Robins come from behind to snatch draw
Ely City 2 Kirkley & Pakefield 2
ELY twice came from behind to earn a point in their season-opening match against Kirkley at the Unwin Ground on Saturday.
The Robins made hard work of a match in which they had a number of clear-cut chances, defensive lapses costing them both goals, with debutant Andrew Claydon and Luke Parkinson riding to the rescue with crucial strikes.
The Robins move into sixth place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, with league newcomers Dereham Town the early pace setters.
A good start from Alan Alsop’s men saw them take control in the early stages, the first chance coming 10 minutes in as Adam Murray grazed the crossbar with a bullet header.
Five minutes later and Richard Chadwick had a glorious chance to put the Robins into the lead, only for the front man to chip tamely wide when through on the Kirkley goal.
Chadwick was made to pay for the miss just minutes later as Ross King pounced on a poor clearance to fire past Lee Pacey from eight yards, the visitors first real attack of note.
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The visitors should have made it 2-0 just two minutes later but an excellent save from Pacey denied the visitors when through one-on-one.
The persistent Robins were back on terms in the 29th minute as a Ben Lawrence long throw was flicked on at the front post and into the path of Claydon for a simply tap in on the line.
Defensive lapses were once again to cost the hosts however, as, little more than two minutes later, Kirkley’s Ryan Crisp restored the visitors’ lead, popping up unmarked at the back post to stroke home.
Ely had it all to do in the second half and, mercifully for their fans, needed just eight minutes to get back on terms, midfielder Luke Parkinson opening his account for the year with a low shot that slipped under the goalkeeper’s dive.
The Robins continued to show the greater ambition in the remainder of the half but were unable to fashion more than a series of half-chances against Kirkley, who defended well in numbers.
The chance of the half came with just two minutes remaining, Adam Murray slipping his marker eight yards from goal, only to nod a lofted ball staright into the keeper’s arms.