Saturday Football: All-Ely final hope dies as Crusaders shoot out

PERCY OLDHAM CUP SEMI-FINALS There looked every chance of an all-Ely final as Ely City Reserves and Ely Crusaders hosted Saturday s semi-final clashes with Comberton United and Debden, but Crusaders went down in a penalty shoot-out to bow out of the compe


There looked every chance of an all-Ely final as Ely City Reserves and Ely Crusaders hosted Saturday's semi-final clashes with Comberton United and Debden, but Crusaders went down in a penalty shoot-out to bow out of the competition.

Crusaders played well in the opening 45 minutes, but trailed by two goals at the interval after conceding twice in the 10 minutes leading up to half-time.

Tom Bromley pulled one back at the start of the second period following a scramble, and Ben Fuller then headed home a corner to redress the balance.

The visitors struck again to lead 3-2, but Fuller managed to force extra-time with a scorching equaliser.

The teams exchanged goals again in the first period of extra-time as Fuller completed a well-taken hat-trick, but Crusaders were eventually undone in the penalty shoot-out.

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Ross Knappett missed their opener, and six spot-kicks were converted before Debden finally missed.

Sam James squirted Ely's next effort wide of the post however, and Debden managed to convert their attempt to secure a 4-3 shoot-out success.

In the other semi-final Ely City Reserves came through by scoring the only goal of the game against Comberton United.

Both teams defended well and there were few chances for either side, but with 17 minutes of normal time remaining Andy Chatters placed a corner into the danger zone and Andrew Lee scored at the second attempt after his initial header had been saved by the goalkeeper.

Lee Follen had to make a fine one-handed save in the time remaining, but City otherwise held on for a comfortable 1-0 success.


Fordham produced an impressive attacking performance on Saturday to win 4-2 at the expense of bottom club Hemingfords United.

The basement club thought they had scored early on, but the ball was deemed not to have crossed the line.

They were subsequently awarded a penalty kick midway through the first half, however, which enabled them to take a 1-0 lead, and this spurred the visitors into immediate action.

Ben Howe was set up for the equaliser by Jamie Palmer's speed of thought, and soon afterwards he sprung the offside trap to put Fordham in front for the first time.

Mark Blair made it 3-1 after Daren Pryke's perfectly-timed through ball sent him clear, and Howe subsequently completed his hat-trick from a fine pass by Blair.

Hemingford pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining as Fordham missed further opportunities to increase their lead, but the final score was 4-2 in favour of the visitors.


After a tight first half Soham Town Rangers Reserves dominated the remainder of their match at West Wratting, but eventually went down to a rather fortunate goal.

Rangers came close a number of times and had Alex Irvine in great form, but the nearest they came to scoring was when a Paul Jones header was cleared off the line.


Soham United are now at least six points adrift of safety after suffering a 4-2 reverse at West Row Gunners.

"It was a disaster," said player-manager Andy Parker afterwards. "We knew how important Saturday was, but the players just weren't up for it. They (West Row) tore us apart and I was ready to come home at half-time. We played like a load of tarts."

United trailed 3-0 after just 27 minutes, but threatened to get back into the game at the start of the second half when Sean Hogg went agonisingly close.

He eventually did score after 65 minutes, but West Row added another goal before Hogg grabbed his second in the closing stages.

Soham's plight was not helped in any way by Haddenham Rovers' 2-1 defeat against fellow strugglers JM Sports.

Haddenham - without Gary Goodjohn and Rob Dewsbury - conceded a goal in the opening minute, and although Robbie Keen got them back on level terms after 15 minutes they self-destructed on the half-hour mark.

A short back-pass left goalkeeper Gary Thistlethwaite exposed, and he was deemed to have brought down the attacker for what proved to be a match-winning penalty kick.

JM had a player sent off for a second bookable offence with a minute of the first half remaining, but Haddenham failed to take advantage of their numerical advantage in the second period.


Bottom of the table Littleport Town Reserves took another small step towards safety as they drew 0-0 with visiting Waterbeach Reserves.

The teams have now played each other for two-and-a-half hours in recent weeks without managing to score a goal between them.


Ed Ideson suffered as emergency goalkeeper as Sutton United crashed to an 8-2 defeat at Longstanton.

United went ahead early on, but Longstanton proved far too strong and ran out convincing winners on the day.

Matthew Keys and Will Ludbrooke were the players on target for the beaten visitors.

Isleham United also found two goals insufficient as they went down by a 3-2 margin at Lode.

Malcolm Watson and Matthew Stack twice brought the visitors back on level terms, but the hosts grabbed a late winner which eventually left Isleham empty-handed.

There were no goals at all in the clash between Stretham Hotspurs and Milton Reserves, but Danny Mitchell's second half goal earned Ely City A a 1-1 share of the spoils at home to Fenstanton.


Clive Boucheron was twice on target from the penalty spot for Soham United Reserves against his former side Fordham Reserves, but the home side eventually claimed the points 5-2.

John Sands grabbed his third consecutive brace for the hosts, and he was joined on the scoresheet by Olly Foreman, Scott Day and Iain Butterworth as Fordham ran out convincing winners.

Witchford '96 meanwhile returned to winning ways with an easy 6-1 victory over West Row Gunners Reserves.

Duncan Turner scored twice in the opening exchanges with a header and a left-foot shot, and Aaron Spencer made the interval score 3-0 with his first goal of the afternoon.

West Row missed a penalty after the break, and although they did manage a consolation goal it was Spencer's second half hat-trick that stole the show.

The Vine also had five goals to spare as they kept a clean sheet against local rivals Little Downham Swifts.

'Jez' Cutter struck twice in the opening 33 minutes, and Sam Morgan added a third goal before half-time.

Johnny Cutter then made it 4-0 to The Vine before Mark Higginbottom wrapped things up in the 65th minute.


Pymoor FC ruined their promotion hopes with a 3-1 reverse at home to Exning Athletic, and it was the same scoreline at Haddenham Rovers Reserves when their clash with leaders Wisbech St Mary Reserves was abandoned.

Rovers started the match with only seven players, and at half-time they were reduced to six by injury which forced the referee to abandon proceedings.

Sutton United Reserves also looked in trouble at home to Swavesey Institute Reserves as they trailed 2-0 during the opening exchanges, but they eventually came through 7-3.

Lee Read and Ryan Bate levelled the scores before half-time, and a scintillating second-half performance saw Sean Bristow (2), substitute Russell Mansfield, Richard Martin - with a spectacular long range effort - and Bate again wrap up a brilliant 7-3 win.


Stuart Freeland helped himself to a hat-trick as Isleham United Reserves easily overcame The Vine Reserves at home.

Matt Bilinski and Nick Samuels - with a great lob - put Isleham in the driving seat, and Freeland managed to make the interval score 3-1 after the visitors had pulled a goal back.

Freeland went on to complete his triple-haul however, and substitute Sam Richardson was also on target as United finally ran out winners by a 6-2 margin.

Player-managers Gary Hunt and Jamie Doswell both found the net as Littleport Town A beat Outwell Swifts Reserves.

Veteran striker Colin Bell also hit the target, and teenager Scott Murfet was likewise amongst the scorers as 'Port took the points 4-1.

Little Downham Swifts Reserves surrendered the points at Fenstanton Reserves because they were unable to raise a team, but Burwell Swifts Reserves lurched to a 3-1 victory in their home clash with Walsoken United.

Alan Nash's cross was turned in by Glen King at the far post for the opening goal, and Burwell doubled their advantage midway through the first half.

Ollie Williams headed on a Kevin Driver free-kick, and Dan Jones shuffled past a defender before placing his shot in the bottom corner of the net from 10 yards.

The visitors responded before half-time, but Williams finally made the points safe with a sensational 25-yard free-kick which left the Walsoken defence rooted to the spot.