Late Ross Paterson goal seals Newmarket Town derby victory over Ely City
A stoppage-time goal from Ross Paterson secured Newmarket Town a 3-2 victory at neighbouring Ely City this evening.
The hosting Robins – crippled by injuries and suspension, particularly in attacking areas – twice took the lead at the Demcom Stadium but on both occasions they were pegged back.
And just when it seemed that Brady Stone's battlers had done enough to claim a share of the spoils, former Cambridge City captain Paterson popped up to claim all three points for the travelling Jockeys.
The derby fire was actually stoked 24 hours before kick off, with Newmarket signing Jordan Foster from their hosts. However, although he was registered in time to make his debut, the young attacker opted against facing his former club.
The deadlock was broken with the game's first clear cut opportunity in the 22nd minute. Ely captain Jamie Alsop swung in a free-kick from the right wing and an unmarked Tom Williams was on hand to apply the finishing touch at the back post.
Jack Whiting fired over from a corner up the other end, but the Newmarket equaliser eventually came five minutes before the break.
Jack Watson sent over a deep corner for ex-Ely skipper James Seymour, who guided a looping header back in the direction it had come from and inside the far post.
With Ely struggling for a recognised striker – defender Daniel Jeffrey played up front for much of the match alongside players from the club's under-18s – they struggled to keep hold of the ball and so Newmarket dominated the possession throughout the second half.
Nevertheless, in the 72nd minute it was the home side that regained the upper hand. A long throw down in the corner from Newmarket's Ethan Murphy was cleared and Ely sprung into life as Jordan Johnson played in Jeffrey and he got the better of visiting goalkeeper Alex Archer to complete a sweeping counter-attack.
The advantage would last for just three minutes though as Paterson collected the ball on the edge of the Ely box, drove forward and then drilled his low shot beyond the reach of Harry Reynolds for his first goal since returning to Newmarket in the summer.
There was almost an embarrassing moment for Newmarket's number one Archer as time ticked away when he was robbed of the ball near his own goal by Johnson, but the youngster's subsequent shot was turned behind for a corner.
However, that was not the end of the drama because in the fourth minute of time added on Murphy's long throw was flicked on and waiting at the back post to volley home was Paterson.
"We tried to build and remained patient instead of going direct," Newmarket player-boss Michael Shinn said at the final whistle.
"I thought Ross Paterson deserved his two goals because he was excellent.
"He is getting there now. He is a leader and in the second half he really drove us on to get a result."
Ely: Reynolds, Simpson, Alsop, Batten, Williams, Capel, Harvey (Lowe 29), Crisp, Farrow (Johnson 60), Jeffrey (Pullar 78), Tunnell
Newmarket: Archer, Murphy, Kicks, Bennett, Seymour, Robinson, Whiting (Shinn 84), Paterson, Whitehead, Watson, Landshoff
* For more reaction from Shinn, plus a look ahead to Newmarket's FA Vase derby at Mildenhall Town, see this week's Journal print edition.