Mildenhall Town go level on points with leaders Wroxham after victory at Ely City
Mildenhall Town moved level on points with Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division leaders Wroxham thanks to this afternoon’s 2-0 win at neighbouring Ely City.
First-half goals from Ben Nolan and Natty Stewart completed the job for Ricky Cornish’s men, who have played a couple more games than the table-topping Yachtsmen, as well as third-placed Gorleston (a point further back).
Mildenhall signalled their intent as early as the fourth minute at the Demcom Stadium when James Hall squared a pass for Tanner Call, with his rising effort from 10 yards out going on to hit the crossbar before Stewart dragged the rebound across the face of goal.
Visiting captain Luke Butcher then headed over from a Phil Weavers corner two minutes later, but it was not much longer before the pressure told.
It was a moment – with 11 minutes on the clock – Ely goalkeeper Harry Reynolds will not look back on with great fondness. Nolan’s cross from the right should have presented a routine catching opportunity at the near post, but Reynolds failed to grasp the ball and it crept over the line.
Hall beat the offside trap in the 21st minute but could not get the better of Reynolds as the away team continued to dominate proceedings, yet within 60 seconds the lead was doubled.
Collecting the ball inside the right-hand channel, Stewart showed Ely defender Dom Hunt a clean pair of heels and then drilled his shot beyond Reynolds' reach from a narrowing angle.
Quiet as an attacking force up until this point, Ely then enjoyed their best period of the half.
Ryan Gibbs – a scorer of 13 goals in eight Ely appearances since arriving from Diss Town – rattled the post from distance in the 23rd minute and from their next venture forward a combination of Mildenhall goalkeeper Josh Pope and Butcher kept out Adam Capel.
Yet, the half ended how it started with Mildenhall on the front foot and they went close to scoring a third goal when Call’s cut back from the left byline was perfectly weighted for the onrushing Matt Green, but he steered his low effort just wide of the target.
It was a similar story after the restart with Mildenhall creating some clear cut openings to make the points safe. However, it proved to be a wasteful second half in front of goal for Cornish’s side, which in turn kept the battling hosts interested up until the final whistle.
Call’s low shot in the 47th minute was turned behind by Reynolds’ outstretched glove and then in the 55th minute Ely’s number one got down well to smother Hall’s tame attempt.
Up the other end, Ely were looking to cause problems with high deliveries into the box and by picking up second balls. And it almost paid dividends in the 70th minute when substitute Ben Tait’s first major involvement ended with his goalbound effort being blocked inside a crowded area.
Meanwhile, a Mildenhall substitute should have ended the encounter as a contest seven minutes from time when Call’s slide rule pass sent Dan Brown through one-on-one, only for his shot to bobble wide of the target.
There was still enough time remaining for Call to be denied by Reynolds after a mistake from Taylor Hastings, but ultimately the job was done during an impressive first-half showing.
Ely: Reynolds, Revell, Kelly, Hunt (Foster 30’), Williams, Hastings, Capel, Townshend (Tait 69’) Gibbs, Crisp, Young (Barham 80’)
Mildenhall: Pope, Nolan, Butcher, Ruddy, Coakley, Steed, Weavers, Green, Call (Robinson 90'), Stewart (Mayhew 87'), Hall (Brown 80')
Suffolk News Man of the Match – Phil Weavers (Mildenhall): Energetic display in the heart of the visitors' midfield. Also won a number of headers at both ends of the pitch.