Enaro and co continue to defy the odds as Ely close on record
“The FA Vase is made for Kelvin Enaro” — that is the opinion of Ely City manager Brady Stone after the Nigerian winger helped his side reach the last 32 of the national competition for just the second time in their history on Saturday.
Lady luck seemed to have deserted Ely in the build-up to their trip to Welwyn Garden City, with several key players ruled out through injury, and goalkeeper Harry Reynolds on holiday.
Unable to sign a replacement in time, reserve-team defender Dean Grogan donned the gloves, while during the tie Liam Griffin was forced off with an injury.
Even so, the Robins won 3-2 with George Darling, Craig Neal and Enaro all on target to match the club’s best-ever run in the Buildbase-sponsored tournament.
While Stone was quick to highlight the collective effort, he also praised the sprinkling of stardust which is provided by the tricky number seven.
“The team spirit we have is massive. Every player picks up the same money and that is important,” he said.
“Dean played in goal during his youth at Cambridge United, but that was a while ago and he had not played there in three years.
“But he was fantastic and so were all of the lads — I could not have asked for more.
“The FA Vase is made for Kelvin Enaro because he is a match winner.
“When he joined (in August) he was not fully fit, but he is well up to speed now.
“The boys love him and he is a nightmare for the opposition because they do not know what he is going to do.
“We can give him the ball and he will carry it — it gives us a breather and allows us to get our shape back.
“To do well in competitions like this, you need a player like Kelvin.”
Enaro and his team-mates have since been paired with Midland Football League Premier Division side Shepshed Dynamo in the fourth round proper.
Last season saw Ely embark on a club-best run of 14 straight wins, and Stone is hopeful they will be able to write a new chapter in the record books at the Unwin Ground on January 7.
“We are the underdogs in most games and this will probably be no different,” he added.
“We said to the lads on Saturday that this is only the second time the club has gone this far — what an achievement that is.
“There is probably a feeling we have been over-achieving, but there is no reason that cannot continue.
“We broke that record last year and to break another so soon after would be fantastic.”
n Stone’s men will now switch their attention back to their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division relegation battle on Saturday, when they host Brantham Athletic (3pm).