Emley AFC draw a blank against Athersley in a game with four red cards

The Pewits and the Penguins served up an entertaining, incident packed, but ultimately goalless draw as 2021 drew to a close with Emley AFC and Athersley Rec earning a point each In a 0-0 draw at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground.

Thursday, 30th December 2021, 11:23 am
Emley's Joe Jagger is denied by Athersley goalkeeper Ellis Pickard. Picture: Mark Parsons

Despite the Toolstation NCE Premier Division game being subject to a morning pitch inspection due to overnight rain which passed, the game kicked off in mild, but damp weather and although there were no goals the bumper bank holiday crowd did witness four red cards in the game, writes Martin Eastwood

It was the hosts who dominated the early part of the game, much as they dominated most of the game, but as with last week’s defeat at Eccleshill, the Pewits could not finish off the chances they created.

The visitors could not have complained had they found themselves two or three down within the first 20 minutes as Emley piled on the pressure, Joe Jagger firing over from range within the first couple of minutes.

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Emley's Jimmy Eyles prepares to shoot at the Athersley goal, but is unable to break the deadlock in the goalless Toolstation NCE Premier Division game. Picture: Mark Parsons

Emley then carved out a couple more good chances, first Lewis Witham, then Joe Kenny coming close to breaking the deadlock.

Emley were looking to play out from the back and when they got it right, it again caused problems for the Athersley rearguard, Jagger had a shot saved after Jimmy Eyles tried a speculative overhead kick.

Emley had to be switched on at the back, though, as Athersley did create a couple of chances themselves, their shots going wide of Sam Kelly’s goal.

Joe Kenny then had the best chance of the game so far when his stinging shot was well saved by Recs keeper Pickard, Emley also saw a couple of corners come to nothing after more pressure.

Alex Metcalfe then had a duel with Pickard with two good efforts, one went over the bar, the other saved by the keeper as half-time approached.

The second half was incident packed, but it took a while to get going, an early break for Emley came to nothing as the game became a battle of attrition for a while.

Athersley created the best chance of the second period when Gashi put a free-kick wide, Lewis Witham saw a shot saved for Emley at the other end.

Kenny then came close again as his fierce shot rattled the cross bar with the defence and keeper beaten, the Emley fans were beginning to suspect it was not going to be their day again.

Tempers were becoming frayed in the heat of the battle and then they boiled over during a fracas in which Athersley’s Jimmy Pursell was shown a straight red for his involvement as well as a yellow for Emley skipper Jamie Price, they would not be the last of the cards exchanged before the game was over.

Emley must still be wondering how they did not take the lead, an almighty goalmouth scramble ended with the ball going inches wide rather than the back of the net before Charlie Smith was denied by the keeper as Emley kept up the pressure.

The drama was not over, though, another altercation in the box saw bodies everywhere and a couple of sly kicks going in, Jagger was clattered by O’Brien inside the area, the Emley striker took exception and threw the ball at him, only to be kicked by the visiting full-back. After deliberation the referee dismissed another two Athersley players, O’Brien and Oguwike, and Emley’s Jagger while also flashing yellow cards.

So, the last few minutes saw 10 v 8, yet somehow the dogged Penguins defence stood firm and claimed a point, Emley still created enough chances to win the game, though.

Another classical scramble saw the Pewits fire three shots goalwards but somehow the net was not breached, Kenny blazing wide from a few feet out.

Eyles also had a chance, but he too fired wide when in a decent position, and the vociferous Emley supporters in the Richard Hirst stand thought they had nicked all three points when Joe Kenny was put through, but again, wayward finishing let the Pewits down.

As the game entered its 100th minute, due to the various stoppages, Emley had one final chance, but Eyles couldn’t keep his 18-yard shot down and the ball sailed over.

Disappointment for Emley having created so many chances again but failed to capitalise on them, Athersley will probably feel their resolute defending earned them a point, but like at Eccleshill, the Pewits created enough chances to win the game but did not take them.

It’s a tough trip to local rivals Penistone Church now on Sunday for Richard Tracey’s charges.