By Martin Eastwood

A brace from Iyrwah Gooden helped Emley AFC get their title push firmly back on track with a thumping 5-0 win at Barton Town.

After three straight defeats, the Pewits returned to form in style and are now just four points from clinching top spot and promotion from the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

Saturday’s victory – which also saw James Walshaw, Ross Hardaker and Joe Kenny on the scoresheet – coupled with second-placed Campion’s 2-2 draw with Garforth on Friday night – means Emley are now five points clear with two games in hand.

After a goalless first half, not helped by a gusty wind, the contest completely changed in the second half.

Within five minutes of the re-start a challenge on Hardaker caused tensions to rise and Barton defender Fraser Papprill was sent off and skipper Tom Waudby sin-binned, meaning the home side were reduced to nine men for 10 minutes.

It took just five minutes for Gooden to fire Emley ahead and the Pewits put the game to bed with five goals in a devastating 20-minute spell.

Gooden crashed a shot off the bar before the ball was recycled and Gooden slammed a shot home inside the near post and the league leaders were on their way.

Emley made it 2-0 when Alex Metcalfe’s dangerous ball from the left was spilled by keeper Jordan Douglas and the ball went in off the chest of Walshaw.

Gooden added the third when Metcalfe’s shot proved too hot to handle for the keeper and Gooden volleyed into the bottom corner.

Barton were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute, much to the surprise of everyone watching, but Alex Petrovic came to the rescue, saving with his feet from Waudby.

Emley put the game beyond doubt when Metcalfe’s sublime ball to the back post was met by Hardaker who planted a cushioned header back across and over the keeper.

It was 5-0 when Gooden caused chaos again and the ball was cleared only as far as Kenny who drilled home from the edge of the box.

Gooden almost completed a hat-trick but his powerful shot was well saved by Douglas.

Will Waudby was sin-binned late on and Barton finished the game with nine men.

Emley take on fifth-placed Albion Sports at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Tuesday March 26 (7.45) as they close in on the title.