Emley AFC are having a fantastic season so far. They have gone 14 games unbeaten in all competitions and currently sit second in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
However, manager Richard Tracey is not getting carried away with a start to the season which has seen the Pewits unbeaten in 11 league matches since an opening day defeat to leaders North Ferriby.
Tracey said: “We have started the season very well and to go on this unbeaten run is great. I still feel in some moments we can improve and that’s what we’ll look to do.
“However, if you compare last season’s start to this, it’s very much down to the quality of football we are playing but also the fact we can get the same team out week after week. That wasn’t something we were able to do last year.
“There is lots of football to be played yet and we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves. It is very difficult to earn promotion out of this division, especially when there is just one golden spot for an automatic place.
“We also haven’t played some of the teams in and around us yet and they will be crucial games to win to see what we can achieve this season.
“We all are hoping for promotion, obviously, but it might be too early for us as a club. There would need to be a few off-the-field changes and improvements. It’s something, as a club, we’ll have to deal with if and when we go up.
“Say if we came second, we’d be playing in a play-off game against a team from the league above and they might have players you’ve tried to sign to help you get up, so that can add some intrigue. We aren’t there yet, though, so we need to just keep doing what we are doing.
“The unbeaten run is great but it’s interesting to note that if we’d have lost another game and won one that we have drawn we would have got more points. My Emley side never goes out to actively draw a fixture, we will always try to win it.
“We don’t fear losing a game as we know we will have an off day and lose at some point. It’s then all about how we bounce back.”
The prolific strike duo of Joe Jagger and Iyrwah Gooden have been a key component for the Pewits’ success so far this season.
Jagger already has 18 goals to his name, with Gooden bagging seven. On their partnership Tracey said: “They are different strikers and offer different things. Joe loves to link up play even though sometimes I’d love him in the area even more than he is.
“Iyrwah has come to the club and really impressed so far. He is a fast player and knows where the goal is. The good thing is that even though Iyrwah wasn’t scoring at the very start of the season he was creating chances and so we knew the goals would eventually come.
“Joe is a great player and someone I knew would be good at our club. He is a very good professional and so I think the two of them are really good on the pitch together and have both contributed well this season.
“Something else that is slightly different this season to the last campaign is that our forward players are more in sync and that’s because we have been able to play a regular team.”
Next up for Emley is an away trip to Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Friday (October 14) with a 7.45pm kick-off. After that they have a break from the league and will feature in two cup games. The first is away at Frickley Athletic in the first round of the FA Vase and then they will play Oughtibridge in the first round of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup.
Tracey said: “Hemsworth will be a tough test and I shall be asking Golcar for information on them as they have faced them twice recently.
“They will be a tricky opponent for us but I am positive we can win. Then we head into the cup fixtures and that will be a nice change. The FA Vase is a trophy we want to do well in, it can provide good revenue for the club going forward.”
Images by: Mark Parsons