'Hard work' key for Ely
Brady Stone has told his Ely City players that ‘hard work’ is the key to ending their ongoing slump in form.
The Robins were beaten 5-2 at home by Whitton United in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division at the weekend – a result that extended their losing sequence to four matches.
Ely have conceded 15 goals during that time, and Stone has admitted that his men have been far from good enough in recent weeks.
“We were outplayed and outfought on Saturday. Whitton deserved to win the game, no doubt about it,” he said.
“It has been happening for the last two or three weeks.
“We seem to have lost that hunger, and while I know injuries have not helped us, there is no bite about our play, and we need to get that back.
“Ability-wise there is not much between a lot of the teams in the league and so that means you need to outwork teams.
“We are not doing that right now. We have lost that spirit and you can only get that back through hard work.”
Next up for Ely is a trip to another out-of-form side – Hadleigh United – on Saturday (3pm).
Shane Wardley’s team have won just once in the league since the opening day and currently sit second from bottom.
Given Hadleigh’s precarious status, Stone has conceded it is a game in which his 10th-placed team must take maximum points.
“We have to go there and win,” he added.
“We have told the lads exactly that and the pressure is on them to deliver now.
“If we do not come away with a win we are going to be down there.
“I always praise the lads when they have done well, but now is the time for them to stand up.
“If you cannot beat the sides that are struggling, then you will get sucked down with them.”
One player who will not be included for Ely at the weekend is Matt Hayden.
The former Mildenhall Town striker signed for Ely last week from First Division North outfit Lakenheath, but after making his debut in the loss to Whitton, has since moved on to Newmarket Town, citing travel time as his reason for making a swift exit.
“Matt has decided to move on and it is for the best if he cannot commit to us,” Stone said.
Against Whitton, Sam Goodge and substitute George Darling scored Ely’s goals.
Goodge, though, is one of three players unavailable to Stone for the game at Hadleigh along with Daniel Jeffrey and Matty Simpson.