Ely City boss not too disappointed despite negative Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division results over Christmas
One point from a possible nine may not have been the outcome Brady Stone wanted from a busy Christmas period for Ely City, but the boss is not despondent.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division manager reacted calmly despite his side’s 3-1 home loss to Haverhill Rovers on Saturday, which followed a 3-1 Boxing Day away loss to Godmanchester Rovers and 2-2 away draw with Stowmarket Town on December 22.
But, with this Saturday’s trip to FC Clacton (3pm) kicking their season into the new year, he knows it is approaching ‘crunch time’.
Stone said: “There’s no point getting stressed about it, you can’t actually as it goes on the players. We know what we’re about and what we can do, so now it’s about doing it.
“We’ve always maintained that we’re not going to panic or worry. We were on a terrible run of 10 games or so, but we stayed calm and didn’t make drastic changes as we didn’t think we were playing badly and turned it around a bit – so we know we can do it.
“You can’t be harsh with the team because they’ve been so good the past six or seven games and even (against Rovers), we didn’t play badly, we just didn’t take our chances.
“Now is the time we need to start thinking about where we are in the league table though.
“There’s 15 games left so every result is important, we’re definitely approaching crunch time in the season. It’s tight, and that makes it both interesting and exciting, which is great for the league of course.
“Everyone’s in the same boat in the middle to lower end, you win a couple and you’re up to tenth, but lose a couple and you’re back down as low as 18th.
“So we need to take each game as it comes and we know we need to keep working hard as a team.
“Clacton have had some really good results and then some really bad results, similar to us, and it’s also always a tough place to go.
“We will go into it organised and hard to beat and hopefully we can get something.”
Following this fixture, the Step 5 team will not be in league action again until January 19, away to Newmarket; a break which arrives at ‘just the right time’ for the Ely boss.
He said he is further encouraged by Alex Theobold playing with the reserves on Saturday and looks poised to return to the first team in the new year.
Stone hopes his return can help Ely, who had started the brighter of the teams on Saturday as they hosted a confident Rovers side.
But, despite numerous chances for the home team spearheaded by Steve Holder in attack, they failed to convert 30 minutes of pressure into a score – before visiting skipper Marc Abbott struck a beautiful shot into the top right corner after 36 minutes for the first goal.
Henry Halls then rose highest from an Abbott free kick to head in for a second Rovers score in the 50th minute before Mark Lovell backheeled his side to almost certain victory in the 72nd.
Replacement Jerome Morris found a consolation score for the home team a minute from time, getting on the end of a deflected shot before looping it into the top right corner, but it was too little, too late to change the result.
“We started really well and, for the first 15 or 20 minutes, we were on top,” Stone said.
“But it goes to show that if you don’t take your chances when you are in that position, you get punished. And that was the difference between us, when they got on top, they took them.
“Playing Goddy away and Stowmarket away in the last seven days has had an impact on us too, I thought we looked tired as the game went on.
“We’re disappointed though as we felt it was a game we could get something out of after playing Stow and Goddy and playing really well in both.
“We should have beaten Stow though, conceding late, and the 3-1 loss to Goddy was a case of not taking our chances again. If we had, we’d have won. But we are playing a lot better than we have done, we’re playing well, and results will come.”