Robins fightback earns three points in fiery encounter

Ely City 4 Gorleston 2

ELY City’s march up the league table continued apace on Saturday as they came from behind to beat Gorleston in an ill-tempered game at the Unwin Ground.

Despite falling 2-0 behind after 40 minutes, the Robins staged a remarkable fightback that saw them score four unanswered goals and take all three points in a game that produced seven yellow cards and a red.

The win keeps Alan Alsop’s men hot on the heels of league-leaders Dereham Town who sit seven points above them, though Ely have five games in hand.

In a fairly even start, there were half-chances for either side as both goalkeepers were called on to make routine saves.

The game kicked into life after 20 minutes however, as Gorelston’s Jamie Godbold received a pull-back on the edge of the box and fired past Lee Pacey, albeit via a hefty deflection.

Kenny Smith hit a rasping half-volley that flew just wide for Ely shortly after the goal but it was Gorelston who struck again after 37 minutes as the home defence were caught napping, Chris Sandford sliding into acres of space in the Ely box before firing home unchallenged from 12 yards.

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The home side fought on undeterred at 2-0 down however, and were soon back in the game as Luke Parkinson rose highest to nod home a James Wallis free-kick.

Two minutes later and parity was restored as a lofted ball over the visitor’s defence saw Parkinson streak through on goal before applying a neat finish past Kyle Howell in the Gorleston goal.

Richard Chadwick should have made it 3-2 just five minutes into the second half but placed wide from six yards after being sent clear on goal.

The visitors then had two clear-cut chances of their own as, on two occasions, the ball was played across the Ely box into the path of a Gorleston player, only for the resulting efforts to slip wide with the goal gaping.

Ely finally moved ahead shortly after the hour mark as a low corner to the near post was sliced wildly into the net by a visiting defender.

Josh Bridgeman should have made it 4-2 moments later when through on goal, but a heavy touch meant his toe poke past the keeper also slipped wide of the post.

The visitors then had an excellent chance to draw level with 15 minutes remaining only for Lee Pacey to save well with his legs as a shot came in from the edge of the area.

The points were all but sealed for Ely with 10 minutes remaining as they were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box. Bridgeman smashed the resulting spot-kick home with the minimum of fuss.

The visitor’s frustrations finally boiled over in the dying minutes as skipper Eddie Thompson was given his marching orders for dissent, the first time in 10 years and more than 350 appearances he had seen red, the club confirmed.