Stuttering Robins slip to Brantham defeat

Ely City 1 Brantham Athletic 2

ELY’S stuttering start to the season showed no signs of letting up on Saturday as they lost out to Brantham in a game which they dominated for long periods.

Only five teams have scored more goals in the league this season than the Robins but a plethora of crucial mistakes continue to cost them dearly, the most recent coming at the weekend as an own goal and a penalty handed the visitors victory.

Their fourth defeat in seven league games so far this season sees Alan Alsop’s charges slip down to 16th place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, with a trip to mid-table Stanway Rovers to come on Saturday.

A sharp start from Ely saw them pile pressure on the visitors defence from the outset and their positive approach almost bore fruit just five minutes in only for Darren Coe’s header to come back off the bar, with the follow up cleared off the line.

Adam Murray went close against five minutes later but, unsighted amid a gaggle of defenders, could only nod a corner over the bar.

The home side enjoyed the run of the penalty area in the first half as Brantham proved ill-equipped to cope with them at set pieces but there was no end product for Ely despite the lion’s share of possession.

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Brantham had their best effort of the half shortly before the 30-minute mark as a Jamie Greygoose was called up to save a low show struck from the edge of the area by Dan Pryke.

After the break, Ely continued to pour forward and it was only an errant bobble that prevented Richard Chadwick from finishing Taz Chisango’s low cross in the opening exchanges.

Just two minutes later however, and the match was turned on its head as Coe misjudged a header in the box to loop the ball past a stranded Greygoose.

Bouyed by their breakthrough, Brantham began to enjoy more possession and it took a smart save from the home keeper to save Pryke’s well-struck effort.

The visitors doubled their lead in the 70th minute when Michael Brothers was felled in the box having eluded several challenges.

The referee was quick to point to the spot and Ben Garnham made no mistake, sending Greygoose the wrong way.

Andrew Claydon gave Ely the goal their play arguably deserved when he pick-pocketed the Brantham goalkeeper to smash into an empty net in the 75th minute.

Lee Grimwood, for Brantham, and Ben Lawrence, for Ely, both had great chances to score as the game entered its final minutes but a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing meant there were no further goals.