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Ely City looking to kick on again after disappointing derby display

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Joint manager Luke McAvoy has conceded his Ely City side got nowhere the ‘perfect’ performance required to get anything from Monday’s clash with Mildenhall Town.

First-half goals from Ben Nolan and Natty Stewart sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory for a Mildenhall Town side that went level on points at the top of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

It was not for the want of trying that the hosting Robins struggled to make any inroads in front of a crowd of 262 at the Demcom Stadium, more that the necessary quality was lacking when it mattered most.

Luke McAvoy watches on during Ely's defeat to Mildenhall on Monday. Picture: Richard Marsham
Luke McAvoy watches on during Ely's defeat to Mildenhall on Monday. Picture: Richard Marsham

McAvoy reflected: “In the final third we were just nowhere near good enough.

“We were too slow, too sloppy and it’s frustrating because that’s been one of our strengths the last few weeks.

“They’ve got goals all over the side and if you’re going to beat Mildenhall you’ve got to be perfect and we wasn’t near that today.”

In mitigation, this was 10th-placed Ely’s first league outing since December 11.

They had faced lower-league Parson Drove in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup a few days later, but they did not really need to move through the gears during what was a routine 5-0 victory.

And McAvoy felt that a lack of match action in recent weeks could have contributed to the display.

“We played a cup game against Parson Drove about three weeks ago but there are levels between Parson Drove and Mildenhall,” he added.

“We started the game very slow. It wasn’t down to a lack of trying, but we just looked a yard off it.

“I wouldn’t just single out the boys in attack, centrally we weren’t good enough and it was just sloppy, maybe a bit rusty as well.”

Attention now switches to building upon what was largely a decent first half of the campaign for McAvoy and Ben Farmer’s team.

It starts on Saturday away at a Long Melford side that Ely beat 4-2 in the reverse fixture in early November when Jordan Foster, Ryan Gibbs, Ben Tait and Luke Young were all on the scoresheet.

McAvoy said: “On our day – there is a lot more confidence about us now as well – we’ll give anyone a game.

“Getting this game into the legs, a bit more training and then we go to Melford.

“We beat them recently and it was quite comfortable in the end.

“They’re still a good side and it’s not a guaranteed three points, but if we play to our levels and move on from this we’ve got a good chance of getting something.”

Ash Walter will miss the trip to Stoneylands as he serves the second of a three-match suspension, which once again could see defender Adam Capel deployed in a midfield position.

“Adam has been a utility player at times for us this season. He’s one of those players that can play anywhere on the pitch and do it really well,” said McAvoy.