Emley AFC finish in creditable ninth place in first season in NCE League Premier

Emley AFC rounded off their 2021-22 NCE Premier Division season with another goalless draw, this time away at Bottesford Town.

By Tony Harber
Friday, 15th April 2022, 8:30 am
Joe Jagger went close to scoring in Emley AFC's last game of the season. Picture: Mark Parsons
Joe Jagger went close to scoring in Emley AFC's last game of the season. Picture: Mark Parsons

After being postponed twice the game finally went ahead in a chilly but fine spring evening in North Lincolnshire, writes Martin Eastwood.

Despite either side having little to play for, except moving a place up the table, the game was fairly competitive, despite the real lack of goalmouth action.

The hosts were the first to test the goalkeeper with a strike that struck the bottom of Sam Kelly’s post before the danger was cleared.

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Emley soon got into their stride and were moving the ball around well and it wasn’t long before Joe Jagger was taking aim, but his shot went wide.

The Pewits, and their good number of travelling support, thought they had the opening goal on 25 minutes, a dangerous free kick was played in and a cushioned header fell nicely for Charlie Smith whose delicate shot looped past the keeper, but the offside flag was already up to cut short the celebrations.

Unfortunately for Tom Claisse, his night was ended by an early substitution due to a muscle problem, he was replaced by Sandie Masuku, making his sixth substitute appearance of the season after being promoted from the academy.

Both sides were intent on attacking and Kelly was on hand to deny the hosts when the defence was breached, but he rushed off his line to avert the danger.

George Doyle and Jagger linked up well on the left before Jagger again shot wide after a good ball by Doyle, Bottesford then fired wide again before Masuku was denied by the home keeper after a good ball through.

The second half took a while to get going, but after five minutes Masuku, who was causing the Poachers’ backline some problems with his pace and movement found himself with another chance, but he could not keep the ball down and shot over.

Bottesford were a threat going forward, but like Emley they seemed to have forgotten their shooting boots, another shot went wide after a good move on their left.

But then Emley had a great chance to open the scoring and it fell to Masuku. The youngster showed good feet in midfield and then spun and found space in the inside right position, a good ball found him and he beat the defender but the keeper did well to save.

Masuku was nipping in between defenders and creating space and he played with confidence, earning himself the Moxon &Co man of the match. He was the 11th member of Emley’s academy to make the step up, the 12th was not far behind as Charlie Auty came on for his senior debut replacing skipper Jamie Price. He did not look out of place, despite his first pass being wayward he soon recovered and showed the composure he shows for the academy.

The game petered out. Bottesford had a couple of headers go wide and over and Emley were given a chance to steal all three points in the final minute, a crude challenge led to a free-kick 25 yards out and with fans reminding Jagger about Knaresborough (where he scored two direct free kicks from the same range), with a wry, confident smile, he stepped up and hit the target but the keeper got down to save.

And so the end of the season is upon us, two goalless draws to finish, but perhaps more importantly it means the Pewits have only lost twice in their last 10, a run that saw them climb away from the bottom of the table to push for a top half finish.

Emely’s draw, coupled with Staveley’s defeat means that a top half finish is now confirmed as Emley finish their first ever season at the ninth level of English football in ninth place in the NCE Premier Division and can look to build for next season.