Missed chances prove costly for Emley AFC against title chasers Eccleshill United

Manager Richard Tracey felt his Emley AFC side were hard done to by their 2-1 defeat to high-flying Eccleshill United in the Toolstation NCE Premier Division.

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 8:00 am
Callum Charlton helped set up a good opportunity that was not taken by Emley against Eccleshill United. Picture: Mark Parsons

Joe Jagger gave the Pewits an early lead, which they held to half-time, but their second-placed hosts hit back to score twice in the second period to march on in their quest for the title and leave Emley down in 17th.

“I don’t know how we’ve lost,” said manager Tracey.

“It should have been dead and buried by half-time – we should have been two or three up.

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“In the second half the ref gives a soft penalty – their lad made contact with our player and goes down – and it gets them in the game.

“We then had a one-on-one to go 2-1 up and within 90 seconds we’re 2-1 down.

“That’s what happens when you play sides at the top of the table, if you don’t take your chances you get punished.”

Tracey added: “Overall we defended quite well, but we created plenty of chances, enough to win two or three games, and the realistic point is that at the top end of the pitch we were nowhere near good enough.

“We’re not a million miles off, we can see that. We’ve come to the second in the league and out performed them I feel.

“When you are at the top of the table you get the rub of the green, but as far as I am concerned the result really stands on us because we could have had eight, nine.”

In murky, foggy conditions Emley were quick out of the blocks and after having an early penalty shout turned down they took the lead as Jimmy Eyles put Jagger through to beat the keeper and plant the ball in the bottom corner of the net.

Eccleshill were unable to convert a couple of free-kicks from just outside the box while the Pewits could not take further opportunities and another penalty shout fell on deaf ears although Joe Kenny seemed to be manhandled in the area.

The referee did answer Eccleshill calls three minutes into the second half as Sam Pashley was deemed to have fouled and Talent Ndlovu dispatched the resulting spot kick.

Emley’s response was good with Callum Charlton cutting the ball back for Eyles to get an effort in, but keeper Edward Wilkzinski denied him with a superb save.

It was completely against the run of play then when Eccleshill took the lead in the 65th minute. Sumali Cissa’s pass split the visitors’ defence and Luke Aldrich raced through before chipping the ball over keeper Sam Kelly into the net.

Still the Pewits tried to score and came close again as George Doyle went through one-on-one only for the bounce of the ball to not be kind. The striker tried to lob the ball over Wilzinski, but could not get enough power on the shot and could not beat the keeper.

As the mist thickened Eccleshill seemed to be content to see out the remainder and could have paid the price late on when Emley had one more great chance.

Doyle’s pass sent Eyles through for another one-on- one with the goalkeeper, but his effort trickled wide and a point had unluckily escaped the Pewits.

Eccleshill saw the final moments out and were relieved to take all three points after they had been given a big test.

Moxon & Co man of the match was Kenny.

Emley are next in action next Tuesday when they return to the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground for another league game against Athersley Recreation (kick-off 3pm).

Spectators can enjoy free mince pies and pre-game tipple while the team looks to rediscover their winning touch after two defeats and a draw in their last three matches.

Emley go into the festive period still in 17th position, nine points ahead of second from bottom Hemsworth MW and with three games in hand on them.