Emley AFC striker Joe Jagger proved himself a penalty king with five successful spotkicks in three successive matches earlier this season and has scored seven penalties in total so far this campaign.
His new partnership with Iyrwah Gooden has borne fruit as the pacy frontman has caused havoc for opposition defences.
While Gooden has been winning penalties, Jagger has been banging them home as Thackley, Maltby Main and Goole Town found to their cost.
Jagger, 31, has ice in his veins from the spot and said: “I’ve never been scared of taking penalties. I have a really solid shot on me so when I hit the ball like I can I’m always confident of it going in.”
Bolstered by the penalties, Emley’s 16 goal top scorer wants to keep his scoring run going and end the season as the league’s top scorer.
“It’s great to be scoring goals and I feel with what we have got on the frontline we are in brilliant shape,” he said. “Iyrwah has come in and done well so far.
“I think Richard (Tracey, Emley manager) wanted to bring someone in with pace and Iyrwah has that. He’s been making great runs in behind and has won the majority of the penalties for me so far. We joke in training saying if he keeps getting them, I’ll keep sticking them in!
“Iyrwah is creating a lot of threats up front. We are different players. I’m good in the air but have never been blessed with pace, whereas Iyrwah has got pace in abundance. For that reason we work well together and hopefully that carries on.”
The Pewits have made a flying start to the season and confidence is high. “The morale in the dressing room is something you can’t buy,” said Jagger.
“It’d be nice to be the league top scorer. It would also be great if we could win the league. That’s what I want for the team and if me scoring goals helps us do that then great.”
Jagger’s love for football comes from his dad Peter and grandmother Shirley. Jagger has followed in his father’s footsteps in being a loyal Barnsley fan.
“Ever since I was six being a footballer is all I wanted to do,” he said. “My dad was a goalkeeper and his career ended with injury. When I started showing an interest in football my dad was delighted. He comes to watch me often and I know when I become a dad that’s the sort of relationship I want with my child.
“I am a Barnsley fan, my grandmother was born there and she played football. My grandmother used to work at the pits and when she wasn’t there she’d be playing football. Me and dad used to go to Barnsley games and I do remember us beating Huddersfield 7-1!”
Jagger suffered a broken leg at the age of 14. His love for the game disappeared for a few years before returning. He went on to play for Brighouse Town.
Jagger added: “When I was 14 I broke my leg in three places. I fell out of love with football for three years before joining Brighouse. When I broke my right leg I was a defender, but now I’m a striker.
“I actually broke it playing rugby, I only played because they asked me to, knowing I was decent at kicking. I played about five minutes of the game when someone tackled me and that was that.
“When I was 17 I was at Brighouse Town and we got promoted out of this division. I have had a few stints at Brighouse where I feel I learned a lot and now I am starting to put that learning into practice.
“I had played against Emley a few times down the years and knew it was a good club. However when I first got here I knew I wanted to stay, everyone was so friendly and a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to make the club what it is.
“I think that’s one of the best things about it, the amount of good people involved. As a player I really do appreciate their hard work.
“I love speaking to the volunteers. You see on a daily basis what they do for Emley and they should be proud of how much they do.
“I joined the club in November last year. I was at Silsden before that. I was playing week in week out but things in the end didn’t work out there.
“From the minute I walked into Emley, management, staff, players and fans have welcomed me. I feel like I am wanted here which is a great feeling to have, I feel a part of something good.
“This season we have started really well. That obviously has put pressure on us but we want to be challenging at the top of the table and if we can get that first or second spot it would be tremendous.”
Inevitably, a goalscorer of Jagger’s talents has been noticed by other clubs this campaign but he’s happy at Emley and enjoying his football.
Jagger said: “Richard has come to me and said this and that team are after me. The fact he has told me is nice but I have said on every occasion all I want to do is stay here.
“I love it at Emley, it is a great club and I have no intention of leaving. I want this club to push on. It deserves some success, just for the people behind the scenes if nothing else.”