Sat 21
Mens 1st - East Division 3NW
3
-
3
League
Ely City 1
A Maltby (42'), D Coles (67'), (50' Pen)
Resilient Saints Put An End To Ely's Perfect Season

Resilient Saints Put An End To Ely's Perfect Season

By David Humphrey
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Ely City scraped a 3-3 draw against a resolute St Neots' side who put in a phenomenal performance.


After winning their first 9 matches of the season, one could forgive Ely City for thinking it would be business as normal against an inconsistent St. Neots side. However, Ely were in for a shock as they were hit with the full force of a determined St. Neots side.

Ely City went two goals to the good from two controversial moments which left the St. Neots' players flummoxed and infuriated. Furthermore, St. Neots felt they should've been awarded a penalty stroke as they believed the Ely defender stopped the ball going in the goal with his body; however only a penalty corner was awarded. To add insult to injury, Ely were then awarded a contentious penalty stroke of their own. Fortunately for St. Neots, goalkeeper Rob Morris made a blinding save to keep them in the game.

From that moment on there was a visible shift in the momentum of the match. St. Neots' players rose to the challenge of playing the top of the league when things weren't going their way. The St. Neots' players started passing the ball around the Ely players and created some good chances to score. Shortly after the half time break, St. Neots had their rewards for fine play as Dan Sutton found Adam Maltby with a precise through ball. Maltby took it round two defenders before cannoning the ball into the top right hand corner.

It wasn't long before the huge amount of pressure piled on by St. Neots had brought the game back level. Once again Maltby played a pivotal role. After a piercing run, Maltby just had the out rushing Ely keeper to beat. Maltby turned, but the keeper maintained course for Maltby; diving forwards, the keeper took Maltby's legs out from under him with his swiping stick with no apparent intention to get the ball. A penalty stroke was awarded and the keeper thought Christmas had come early when he only received a green card. After a lengthy delay, Darren Coles was finally allowed to proceed in slotting the ball into the net and leveling the score.

As Saints continued to fight, Ely continued to look more and more run down, and a St. Neots third goal looked on the cards. Sure enough, Maltby with clever trickery won his side a penalty corner and once again Coles slotted the ball home to put Saints in front. With only 3 minutes left, Saints looked destined to achieve an against-the-odds victory. However once again lady luck was not to be on their side. An Ely run down the left wing led to a hit-and-hope cross into the Saints' 'D'. Defender David Humphrey dived across to intercept the ball but could only deflect it off the back line. The City players screamed and the umpire awarded them a penalty corned, much to St. Neots' dismay. Despite looking weak at penalty corners all game, Ely somehow managed to scramble the ball into the goal and then cling on to a very undeserved draw.

St. Neots coach Jamie Cluer found the result to be very bittersweet: "I am absolutely delighted with the effort put in by the boys today. They have worked their socks off for 70 minutes and deserve all three points. They've worked hard to overcome decisions that haven't gone their way and I'm proud of them. That being said, I'm also gutted we haven't come away with the win".

Next week St. Neots make the 2:15hr trek to Louth who sit just above the relegation zone in third from bottom.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 21, Nov 2015

Kickoff

13:00

Competition

Division 3 North West
Darren Coles

Player of the match

Darren Coles