By Martin Eastwood

A brace from James Walshaw helped Emley AFC retain top spot in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division with a 4-1 win over Frickley Athletic at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground.

Ruben Jerome and Paul Walker were also on the scoresheet as the Pewits remain above Campion on goal difference with three games in hand.

The game started in dramatic fashion for the visitors as keeper Callum Bradbury came charging out of his box and had to use his hands to stop a certain Jerome goal. Bradbury was sent off and replaced in goal by Frickley skipper Richard Collier.

Despite having 10 men Frickley made Emley work for the victory. Collier kept out Walshaw and, when he was beaten, a Joe Clegg rocket came back off the bar.

Sam Pashley and Jerome caused problems but it took until just before the half-time interval for Emley to break the deadlock.

Iyrwah Gooden’s ball in caused a kerfuffle and the league’s top scorer Jerome was on hand to stab home his 28th goal of the season.

Then just a minute later it was 2-0 when Frickley’s defence was cut open. Pashley’s ball in from the right found Gooden who teed up Walker for the finish.

Jerome and Charlie Barks had chances before Emley made it 3-0 in the 54th minute and a lovely goal it was too.

Great play again by Clegg in midfield set the tone, Ross Hardaker took possession on the left, he in turn played into the feet of Walker who shimmied, then set up Walshaw to slam home from six yards.

Frickley hadn’t shown much of an attacking threat but they pulled a goal back on 66 minutes when Rieves Boocock netted.

Jerome was then off target as he curled a shot wide of the far post but just two minutes later, another good goal sealed the points for the Pewits.

Jimmy Eyles beat the offside trap and made his way downfield, finding Nathan Curtis on his inside. Curtis could have possibly taken it on himself but instead he unselfishly played in Walshaw coming up in space on his left and Walshaw fired his 24th goal of the campaign to round off the scoring.

Last season’s top scorer Joe Jagger replaced this season’s top scorer Jerome but Jagger just couldn’t add the icing to the cake.

Emley are back on home soil again on Tuesday (February 6) when Goole AFC are the visitors (7.45).