By Eddie Willis
Donae Lawrence scored the only goal as Emley AFC extended their unbeaten run to nine matches and moved up to second in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
The Pewits are still playing catch-up in the league due to their exploits in the FA Cup and FA Vase but are now just five points behind leaders Campion with three games in hand.
It was a scrappy affair at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground but Emley found a way with a 1-0 victory over second-bottom Pickering Town.
Emley were misfiring up front and the tension of the game began to build as Emley grew more wound up by their inefficiency in attack.
Frustration began to creep in and the Pewits didn’t look their normal selves for swathes of the game. This was only aggravated when a huge shout for a red card against Pickering keeper Toby Wells was waved away.
After a period marred by poor discipline from both sides, Iyrwah Gooden had been played through and was onside.
The keeper rushed outside the box and dived at Gooden’s feet, bringing him down without taking the ball. Screams from all corners of the ground were waved away and not even a foul was given. Manager Richard Tracey ran up to the linesman for support but to no avail.
Iyrwah Gooden goes down under a challenge from the keeper. Image by: MARK PARSONS
The second half was a matter of unlocking the visitors’ defensive barricade for the Pewits, who spent the vast majority of it camped in Pickering’s half.
Lawrence and Ruben Jerome caused problems and Emley kept knocking on the door.
Eventually a string of corners led to the breakthrough. Ross Hardaker swung in a third corner in a row into a crowded six-yard box.
A Pickering defender got his head to it but could only clear as far as Lawrence, who finished into the far-left corner with a swivelling half-volley. The Pewits were ahead with little over 15 minutes to see out.
The final portion of the game was managed well and Emley had a chance to finish it through Gooden, who tore away from his marker down the right before shooting into the side netting.
Pickering launched a high ball forward in the closing moments in a final attempt to nick a point from the game.
Emley keeper Dec Lambton leapt high to claim with confidence, much to the frustration of the previously booked Matty Robinson, who lashed out at Emley’s No1 before a skirmish broke out in the Emley box. The Pickering forward was sent off in the dying moments and Emley had secured three points once more.
Emley will welcome Yorkshire Main to the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Tuesday October 31 (7.45) as they begin their defence of the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Cup.