By Martin Eastwood
Local rivals Emley AFC and Penistone Church served up a Bank Holiday feast for 746 people to enjoy in a thrilling 4-4 draw that had everything.
The Pewits came back from 4-0 down to grab a point with striker Joe Jagger’s double taking him to 28 goals for the season.
This was just another classic game between these two rivals and takes the goal tally to 15 in the two fixtures between them this season, eight of those have been scored by Emley in the second half of the games.
The result meant Emley slip to 5th in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division but they do have two games in hand.
Penistone got the party started early as they upped the tempo and completely blew the Pewits away for a 20-minute spell. Goals from ex-Emley boys Jordan Coduri and Wayne Hughes were followed by a third from Leon Hurles-Brook to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes.
Before half-time the game was punctuated by a huge scrap which ended up with the referee flashing a few red cards. Emley weren’t happy with a number of heavy and late challenges during the first half but it all became too much before the break when another ugly looking tackle by Penistone Church captain Daniel Howes was committed right in front of the dugouts and it all kicked off, a melee involving most of the players, staff and subs.
Howes was shown a straight red and, after much deliberation, both Emley manager Richard Tracey and Church’s Brett Lovell were sent packing from the benches. The fact there were only three reds shown was a surprise to many.
The challenge now was on for Emley, playing against 10 men for 45 minutes to get back into the game.
Both sides came out after the break where they left the first half with Penistone straight into attack mode. Church’s Thomas Charlesworth blasted the home side into a 4-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
Then came the ultimate and breathtaking fightback by the Pewits starting in the 68th minute. Good work in midfield saw the ball make its way to Irywah Gooden who fired past Harry Ambler in the visitors’ net to put Emley on the scoreboard.
Within eight minutes of Gooden’s opener, another attack was abruptly halted with a crude challenge on James Walshaw in the area. Jagger stepped up and blasted home his 27th goal of the season from the penalty spot as Emley now looked to mount a serious comeback.
Emley launched another attack in the 82nd minute, switching from left to right, the ball was sent into the area, where Walshaw was on hand to fire home to raise the noise and expectancy levels around the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground.
Emley fans now sensed that the comeback was well and truly on and roared their team on to find another goal. They didn’t have long to wait.
Within two minutes the roof had almost come off the Shed when a deep cross to the back post found Jagger lurking and the striker’s header crept past the keeper to send the Emley fans into raptures.
As the game ran into four minutes of added time there was still time for Emley to win it, though they had a penalty shout turned down.
The game ended 4-4 in goals, 1-2 in red cards and it was definitely a point gained for Emley after being 4-0 down.
For Emley, hopefully the confidence gained from the last 20 minutes will carry on into the next game away at Eccleshill on Bank Holiday Monday (3.00).
Gallery of images taken by MARK PARSONS