Robins squander golden chance to progress

A WASTEFUL Ely City side had to settle for a draw against Walsham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Ely City 1

Walsham le Willows 1

Despite creating a host of guilt-edge chances, Ely failed to get their noses in front and, in the end, were grateful to come away with a draw after Walsham capitalised on a lapse in concentration to move into the lead.

Alan Alsop’s men now face a testing replay on Wednesday evening as they bid to win through to the second round of qualifying.

The Robins were the dominant force for much of the opening half, and they came close to opening the scoring with just six minutes on the clock as Richard Chadwick broke clear on goal.

Unfortunately for Ely though, a moment’s hesitation from the frontman allowed a covering defender to make an excellent saving tackle.

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Ben Lawrence found himself unmarked on the edge of the box as the ball fell at his feet from a corner but the centre back sprayed his shot comfortably over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Ely’s best chance of the half came after half-an-hour as returning striker Tom Beech strode through one-on-one with the Walsham goalkeeper but his low shot was superbly saved to keep the scores level.

Beech went close again in first half injury time but could only blast Nick Impey’s low cross over the bar when well placed.

A hitherto lacklustre Walsham side were vastly improved in the early stages of the second half and created their first real chance of the match after five minutes of the restart as a striker bore down on Lee Pacey’s goal.

Pacey was equal to the task however, and managed to block the initial shot, with the rebound thumped clear before an onrushing striker could tap home.

Walsham finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark however, as a visiting striker was able to cut in following a marauding run down the wing and slot past an exposed Pacey.

Ely tried desperately to get back on terms in the ensuing minutes but were frustrated as they failed to add the finish to a series of promising moves.

Boss Alsop was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief with about 15 minutes remaining however, as Adam Murray produced a superb header from a Lawrence throw-in to restore parity.

Substitute Austen Diaper should have made it 2-1 moments later when he darted in from the touch line but his angled shot flew narrowly over.

It was Beech who wasted the two best chances of the half however, as he first headed a James Wallis cross straight into the arms of the goalkeeper and then squirted a shot wide after stealing in on goal with just seconds left in the game.