FA Vase proves to be a welcome distraction for out-of-form Ely
FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND
Ely City 3
Kirkley & Pakfield 2 (AET)
Ely City put aside their poor league form to book their place in the next round of the FA Vase on Saturday afternoon.
These two Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division sides scored a goal apiece during the 90 minutes, but it was Ely that progressed during extra-time thanks to goals from Tom Williams and Alex Theobald.
The first half was a fairly dour affair, although Theobald did have the ball in the net at the second attempt, only to have his goal ruled out for offside.
Williams headed straight at the ‘keeper while James Seymour, from six yards out, should have done better with his effort when shooting wide.
The away side did not really create too much in the way of chances, with their best effort coming as Miguel Lopez guided his free-kick off target.
The second-half introduction of Ely debutant Kelvin Enaro put the hosts in the ascendancy, yet it was Ash Walter that put them in front in the 65th minute when his corner swung directly in.
However, just when it appeared that one goal was going to be enough, Kirkley equalised 10 minutes from time.
Ely felt they should have had a penalty for a foul on Seymour, but the referee thought otherwise and the away side made the most of that decision as Lewis Hammond headed in.
Williams scored at the second attempt to put Ely back in front during the added period, only for Kirkley to respond immediately through Jack Smith.
It was left to Theobald to settle the tie in the 116th minute, with the striker finding the bottom corner from Spencer Saberton’s cross.
The Robins will now play host to Diss Town in the next round on September 24.
Before that they travel to Walsham-le-Willows in the league on Saturday (3pm), and follow that up with a home clash against Godmanchester Tuesday night (7.45pm).
n Mildenhall Town have joined Ely in the next round after they thrashed Wisbech Town 4-0 in a replay at Recreation Way on Tuesday evening.
It appeared that Dean Greygoose’s side were heading out in the first match, only for Matt Green to score a stoppage-time equaliser and secure a 2-2 draw.
In the return fixture, Dan Brown scored twice and an own goal had Mildenhall 3-0 up within the opening 15 minutes, before substitute Alex Stillinger headed in during the second half.
Mildenhall will now face Peterborough Sports at home in the second qualifying round.
The Hall, who are joint top of the table with Gorleston, are away to Brantham Athletic on Saturday (3pm).