Report by: Martin Eastwood. Pictures by: Mark Parsons

George Doyle sealed a tense come-from-behind victory to secure a first FA Cup victory for Emley in five years.

The Pewits beat Congleton Town 3-2 at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground and their reward is a trip to City of Liverpool FC in the FA Cup preliminary round.

Watched by more than 300 fans, it was the first time Emley had won an FA Cup game since they beat Athersley Rec 2-1 at the same stage in 2016.

The home side had the perfect start in the first five minutes when a crude challenge saw the referee point to the penalty spot. With the crowd just about settled in Matt Sykes slammed the ball home past Cameron Phelps in the Congleton goal.

It was the first goal the Bears had conceded this season after two impressive away wins in the NWCL but the visitors took that in their stride and proceeded to take control. Congleton, with former Port Vale hitman Tom Pope leading the line started to cause problems for Emley’s rearguard.

Congleton were awarded a free-kick for a clumsy challenge 20 yards out, a good strike saw the ball deflected off the wall and rattle Paul Day’s crossbar to the relief of the Emley faithful.

They were almost cheering again within a couple of minutes as a good move down the Emley right saw Alex Metcalfe cause problems and Doyle put a header inches wide.

Mascot Mason Cahill leads the Emley team for the handshake

Still both teams attacked, some classic last ditch tackling and wayward final balls probably kept the score at 1-0 but there was a sense that it wouldn’t stay that way for long.

Congleton were the next to attack and were awarded another free kick 25 yards out, but they elected to try a clever, early shot which didn’t fool Day in the Emley nets, Sykes saw a rising shot go over at the other end a minute or so later.

But then four minutes of madness and disastrous defending from the Pewits saw the game completely turned on its head, first of all a deep pass over the defence saw a lack of communication between Day and James Knowles, Knowles headed past the hapless Day only into the path of Jon Beaumont who gleefully tapped home the equaliser.

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Emley were all at sea defensively and struggling to contain Pope, who was finding time and space with ease, Emley were pulled one way then another as the Bears looked to take advantage, and they did just two minutes later, again poor defending, Pope’s vision to fire a ball out to the left and a fantastic cross was met beautifully by Beaumont who didn’t need to break stride to glance past Day and send the Congleton contingent into raptures.

Emley appeared shell-shocked as Congleton looked like becoming rampant and wrapping the tie up before half time, however, Emley’s experience at the back eventually settled them down and they managed to regroup.

Emley were almost back on equal terms just past the half hour mark, another free kick awarded for a foul on Doyle, who, like his U23 team mate Jack Bennett, was a thorn in the Bears’ side all afternoon. Alex Metcalfe’s free kick took a couple of deflections in and around the area, eventually falling to right back Marcus Haydock who lashed a shot just inches past Phelps’ right post.

Congleton finished the half the stronger and will probably feel they deserved to go in at the break 3-1 up, after another shot was put wide after good build up work, Pope had a glorious chance to make it 3 but his shot went agonisingly wide right on half time.


In a recent warm up game against Stocksbridge, Emley were under the cosh for most of the first half, but came out with a different energy, belief and appetite in the second half to win the game, this game followed a similar pattern with the same outcome.

Within a minute of the restart, Bennett had created space for himself, bursting into the area but just couldn’t catch up to the rolling ball, but Bennett would nevertheless play a massive part in Emley’s success.

Bennett, Doyle and Max Tweddle were working their socks off up front for Emley and starting to cause Congleton problems with their sheer tenacity, it was this will to win that led to Emley’s equaliser nine minutes in to the second half.

Doyle scrapped for and won a ball just inside his own half, the ball eventually came to Matt Sykes whose goal-bound effort, was misjudged by the Congleton defender Jepson who headed the ball past the stranded and bemused Phelps for 2-2, Sykes, ultimately, cheekily, claiming the goal as his own, and why not?

Emley were back on top and with the crowd right behind them tore into the Bears, Doyle and Bennett again, giving the defenders a hard time, a beautiful corner from Metcalfe was missed by everyone and Congleton cleared.

Doyle, now playing more central, drilled a shot wide after more great work by Bennett, and then repaid the favour but Bennett couldn’t stretch enough to make any contact and the ball ran out.

READ MORE: Follow Emley AFC on Huddersfield Hub – here’s our archive of stories

But they did make it pay on 58 minutes. Good work in midfield and eventually Bennett found himself one on one with the defender, with a little dink and a drop of the shoulder he was clear, he looked up and saw Doyle racing into the area, a delicate sliding ball into Doyle and this time he made no mistake.

Phelps got a hand to it but it nestled in the bottom corner to the delight of the Emley fans behind that goal.

Emley had turned it around but Congleton hadn’t been much of an attacking threat so far in the second half, so Emley couldn’t be complacent.

Congleton tried everything to get back into it, but Emley’s defence stood firm, Knowles, after his first half jitters, and Dom Riordan kept their nerve and aided by skipper Jamie Price, there was enough know how to see the game out.

Emley Goals – Sykes (5), Jepson (og 54) Doyle (58)

Moxon and Co Man of the Match – Jack Bennett

Emley’s next game is at home to Garforth Town in the NCEL Premier Division on Tuesday August 10 (7.45pm).