It is nearly halfway through the Northern Counties East League Premier Division season and both our teams Emley AFC and Golcar United are at opposite ends of the table right now. Huddersfield Hub sports editor STEVEN DOWNES spoke to both club chairmen to get their thoughts on the season so far.
Emley AFC’s Andrew Painten is extremely happy with his team’s form so far, believing the building blocks for a successful season were firmly established in the last campaign.
The Pewits currently sit second in the table on 35 points after 16 games. They have gone 15 games unbeaten in the league, only losing on the opening day to top club North Ferriby.
On their season so far Painten said: “If we are near the top of the table come the New Year then we will be wanting to push on for promotion.
“Obviously we’ve had this great run – 21 unbeaten in all competitions – and we will probably lose at some stage this season. However, in my opinion, it is how we bounce back from that and that is what will, no doubt, define our season. We have built on from the decent form we had at the end of last season.
“Are we making progress on and off the field? Absolutely! What is great is that there is a real feel good factor around the club. If you looked at last season compared to this, we have basically doubled our points tally which is brilliant for this stage so far.
“That is testament to the hard work Richard Tracey and the coaching team have put in. It also helps when you have a striker like Joe Jagger in such good form. Our attacking play is really good and all four strikers have added something different.”
Looking ahead Painten believes that while the Pewits have built a slight gap between themselves and the chasing pack this can be easily closed within a few weeks. That is why Emley need to keep their foot on the gas.
Painten added: “The top team gets automatic promotion. If you finish second you either get automatically promoted too or have to go into a play-off match.
“We obviously would love to get automatically promoted. However, if you look at the table, whilst we have a small gap in second place at the moment that can easily be made up and I would say anyone from the top eight at the moment could get those top two spots. We need to keep focused as a team and a club and hopefully we can celebrate come the end of the season.”
Emley’s next two fixtures are against two teams that are currently in that top eight group. The Pewits play Barton Town away on Saturday (November 19) before taking on current league leaders North Ferriby at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Saturday November 26. Both fixtures kick off at 3pm.
While Emley are fighting for promotion Golcar United are looking to stay in the division. Weavers’ chairman Peter Gledhill insists his side have been unlucky in matches but have also been punished for too many individual errors. However, he is confident that the club can move forward, stay up and press on. The Weavers have collected 16 points from 18 fixtures and are currently seven points above the drop zone.
On their season so far Gledhill said: “I believe we have been a bit unlucky so far. We have been very close in the majority of games and our goal difference can tell you that compared to the others around us in the division. If some of those tight scorelines had gone the other way we would have been higher in the table.
“In games we have hit the woodwork a number of times and these moments can count in matches. If some of those shots had gone in results would have been different.
“We also have to accept we have made individual errors which haven’t helped us. They have hurt us in games, couple that with the fact we haven’t scored and that has left us where we are.
“We saw last year how Emley started badly but then picked up and there is no reason we can’t do the same. At the beginning of the season we hoped to be pushing at the other end of the table, however I think if we finish around midtable now that will mean a decent first year in this league.”
Golcar’s form has been up and down and it’s been a learning process after promotion.
On what the club has learned so far Gledhill said: “The thing which has surprised us a little is how physical the division is. I don’t think we expected that and it’s something we are having to get used to game by game.
“We are learning and always looking to improve and the plan this season is to stay up and then move forward from there.”