By Martin Eastwood
Dynamic duo Jack Bennett and George Doyle ensured Emley AFC twice came from behind to claim a point against Penistone Church.
Bennett and Doyle, elevated to the first team squad this season after proving themselves in the under-23s, both scored in a 2-2 cracker at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Friday night.
A crowd of more than 400 were treated to an end-to-end contest as both sides went hunting a first league win of the season.
Church made the perfect start going ahead in the eighth minute through Nath Keightley who rounded keeper Sam Kelly to slot home.
Emley, though, fought back with a good spell of possession and Max Tweddle tested the Church keeper on a couple of occasions and successive corners were cleared by the Penistone defence.
A free kick from Lewis Sugden from 20 yards out went wide and Doyle was in amongst the action, seeing a fine shot saved by the keeper and a close ranger header drop just wide of the post.
At the other end, Kelly was forced into a save as Church countered on the break.
Doyle and Bennett have been real positives for Emley this season after stepping up from the trophy winning academy side and both of them caused Penistone’s defence problems.
Doyle was prepared to mix it with Penistone’s experienced centre-back pairing of Brett Lovell and ex-Emley man Tom Brennan and Bennett’s direct runs caused problems.
Emley levelled in first half stoppage time and it was that Bennett and Doyle combination. Bennett’s movement created space in the box for Doyle who set up his mate to rifle a shot into the top corner.
The home side looked to start the second period off as they finished the first, on the front foot and attacking, Bennett again got the better of the Church defence but this time his finish went wide of the post.
Emley’s movement up front was causing Penistone problems and they were soon conceding free kicks, one of these, from Lewis Sugden flew inches over the bar as Emley looked to take the lead.
However, it was the visitors who went back in front as a ball in from the right was met by Nicky Guest who turned it home, making it 2-1 just before the hour mark.
The visitors looked to wrap the game up in the next few minutes, but Emley stood firm thanks to good work from skipper Jamie Price and Callum Charlton.
Emley were unlucky not to equalise when Jimmy Eyles crossed for Doyle at the back post but the young Emley striker couldn’t quite get his effort on target.
The equaliser came in the 67th minute when Doyle cashed in on confusion in the Church defence to beat the keeper to slot home, sparking mass celebrations.
It was no more than Emley and Doyle deserved but neither side were happy to settle for a point and it was anyone’s game as Eyles twice went close to snatching the three points for the Pewits.
He fired a shot inches wide before Man of the Match Bennett played him through and Eyles was desperately unlucky to see his shot come back off the post.
Emley are next in action on Tuesday evening when they make the trip to AFC Mansfield in the NCEL Premier Division.