon.

Both sides cancelled each other out in the early stages as the game was fairly scrappy on a tricky playing service.

As the rain started to fall, Ely nearly opened the scoring with what would have been a freak own goal as a Wivenhoe defenders back pass bobbled past the goal keeper but to the home sides relief the ball rolled narrowly past the far post.

Wivenhoe’s defenders caused problems for the Robins at set pieces, but the away side dealth with the threat and defended resolutely.

The home side enjoyed a lot of possession in Ely’s half but could not fashion any chances and Ely went close from their own set piece when in-form Matty Simpson saw his header saved by the Wivenhoe ‘keeper and Sam Goodge could only put the rebound over the bar in what proved to be the last chance of the first half.

The second half saw Ely have the better chances and play the better football, but Wivenhoe broke the Robins’ hearts and scored the only goal of the game after 55 minutes.

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A long ball from the back was won by the Wivenhoe centre forward and Hasan Ayten was able to finish first time lobbing Craig Galbraith from 20 yards.

Ely responded well but could not create too many clear cut opportunities until the final 15 minutes.

James Seymour headed over from a Daniel Jeffrey cross and then Matty Simpson headed wide from 10 yards out after a great delivery from Craig Neal.

As the clock was ticking down, Ely created their best chance of the game when some neat passing ended with James Seymour playing Matty Simpson through on goal but his shot failed to hit the target with some pressure from the recovering Wivenhoe defender.

After the final whistle, Robins’ manager Brady Stone was full of praise for his side despite their loss, saying: “I’m gutted for the lads. We pressed well, pressured Wivenhoe and created some good chances.

They’ve had one shot and scored which is obviously disappointing but I thought we were fantastic.”

Stone also says that Ely need to become more consistent, but believes his men can catch Wivenhoe at the top of the league.

He said: “We’ve played well in some halves and badly in others throughout the season and we need to become more consistent but we were fantastic against Wivenhoe and I can fault the boys’ performance.

We’re only 12 points behind Wivenhoe with 25 games left and we’ve played the majority of teams in the top six so there’s a lot of ground that can be made up.”

The Robins will be looking to get back on track against Braintree Town reserves at home on Saturday October 31.