Emley AFC battle to make their point against title-chasing Garforth Town

Emley's George Doyle, who played in the 2-2 draw with second-placed Garforth Town in the Toolstation NCE Premier Division. Picture: Mark ParsonsEmley's George Doyle, who played in the 2-2 draw with second-placed Garforth Town in the Toolstation NCE Premier Division. Picture: Mark Parsons
Emley's George Doyle, who played in the 2-2 draw with second-placed Garforth Town in the Toolstation NCE Premier Division. Picture: Mark Parsons
Emley AFC returned from second-placed Garforth Town with a point after a battling 2-2 draw in a bruising, hard fought game with some late controversy.

On a cold, wet day in East Leeds, both sides gave their all and fought for a share of the spoils in this Toolstation NCE Premier Division game, writes Martin Eastwood.

Garforth made the early running, finding space for a shot that was blazed well over from 12 yards.

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Emley took a while to get into their stride, their slick passing game from last Tuesday’s hammering of Handsworth was proving difficult on a sticky, bumpy pitch as the game turned into a battle early on.

After a defensive lapse saw Garforth gifted a chance, Jamie Price produced a fantastic last ditch blocking tackle to keep the Pewits sheet clean.

But it would not be for long, a quick switch out to the right caught Emley out and Samuel Leach drilled in a well placed low shot to give the hosts the lead.

Emley did not let that affect them too much and finally started to make inroads into the Miners’ defence, James Ngoe with a little burst into the box only to be unable to find a shot.

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Supporters’ frustrations at the Pewits not creating much would turn to jubilation just a couple of minutes later, however, after the ball found itself at the feet of Lewis Whitham, who took a couple of touches before shooting into the bottom corner to equalise.

Garforth then tried their luck with a long distance shot that again went well over Sam Kelly’s crossbar, Whitham then found himself in space and tried another shot, but this time it went the wrong side of the post.

Whitham, the on-loan Liversedge man, was heavily involved in all Emley’s attacks as they enjoyed a good spell and was credited with an assist as the visitors took the lead.

After seeing a shot blocked and then teasing the Garforth defence, he chipped over a perfect cross into the area and it was met on the stride by the left foot of Max Tweddle, who steered the ball past the keeper to the jubilation of Emley’s travelling support.

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The second half was predominantly a battle, not always very pretty, but both sides deserve credit for sticking it out and keeping the game fairly open despite the lack of clear cut chances.

After a couple of early attacks from both sides, the game settled into a battle of wits, the pitch heavier after the rain continued to tumble down, plenty of challenges were going in and frustrations on both sides growing.

There was some goalmouth action, though, and Emley will be kicking themselves for not taking advantage and possibly putting the game beyond Town.

After a well earned corner, again, from Whitham, a bit of ping-pong ensued and eventually the ball fell to Tom Cadzow who fired over from close range. In fairness to the defender, he had just come onto the field to replace Jamie Price.

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Emley were creating the better chances, and defending well at the other end, Sam Pashley, in particular was immense again and seemingly relishing the physical battle with the Garforth forwards.

Another good chance was created when Whitham, so often causing problems on the left, found himself on the right and after linking up well with Ngoe, sent a lovely ball over, but George Doyle could not direct his header past the keeper.

And Emley would pay for the wastefulness as Garforth drew level, a quick break out of defence saw them on the front foot, the ball was played in from the right and met by Gorji who tapped home from close range.

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The last few minutes proved tough for both sides, with the game now stretched with legs and mind tiring it became a grim fight to the death type of game.

Then came the controversy, the home side celebrated a late winner when Gorji tucked home from 12 yards, although he appeared to be offside when the ball was played through, the flag stayed down, Garforth claimed it came off an Emley player and Emley protested vehemently.

After a couple of minutes the referee consulted with his assistant and then disallowed the goal for offside to the cheers from Emley fans and howls from Garforth fans, some of who, started howling from the first challenge for cards to be dished out.

Why the assistant did not flag for offside initially is a mystery, Emley will feel the right decision was eventually made, Garforth, will, of course, disagree.

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Town did have another good chance to win the game in the closing seconds, but Emley managed to see it out and come home with a well deserved point.

Moxon and Co man of the match was Sam Pashley.

Staveley at home is next on the agenda for Emley this Saturday as they look to continue to climb up the NCE Premier Division table.