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First team report
Sat 11th Nov 2017
The Buildbase F A Vase Second Round Proper
Sponsored by Timothy Solk TAFC First team 4-1 Ely City TAFC goals: Jack Read (3), Own Goal
STILL ON WEMBLEY TRAIL THANKS TO JACK READ'S TREBLE
After a disappointing start to the season we are starting to look like our old selves again with three encouraging performances over the past week culminating in this excellent victory over Ely City in the FA Vase courtesy of a hat-trick from Jack Read.
The visitors, who are reputed to be the oldest senior club in Cambridgeshire having been formed in 1885, play in the Eastern Counties Premier Division (same level in football pyramid as us) where they occupy ninth place in the table.
After looking at our performances this season they could have been forgiven for thinking that this might not be the toughest of cup ties but we have regained some of our old form recently and we are a different proposition to what we were a few weeks ago and we demonstrated that by taking a two goal lead in the first half which our opponents never looked like recovering from.
This was the first meeting between our two clubs but we were linked by the fact that Sporting Khalsa knocked us both out of this competition last year. The Wolverhampton side wont be repeating this feat again this season because they were beaten 1-0 at home to Bromsgrove Sporting on the same day.
Ely came into this Remembrance Day tie on the back of a three game winning run and they started the cup tie positively, looking sharp and confident in possession. They had an early opportunity when their left back Alex Brown was played through into our area to force a good save from Jack Hopwood who then caught the follow up header from the defender.
Wingers Elliott Goward and Max Hercules, who would go on to play significant roles in the game, set up shooting chances for Jack Read but both efforts went wide of the target.
The play was flowing entertainingly from end to end with both sides producing some nice football and creating some good possibilities which didn't materialise into goals. As the half progressed we started to look the more dangerous of the two sides with Elliott and Max causing problems with some fine crosses from both wings.
We have suffered this season from not taking our chances and conceding early goals but pleasingly we bucked that trend for once with a fully deserved opening goal on the half hour mark.
George Carbery, who has looked more like his old self in the last couple of games and has mysteriously worn the number 5 shirt on both occasions, was the instigator with a perceptive pass out to Jack Read who clipped the ball nicely past the on rushing keeper. It was great to see Jack on the score sheet again and crucially we got some reward following a period when we were in the ascendancy. Score 1-0.
Before Ely could respond we hit them again with another goal, and whilst the source was unsurprisingly the manner of it was. Luke Dunstan made a super break through midfield, one of a number he made throughout, and found Elliott Goward out on the left, who whipped over yet another dangerous cross. Unfortunately for the visitors their keeper Harry Reynolds dropped it after being inadvertently clattered by his centre back Ollie Brookes. In his attempt to clear the danger Sam Goodge found the back of his own net rather than safety.
It was a stroke of good fortune for us (and lord knows we have not had much of that this season!) but we could argue that it stemmed from a period of strong attacking play. Score 2-0.
There was another anxious moment for the visitors when one of their defenders sliced a cross from Elliott wide of his own goal but there were no goals and after a very good half we went in for the break with a very useful two goal lead. HT Score 2-0.
Elliott Goward nearly turned provider again early in the second half when his superb cross was missed literally by inches by Max Hercules and Jack Read.
Ely made a couple of changes to obviously shake things up a bit but before they could get a sweat on we scored a third goal in the 58th minute and yet again Elliott was the provider ably assisted by young Max Hercules.
The source was a corner that the keeper punched clear but Max skillfully recycled the ball back to Elliott who curled a sumptuous cross back into the area where Jack Read glanced the ball home from close range. Score 3-0.
With a three goal lead and our opponents looking a bit shell shocked we made a number of changes bringing on young Ben Johnson, Carl Clay and Steve Nott-Macaire who had just become a dad (many congratulations). The game became a bit scrappy and tetchy with Ely defender Alex Brown receiving a straight red card for what the Referee, who was close to the incident, clearly thought was a dangerous challenge. He was later followed by Sam Joliffe for two yellow cards to reduce both sides to 10 players.
There were still chances going begging with Jack Read shooting wide after being found by a fine Tommy Twelves pass who himself smacked a fierce shot beyond the far post. Jack Hopwood had not been too severely tested but he had to tip a well struck free round the post.
Our opponents were pushing forward in numbers leaving large gaps at the back and Elliott Goward twice went close, hitting the side netting and then shooting just wide of the far post.
With normal time up defender Ollie Brookes pulled a goal back by heading home a well flighted free kick to give his side the merest glimpse of a comeback. Score 3-1.
But Jack Read doused any faint hopes Ely may have had deep into added time when he beat the keeper to a pass from Elliott Goward and clipped the ball over his head to claim a his second club hat-trick and keep alive our dream of going all the way to Wembley. FT Score 4-1.
This was an excellent win and we can now look forward to the draw on Monday to see who we will face in the next round of this prestigious national competition on Saturday 2 December.
So why the sudden change in our fortune? Could it be down to the culinary skills of Ian and Colin who again excelled themselves in the kitchen? Seriously it has engendered team spirit when things weren't looking too good for us, but a more prosaic answer could be the return of key players from injury which has enabled us to field a much better balanced side.
Everyone was excellent on Saturday and Ely couldn't cope with our wingers Elliott and Max but praise should also go to Sam and Doc in the centre of defence, Tommy and Mase at full back, Luke, Mark and George in the centre of midfield, Hoppy in goal and of course to Readie for scoring the all important goals.
But before we start resting on our laurels and dreaming of cup success we need to start picking up points to climb up the table and out of the relegation zone, starting with the visit of London Colney on Saturday.
TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Chris Mason 4 Mark Riddick 5 George Carbery (17 Carl Clay 78) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Max Hercules (15 Steve Nott-Macaire 80) 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Jack Read 10 Luke Dunstan (16 Ben Johnson 63) 11 Elliott Goward. Subs not used: 12 Jack Sunderland 14 James Butler.
EC: 1 Harry Reynolds 2 James Seymour (16 Luke Mansfield 65) 3 Alex Brown 4 Ashley Walter (Capt) 5 Tom Williams 6 Ollie Brookes 7 Josh Sewell 8 Sam Goodge 9 Alex Theobald 10 Ryan Williams (14 Sam Reed 56) 11 Lee Reed (12 Nick Heap 56). Subs not used: 15 Finley Logan 17 Lewis Hook.