Emley AFC up to second as Joe Jagger bags hat-trick

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In-form Emley moved to within a point of NCEL Premier Division leaders Barton Town after a thumping 4-1 win over Thackley at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground.

It is now eight games unbeaten for Emley, who were helped by a hat-trick from the league’s top scorer Joe Jagger, writes Martin Eastwood.

Five of his 12 goals so far have been penalties in the last three games – a remarkable stat, what is that saying about waiting forever then loads come at once?

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The game was a slow burner if truth be told, just a couple of chances each in the first 15 minutes, a good ball in from Irywah Gooden eluded Jagger and Alex Metcalfe fired over from distance at the Warburton end while Dec Lambton saved a close-range effort and saw a shot go over his bar at the Richard Hirst stand end.

Joe Jagger scored two penalties on his way to a hat-trick for Emley against Thackley. Picture: Mark ParsonsJoe Jagger scored two penalties on his way to a hat-trick for Emley against Thackley. Picture: Mark Parsons
Joe Jagger scored two penalties on his way to a hat-trick for Emley against Thackley. Picture: Mark Parsons

But then the screw started to turn, Thackley keeper Wilson had to be on his toes to tip a shot over the bar before deadlock was broken, Bailey Tye-Baker saw his run into the area halted abruptly by a slashing tackle from a defender, the referee pointed to the spot, up stepped Joe Jagger as he had done three times in the previous two games to score from the spot.

An Emley corner a couple of minutes later was met by a powerful header by Dom Riordan, but he could not get the direction quite right.

Then Thackley managed to get back on terms, a good break upfield caught out the Emley defence and when the danger was not cleared, Sinfield fired home despite Lambton getting a hand to it.

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Would Emley rue conceding after having much of the play in the first half?

The answer would be an emphatic no as within a minute-and-a half Emley were back in front with a cracking goal, good build up play led to Gooden causing mayhem down Emley’s left, after leaving a couple of defenders looking for their bearings, he floated a perfect cross on to the end of Jagger’s boot and the striker lashed home in front of the delighted Emley fans in the shed.

More good play almost led to Emley’s third goal, good work by Jake Kelly, Gooden and Clegg saw Gooden shoot wide as the Pewits ramped up the pressure.

Gooden and Kelly were tormenting the right side of Thackley’s defence and another lovely ball by Kelly into the feet of Gooden saw the latter’s whipped cross inches away from Scott Smith’s right toe.

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Another good move down the left resulted in a corner which Kelly landed right on Jagger's head, but the header was just over.

Thackley were getting pulled from pillar to post especially down their right, but they did manage to attack themselves, however, a rare shot was sent wide.

Emley were having fun, Thackley had no answer to their pace, precision and movement, Joe Clegg saw a good shot well saved before a wicked curling ball in by Niall Heaton was an inch or two away from being converted by Gooden.

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Clegg was even closer a few minutes later when a flashing drive nicked a Thackley head and sailed an inch wide of the post. From the resulting corner, Gooden shot over.

It was now a matter of time of when, rather than if Emley would score a third and it duly came – and what a lovely goal it was.

Kelly’s run down the left saw his shot deflected, but rather than give it up, Smith harried the defender and kept the ball in play, he then played in a precise low ball into the area where Kelly was still there to steer it into the corner for his first-ever Emley goal, to the delight of the player, his teammates and the home fans.

There was another goal to come, remarkably, again from the penalty spot after Gooden was sent tumbling, with Jagger again having no problem dispatching from 12 yards, to earn another match ball hat-trick – his second treble of the season and it means he has only failed to score in one of the Pewits’ last eight games.

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With the points now sewn up Emley could relax and enjoy the last five minutes of a game that saw them climb above Eccleshill, North Ferriby and Winterton, only Barton Town’s win at Hallam prevented Richard Tracey’s men from going top.

All eyes are now focused on Saturday and a trip to the Wirral to face Vauxhall Motors of the NWCL in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase.

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