Joe Francis hits a hat-trick as Seasiders win at Ely
PUBLISHED: 15:37 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:37 15 April 2018
Thurlow Nunn Premier
Ely City 0
Felixstowe and Walton United 3
Sometimes you have to win ugly, and this was one of those days at a venue that has rarely been a happy hunting ground for the Seasiders, writes Barry Grossmith.
A Joe Francis hat-trick with a couple of assists from Ely defenders plus two top drawer saves from Danny Crump ensured the three points went the visitors’ way.
Once again, the travelling Seasiders fans outnumbered the home supporters in the 119 crowd on a warm spring afternoon, and their vociferous support certainly helped drive the visitors on in the second half.
Ely’s influential Jamie Thurlbourne was in the thick of most things for an hour, with his ability to spread the ball either way with pin point accuracy, but as he faded in the final 30 minutes so did the Robins’ challenge.
A late penalty that looked a generous decision by referee Brian O’Sullivan did offer Ely the opportunity of a consolation goal, but Danny Crump was down quickly to push Thurlbourne’s spot kick away.
A goal-line clearance from Dan Davis to deny Nick Heap and an athletic save from Crump, turning Brooks’ goal-bound effort over the bar for a corner in the opening five minutes frustrated the home side, who had the better of the exchanges in the opening 30 minutes.
The game swung Felixstowe’s way when Ely’s Alex Theobold spurned a great chance in front of an unguarded goal just after the half hour, and within a minute the Seasiders were ahead.
Good work from Sam Ford put Francis away and his low left foot shot was helped on its way by a defender to open the scoring.
The lead was extended in the 70th minute when Francis ended a surging run from the half way line with a clinical finish, curling the ball round Reynolds in the Ely goal after racing past Brown into the area.
It was an individual goal of the highest quality, to make sure of the points, and Francis completed his hat-trick from the spot in the 82nd minute after what looked a harsh handball decision against an Ely defender in a packed goalmouth.