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Manner of FA Cup exit leads to assistant manager calling for quick Ely City reaction

Assistant manager Martin Grey has demanded a swift reaction from his Ely City players after they bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup with a ‘whimper’.

The Robins had battled hard to secure a 2-2 draw at higher-league Wisbech Town 10 days earlier, but when the sides met again in the replay on Tuesday evening, the tie was effectively over inside the opening 20 minutes.

Visiting Wisbech scored three times during that period and put the seal on their commanding victory with a fourth and final goal shortly after the restart.

FA Cup replay Ely City V Wisbech Town Adam Capel with a chance for Ely. Picture by Mark Westley. (16097293)
FA Cup replay Ely City V Wisbech Town Adam Capel with a chance for Ely. Picture by Mark Westley. (16097293)

Ely, who had their misery compounded by a straight red card handed to Steve Holder, have now conceded 10 goals in their last two outings after exiting the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday via a 6-4 loss to Peterborough Northern Star after extra-time.

And as far as Grey – in charge of the team on Tuesday in the absence of manager Brady Stone – is concerned, things need to change.

“That is one of the biggest disappointments since me and Brady took charge (in 2014),” said Grey.

“We had a really good opportunity tonight because we were probably the better of the two sides in the first game.

“We seem to be leaking very cheap goals and that has to be addressed. We are too open and too easy to play against.

“The message we always give to the players is ‘stay in the game’ – this is cup football. To concede that first goal is a bit of a killer, but just stick in it. We have not regrouped from the first goal, but there was so long to go after that. Instead of getting in at half-time a goal down we are three behind and it’s all over.

“We had done really well to get them back here for a replay and it was a good crowd, so it is disappointing to just fall apart and go out with a whimper. We need a reaction quickly.”

Declan Rogers, Joel Earps and Aaron Hart were the players given plenty of space and freedom to fire the away side into a three-goal lead, while their fourth goal – scored in the 49th minute – came courtesy of Layton Maddison on the counter-attack.

Ely’s night was summed up in the 68th minute as Holder was handed his marching orders following a clash with Wisbech goalkeeper Daniel Farrell. Ely return to league action on Saturday at home against Stanway Rovers (3pm) before Newmarket Town visit on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Ely: Reynolds, Williamson, Alsop, Walter (Hunt 81), Capel, Brannan (Simpson 44), Foster, Crisp, Reed (Johnson 75), Holder, Harvey