Assistant manager Steve Nicholson is confident Emley AFC can turn their form around after back-to-back defeats. 

The Pewits lost 5-1 to Eccleshill in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division and then lost 2-0 to City of Liverpool in the FA Cup. On Friday night (August 27) they face local rivals Penistone Church at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. 

Nicholson said: “Penistone are a good side and we played them a few times in lockdown so we each know what the other is about. It will be a good game and it’s a local derby too which will add a bit of spice. 

“Both clubs are friends off the field and I know Richard (Tracey, Emley boss) gets on well with their manager. 

“They are a side which has been around the play-offs in the last few years. That tells you how good they are. However I think it’s fair to say neither of us have had the best start to the season.

Emley AFC Credit: Mark Parsons

“It will click for us eventually, and hopefully then we’ll rise up the table to where we want to be.”

Emley are 17th on two points with Penistone just one place above them in the standings. 

Nicholson added: “It’s a step up for the club and it’s a difficult division. It’s been a disrupted start to the season with players retiring, leaving, being injured and some players having booked holidays or trips away and it’s all been paid for so they need to go. What I will say though is that that’s where the younger under-23 lads come in. 

“They have been superb so far and we need to remember that they are learning the game too. Yes, they will make errors but name me a young player who hasn’t. They have represented the club well and they’ll just get better.”

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On the previous defeats to Eccleshill and the City of Liverpool, Nicholson said: “Obviously it was always going to be tough going to Liverpool and playing against higher league opposition. The lads put a real shift in and an improved performance from the 5-1 defeat to Eccleshill which was well below our standards.

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“We played really well in Liverpool and had the better chances which we just couldn’t finish off. We had an unfathomable stonewall penalty waved away and then they opened the scoring with a wonderful 30-yard strike. Although they scored a second we did ourselves proud on the night.

“If we play like that in the league and take our chances we’ll more often than not pick up the points we need.” 

Emley face Penistone on Friday August 27 7.45pm kick off at the Fantastic Media Welfare Stadium.