NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Holder at the double as Ely City continue revival

Ely City boss Brady Stone is delighted with the impact made by striker Steve Holder.

Ely City boss Brady Stone is delighted with the impact made by striker Steve Holder. - Credit: Archant

Boss Brady Stone saluted the impact of striking star Steve Holder as Ely City continued their revival last Saturday.

The veteran forward bagged both goals as the Robins claimed a 2-1 victory against Kirkley & Pakefield in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

City went ahead midway through the first half when Holder volleyed in after a Jamie Alsop was parried into his path.

The visitors levelled just before the break, but City regained the advantage 10 minutes into the second half.

And it was the same two players involved as another Alsop set piece was headed in by Holder at the back post.

Chances were at a premium during the remainder of the game, but City keeper Harry Reynolds pulled off one important save to keep them ahead late on.

That ensured they climbed up to 13th place in the standings and inflicted a first away defeat of the season on their Suffolk opponents

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“Steve has been a brilliant addition,” said Stone. “He’s scored five times in four games and he’s not even fully fit yet!

“But it’s not just his goals that have been valuable. He is fantastic on and off the pitch.

“Steve has played at good levels in his career and knows the game inside out. If he talks everyone listens.

“He was outstanding on Saturday and really led from the front on a day when the conditions were awful.

“It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the lads worked hard to do exactly what was needed to get the win.”

Ely have enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in fortunes of late.

Stone’s men endured a torrid run when picking up just one point from 10 Premier Division games, but they’ve now bagged 10 points in their last four outings.

Ely’s excellent form will be put to the test in their next two games. They go to third-placed Stowmarket this Saturday, 3pm, ahead of early 11am kick-off at Godmanchester Rovers, who sit second, on Boxing Day.

“We lost so many important players in such a short space of time earlier in the season,” added Stone. “We had to bring in a lot of young lads and it was hard for them when things weren’t going well.

“But we’ve gradually got players back fit and adding the likes of Harry and Steve has also been a real help.

“We’ve got ourselves moving in the right direction again and there is no pressure on us in our next two games.

“Hopefully Stowmarket and Godmanchester both take us lightly and we’re capable of punishing them if they do that.”

Striker Sam Reed will miss both games due to a hamstring injury and full-back Daniel Jeffrey is out with a calf problem.