Robins return to winning ways ahead of two tough encounters

HOME WIN: Tom Williams celebrates his goal against Kirkley on Saturday. Picture: April Urquhart
HOME WIN: Tom Williams celebrates his goal against Kirkley on Saturday. Picture: April Urquhart

Brady Stone believes a ‘back to basics’ philosophy helped his Ely City side to halt their four-game winless run in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Saturday.

Ahead of Kirkley & Pakefield’s visit to the Ellgia Stadium, Stone had been disappointed with his team’s recent performances, particularly during the 2-0 loss at Haverhill Rovers on September 26.

However, after making six changes to his starting line-up, Stone was delighted to see the response against Kirkley as Ely rallied from a goal down to win 3-1 thanks to efforts from Alex Theobald, Tom Williams and Nick Heap.

There was also an alteration in mentality, with the boss and assistant Martin Grey instructing the players to revert back to the tactics that served them so well last term.

“We wanted to change the way we played a little bit this season,” said Stone.

“It was all about getting the ball down and playing more football because we have some good footballers in the squad.

“We wanted to give the lads the freedom to do that, but you have to do the dirty side of the game as well.

“You have to earn the right to play football by working hard and against Haverhill in particular we were terrible.

“Something needed to change. Did we need to change the players? Were Martin and I not getting the best out of them anymore?

“We decided to make six changes on Saturday and get back to basics. Although it took a little while to get going, we were outstanding and I was really pleased.

“We knuckled down, worked hard and got our reward — that is the standard I expect.”

However, it looks to be a tall order for Ely to build upon their return to winning ways, with two of the promotion contenders next up.

They make the trip to league-leading Felixstowe & Walton United, who have lost just once all season, on Saturday (3pm), before hosting third-placed Newmarket Town on Friday, October 13 (7.45pm).

Stone is well aware his men will be underdogs in both fixtures, although he believes they can use that to their advantage.

“We know what both of those are about. Felixstowe are good side that will look to dominate the game and Newmarket score goals for fun,” he added.

“But at the same time, it is all about us and how we perform.

“Nobody will be expecting us to get anything and because of that we have nothing to lose, so we may as well try to win the games.

“Hopefully there will be big crowds at both games — as a player you have to enjoy that sort of thing.

“There is no pressure. The lads can go out and enjoy themselves — hopefully that will help us to cause an upset or two.”

James Seymour, who recently rejoined the club, is suspended for the Felixstowe clash, while full-backs Jamie Alsop and Daniel Jeffrey are sidelined by injury.