By Martin Eastwood and Tom Bowen

Emley’s magnificent FA Cup run ended with a standing ovation from their fans after a narrow 1-0 defeat at Alfreton Town.

The Pewits were the lowest ranked team left in this year’s competition and gave their National League North opponents – a side 74 places above them in the league pyramid – a real scare.

Emley had already beaten two sides above them in previous rounds and they were close to earning another replay but it wasn’t to be as James Walshaw’s 89th minute penalty was saved.

The game was played in driving and swirling rain and the conditions proved a leveller in a goalless first half.

Ten minutes into the second half Billy Fewster grabbed what proved to be the only goal with a solo effort which saw him fire past Emley keeper Dec Lambton.

Alfreton had chance to seal the game in the 71st minute when they were awarded a penalty. Jake Day stepped up and Lambton dived low to his right to make a great save and keep Emley’s hopes alive.

Walshaw came off the bench to replace Tom Haigh as Emley looked to get an equaliser with time ticking down. Emley refused to accept defeat and continued to battle and look for an opportunity.

The chance to level did come with the award of another penalty. The experienced Walshaw took responsibility but Alfreton keeper George Willis produced a brilliant stop to break Emley hearts.

At the final whistle home supporters joined away fans in applauding off the Emley players who had given everything.

Emley boss Richard Tracey. Image by: SEAN DOYLE

After the game Emley boss Richard Tracey said he was “really proud of the lads.”

He added: “We knew it was going to be tough. Alfreton were quite direct. We knew we had to compete with that and I thought we did that really, really well and restricted the number of chances we let fall their way.”

Tracey said both teams handled the conditions well and added: “I didn’t think it affected the game.”

After a run of matches in the FA Cup and FA Vase, it’s quickly back to NCEL action on Tuesday (October 3) with an away game at Rossington Main.

Tracey said: “It’ll be a tough game away from home, another big pitch, and they’ve got some good forwards. We want to go there and get three points on the board and get moving up the league again.”