Second-half substitute Will Cooper produces brace to secure three points for AFC Ely

West Row Gunners FC vs AFC Ely

AFC Ely, travelling to West Row on the back of an impressive win last weekend, rode their luck on a few occasions in the first-half of this game and often found themselves having to dig deep on what was a difficult pitch to play on: however, there was nothing remotely lucky about the end result as ultimately AFC Ely comfortably dismantled the home side. 

Indeed, on an afternoon where Will Cooper shone, it was the team’s rugged, determined performance that paved the way for Cooper to capitalise on a tiring West Row backline and bag a quick fire double to put AFC Ely on 7 points and top of the league, after 3 games played. 

As previously mentioned, much of the groundwork was put in by the team prior to the two goals scored by the match winner Cooper. This begun with an outstanding goal by Ross Gray in the tenth minute. Receiving the ball from left-back Cameron Laing, Gray was positioned just outside of the eighteen yard box and to the left of the goal. With time to work a yard of space and assess the goalkeeper’s position, Gray unleashed a venomous strike that the West Row shot stopper touched but could not stop, such was the power on this shot. 

Both teams were configuring in matching 3 man midfields, and despite West Row’s attempts to clip the ball over the heads of the away side’s midfield and defence, they failed to create much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. The stand-in goalkeeper Danny Gibbs was made to work on one such occasion however, as an effort from the hosts’ striker forced Gibbs to tip around the post following a low drive to his left side. 

In another area of the pitch was his brother Conor Gibbs. The club’s leading goal scorer circumvented a way through on goal with just the goalkeeper to beat and it looked as though he had when he produced an inventive scoop over West Row’s number one but to Gibbs’ chagrin, his effort was cleared off the line.  

As the teams came off at half-time it was expected that AFC Ely would face a galvanised West Row in the second-half but the visitors’ alchemy would see them protect and eventually extend their lead.  

AFC Ely’s second goal came courtesy of some sublime build up play on the left side of the pitch involving Danny Flack, Conor Gibbs and the man who finished the play, Will Cooper. The move reached its conclusion when the ball landed at the feet of Cooper: with some quick footwork and pressure from the opposition, the AFC Ely forward nonchalantly slid the ball past the surging goalkeeper to double the away team’s advantage. 

Cooper’s second pretty much mirrored the first, this time taking place on the right side of the pitch. In what was a more direct move, Nick Kydnt’s chipped ball down the right by-line found Cooper. Faced by a West Row defender; Cooper’s coruscating run saw him charge past the statuesque defender and again find himself toe to toe with the goalkeeper. With little doubt from his teammates and the socially-distanced spectators, Cooper scored the third and final goal of the game, securing a resounding 3-0 win for the Ely-based outfit. Despite Cooper’s stellar cameo, the team’s belief and endeavour was what won them the game against stiff, competitive opposition. 

Full-time result: West Row Gunners FC 0 – 3 AFC Ely. 

AFC Ely Man of the Match: Frazer Jennings. 

AFC Ely entertain Milton at the Paradise Centre next Saturday – kick off is at 3:00pm. 

Press release from AFC Ely

Written by Oliver Jennings

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