AFC Ely’s unbeaten start to the season ended in away defeat to Great Paxton.

Great Paxton Reserves vs AFC Ely

Just as momentum was building for AFC Ely, they were brought crashing back down to earth in what was a damaging loss to Great Paxton.

A game the away side undeniably dominated; AFC Ely will feel hard done by that they left the Great Paxton Recreation Ground with nothing to show but the wounds of defeat. 

Defeat would not have crossed the minds of AFC Ely’s players having started the season in such fine form and even when they went a goal down midway through the first-half the prospect of a first league loss seemed some way off. Nevertheless, the side languishing at the foot of the table put their contrasting form behind them and fought assiduously to win the game. 

What makes the defeat a hard pill to swallow for AFC Ely was the manner in which they began proceedings. Within five minutes the visiting XI had full control of the game: with the midfield trident of Frazer Jennings, Oliver Jennings and Max Wright working in perfect harmony with their attack, AFC Ely produced several golden opportunities to open the scoring – none more golden than Max Wright’s effort that was tipped around the post by the Great Paxton goalkeeper. Such was their control in the game, AFC Ely’s sitting midfielder Frazer Jennings was allowed to advance further forward to maintain the away side’s unremitting control in midfield. AFC Ely’s irreproachable build up play was not in tune with their end product though, as the Great Paxton goalkeeper repelled effort after effort. 

The visitors quickly rued their wastefulness in front of goal as they restarted the game from the centre circle when Great Paxton capitalised on some lackadaisical defending. With neat play to take the ball around an AFC Ely defender: the Great Paxton attacker squared the ball across the box to be prodded home from close range by a teammate. 

With the visitors still looking particularly strong down their left flank, the Great Paxton right-back could not control Ross Gray who continued to circumvent his way past. But it was actually the AFC Ely deep-lying midfielder who created the visitors’ best opportunity of the half.  Frazer Jennings’ slaloming run into the penalty area and subsequent pass found Conor Gibbs on the edge of the six yard box: Gibbs’ shot on goal ricocheted to the feet of Oliver Jennings who had to act tersely to get a shot on goal himself, however – much to his consternation – the effort was once again kept out by the impressive home goalkeeper. 

AFC Ely didn’t have to wait too much longer for the ball to finally hit the back of the Great Paxton net as Max Wright’s lovely cushioned header for his captain, Oliver Jennings, saw a deflected volley sail over the head of the stranded home goalkeeper. Perhaps this could be the springboard for an AFC Ely turnaround. 

Poised perfectly to atone for their failings in the first-half, AFC Ely would have hoped to have completed the comeback, however, untimely substitutions and good fortune favouring Great Paxton saw the home side regain the lead late on. With little time remaining and a lack of forward thrust, AFC Ely had to contend with their first defeat of the season. 

Full-time result: Great Paxton Reserves 2-1 AFC Ely. 

AFC Ely Man of the Match: James Callow. 

AFC Ely travel to Comberton this Saturday – kick off is at 3:00pm. 

Press release from AFC Ely

Written by Oliver Jennings

oliverjennings98@ljones9142outlook-com

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