NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Ely City ready to go back to basics after miserable run

Ely City manager Brady Stone.

Ely City manager Brady Stone. - Credit: Archant

Ely City boss Brady Stone insists they must go back to basics to climb out of their slump.

The Robins were thumped 5-1 at second-placed Wroxham in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last Saturday.

Sam Reed hit a late consolation on a day when Stone was left dismayed by the standard of his side’s first-half performance as they wilted to concede four goals in quick succession.

City then went down 6-3 to another high-flying side, Godmanchester Rovers, in the opening round of the Hinchingbrooke Cup on Tuesday.

They recovered from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 before half-time thanks to a brace from Scott Callaghan before being put to the sword in the second half. Matty Simpson did add another goal as they crashed out.

“The first half at Wroxham was the worst 45 minutes of my five years at Ely City,” admitted Stone, whose side have won just one of their last 12 games in all competitions.

“It was still 0-0 after 25 minutes but we conceded four times in the next 15 minutes and I don’t know how to explain it because that sort of thing should not happen at any level of football.

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“We looked like a pub team in that first half. Our effort, our communication, our passing, our decision-making – in fact everything about us – was terrible.

“We were trying Hollywood passes and fancy flicks when all that was required was to do the simple things.

“I feel like I need to rewind 20 years with the players and go right back to basics with them.

“We give our lads the freedom to express themselves, but perhaps it is time to be more rigid and make ourselves harder to beat.

“Conceding 11 goals in two games is not acceptable and the vast majority of them were very poor on our part.

“The players are obviously low on confidence after a tough run so the last thing they need is us ripping into them.

“We’re trying to manage them through a tough period while also working hard to correct the things that are wrong.”

Striker Ryan Harnwell has arrived at Ely from Wisbech Town, but he missed the Wroxham trip due to illness and then had work commitments in midweek.

Stone hopes to have his new recruit available when City host top-six side Walsham-le-Willows in the Premier Division this Saturday, 3pm, before welcoming the Cambridge United Development side to the Ellgia Stadium on Tuesday, 7.45pm, for a Cambs Invitation Cup quarter-final.

It’s a repeat of the final last season when City famously triumphed at the Abbey Stadium to lift the county crown.