By Martin Eastwood
Second half goals from Charlie Barks and James Walshaw saw Emley AFC reach the quarter-finals of the FA Vase for the first time since 1988.
A crowd of 828 at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground saw Emley go through with a 2-0 victory over Whickham.
The Pewits have taken the scalps of Heaton Stannington, West Didsbury & Chorlton, Charnock Richard and now Whickham on the road to Wembley in the Vase and while not a game for the purist, Emley showed a determined will to win.
In a tight first half Irywah Gooden put a header over the bar after Sam Pashley’s shot and Walshaw was inches away after a free-kick was awarded for a foul on Nathan Curtis.
Ruben Jerome threatened and Walshaw couldn’t quite steer his shot on target but it wasn’t all one-way traffic and Aleksander Petrovic was needed to keep the visitors out.
Gallery of images by: Huddersfield Hub photographer SEAN DOYLE
Emley started the second half the better side with Gooden seeing a shot deflected for a corner. From the flagkick, Walshaw steered his header over the bar.
The game saw more physicality from the visitors and they were punished with two quick yellow cards as the Pewits looked to take control of the tie.
The first change for Emley came on 52 minutes when Curtis, a victim of quite a bit of Whickham’s physical stuff, was replaced by Tom Haigh.
Emley were more than capable of dishing out a bit of meaty stuff. Joe Clegg in particular put himself about in midfield as usual but always on the right side of the ref. Clegg was then clattered by an illegal challenge which saw a third Whickham player in the book.
It looked like Emley were chipping away at Whickham’s defence. Gooden, Jerome and Walshaw were causing them some real issues.
Gooden saw a back post header go wide and Walshaw was denied by the keeper as the hour mark came and went.
Emley broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when the visitors’ defence failed to clear Ross Hardaker’s ball into the box and Barks stabbed home.
The Pewits were denied a penalty when Gooden was sent sprawling but Emley sealed victory nine minutes from time when Jerome outmuscled the defence to win a header and steer it into the path of Walshaw who saw off two defenders before blasting the ball home.
The 828 attendance was the biggest since Emley returned to the village in 2005.
Next up is a return to the league when Tadcaster Albion visit the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Saturday February 17 (3.00).