By Eddie Willis

Top-of-the-table Emley AFC head to a showdown at title rivals Campion on Tuesday (March 19) still six points clear.

The Pewits have two games in hand and a victory on Tuesday could all but set the seal on the Northern Counties East League Premier Division title and promotion.

Both sides go into the game on the back of a rare defeat. Emley lost 2-1 to Silsden at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Saturday while Campion crashed to a 1-0 defeat at home to Knaresborough Town.

On Saturday, Emley – without top scorer Ruben Jerome through injury – struggled to get out of first gear and went down to a goal in each half with Alex Metcalfe pulling one back in the 89th minute.

The first half was fairly even but saw Silsden make the most of their chances, as they took the lead from a well-placed free kick close to half-time.

James Walshaw found himself well placed inside the Silsden box with a lot still to do facing away from goal. He cleverly swivelled and unleashed a fierce effort on goal, but the Silsden keeper made a fine stop.

From the resulting corner, Ross Hardaker’s pacy delivery was met by Charlie Barks before being scrambled towards goal in a sea of bodies, but Silsden’s keeper was on hand once more.

Silsden rode the period of pressure from Emley well before countering and buying a cheap free-kick on the edge of the area.

Casey Stewart stepped up for the visitors and curled a stunning effort into the bottom corner to put them 1-0 up in the 39th minute.

Emley perhaps missed the direction of manager Richard Tracey and assistant boss Steve Nicholson who were both absent for the game.

Emley tried to find a way back but it proved to be a struggle. They conceded a second in the 66th minute when Sam Pashley lost the ball and Luke Brooksbank finished with a powerful strike.

An out-of-sorts performance from Emley visibly frustrated the players as they found themselves 2-0 down.

Walshaw thumped a header straight at the keeper, who parried it straight back into his path. The forward did well to sort his feet out and poke the rebound towards goal, but a Silsden defender cleared it off the line.

Joe Kenny was next to have a go, smashing an effort from the edge of the box wide of the post. Moments later, Isaac Baldwin showed determination to drive into the box from the left. He tried to bend one towards the far post but Silsden managed to throw a body in the way to block the effort.

Finally, in the closing moments of the game, Emley pulled one back through Metcalfe who tapped in Iyrwah Gooden’s clever pass across the face of goal but it proved a mere consolation.