Ely City lifted the Cambs Invitation Cup thanks to a late penalty after Soham had over turned a two goal deficit at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium.
Both sides came into the final on the back of contrasting seasons with Ely currently second in the table and Soham just above the relegation zone in their respective Leagues. The Greens made one change to the starting line-up from the one that claimed a late equaliser against Great Wakering Rovers at the weekend with Scott Davis replacing Paul Jones at right back.
Soham had the better of the early play with Cotton attempting the first shot at goal after twelve minutes, but this was kept out at the near post by Pacey. Ogbonna was also well of target with a shot from the edge of the area whilst both Cotton and Auger delivered dangerous balls across the face of the Ely goal but no-one was close enough to connect. Ogbonna and Chadwick had efforts deflected wide before the Robins opened the scoring in the 27th minute when the latter powered a shot past Bircham after Sterecki had been given time and space to get down the right and deliver in a ball from the by-line. Ely nearly doubled their lead five minutes later but Diaper was adjudged to be in an offside position when he followed up on former Soham defender Stone’s header which had come back off the bar. However the Reds didn’t have to wait long for the second with Josh Bridgeman placing home from the edge of the area after another run down the right by Sterecki. With five minutes left, Auger saw a shot come back off the far post with Pacey gathering at the second attempt, before Soham got a lifeline in the first minute of injury time when Dubi Ogbonna bundled Paxman’s cross past Pacey from close range, with Ely appealing for a foul.
The Ridgeons League side twice came close to extending their lead again after the interval but on both occasions were denied by the woodwork as Parkinson crashed a shot against the bar before Andrews deflected Impey’s effort onto the post from a corner. But slowly Soham started to get on top and went onto have the better of the second halves play. Firstly they were denied a penalty when it appeared Chadwick handled Auger’s cross but this was ignored by the officials, before Simpson had a shot deflected wide following good build up play between Davis and Ogbonna, before the striker also had a goal cancelled out for offside after following up when Pacey made a fine save tipping Auger’s shot against the bar; this was Ogbonna’s last action of the game and was replaced by Jonathon Brown moments later. But Soham were back on level terms in the 71st minute when Duncliffe was released down the left where he delivered an excellent ball into the middle of the area to Captain Michael Simpson who scored with a climbing header over the keeper. Sub Brown then had two great chances to give Rangers the lead but firstly placed over from six-yards from another Duncliffe cross, before placing at Pacey with the keeper to beat; Paxman also fired across goal and over whilst at the other end Bircham denied Diaper with his feet, with the striker heading wide from the resultant corner. However with only three minutes remaining and the game heading for penalties, Ely were awarded a spot kick of their own when Simpson fouled Murray inside the area from Lawrence’s long throw, with Luke Parkinson calmly squeezing his kick between the post and Bircham to win the trophy.
Soham Town Rangers
D. Bircham, S. Davis, JP. Duncliffe, M. Bromwich, J. Motley, M. Simpson, D. Cotton, N. Andrews, D. Ogbonna (J. Brown 69), J. Paxman, R. Auger
Unused: M. Robinson, L. Brown, C. Munday, L. Shipp
L. Pacey, C. Sterecki, S. Parkinson, A. Murray, B. Stone (B. Lawrence 86), D. Wilson, N. Impey, J. Bridgeman, R. Chadwick (T. Chisango 79), A. Diaper, L. Parkinson
Unused: J. Bentsten, K. Smith
Score: (1-2) 2-3
STRFC: D. Ogbonna (45+1), M. Simpson (71)
ECFC: R. Chadwick (27), J. Bridgeman (34), L. Parkinson (Pen 87)
STRFC: D. Ogbonna (Dissent 68), N. Andrews (Dissent 88)
ECFC: B. Stone (Dissent 45+1), A. Murray (Foul 60), D. Wilson (Foul 83)