The Jockeys took the local bragging rights in an thrilling local derby at the Ridgeons Stadium last night. The game was full of goals, shots on target and a few controversial on-field incidents. All of this provided pulsating entertainment for the large and vocal crowd.
The game started at a furious pace with Deakan Napier and Lewis Whitehead both unlucky not to score early on. Both players were however involved in the first goal which came in the thirteenth minute. Napier took a short corner to Whitehead who expertly crossed to James Chivers for him to head into the net at the back post. The home side then continued to pepper the Ely goal. Austen Diaper just shot wide and Charlie Bowen had a powerful header cleared off the line by the leg of a desperate defender. Lewis Whitehead then was denied on three separate occasions as he shot just wide, just over and finally hit the bar in a hectic five minute spell. It was not certainly going to be his night!
Completely against the run of play Ely then got back on level terms with a stunning long range individual goal from Kelvin Enaro in the thirty third minute. A few minutes later Newmarket’s centre back Mark Webster hobbled off the pitch with an injury to be replaced by Luke Seaber-Shinn. With five minutes remaining before the break Paul Betson was brought down in the box by a desperate lunge from the Ely goalkeeper Harry Reynolds. Newmarket skipper Jack Watson duly scored from the penalty spot to restore the Jockeys lead. Half Time Score 2-1.
As the second half got underway both sides had good scoring chances with Enaro, in particular, unlucky not to add to his tally on the evening. Newmarket however increased their lead in the seventy second minute in controversial fashion. Newmarket were denied a second penalty when the referee adjudged that a hand ball was inches outside the box. Jamie Thurlbourne hit a powerful free kick which rebounded off a defender into the path of Jack Watson who scored his second goal of the game. The Ely goalkeeper was subsequently given his marching orders by referree Stuart Cheek for foul language – his second bookable offence in the game. Substitute Daniel Jeffery took over as goalkeeper and was soon called on to make some fine saves. Five minutes later Newmarket’s Charlie Bowen was also sent off for getting a very harsh second yellow card. In between the two dismissals Jack Watson was denied his hat trick when his “goal” was ruled out after lengthy consultations between the referee and linesman resulted in a ruling that James Seymour had been in an offside position and was deemed to be interfering with play.
With less than ten minutes remaining and both sides down to ten men Ely ramped up the pressure when Matty Simpson clawed back a goal for the visitors. However the Jockeys quickly responded with a goal from Jamie Thurlboune to restore their two goal cushion. The drama was not over though as the final word went to Ely’s Tom Williams who scored in the final minute of added time. Final Score Newmarket 4 Ely 3.
This was fabulous entertainment yet again on the 3G pitch at the Ridgeons Stadium. The pitch had undergone regular expert maintenance work the day before and despite heavy overnight rain the playing surface was in absolutely perfect condition for the match. Newmarket now entertain Godmanchester Rovers in another local derby at the Ridgeons Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Match report by Graham Edwards