By Martin Eastwood
James Walshaw scored a double hat-trick as Emley AFC turned in a blistering performance to destroy Bottesford Town 9-2 and deliver an early Christmas present for their supporters.
It was a club record 14th straight win for the Pewits as Walshaw’s amazing six-goal haul took him above Ruben Jerome and Iyrwah Gooden at the top of Emley’s goalscoring charts.
The win broke a club record that had stood since 1979-80 and was also Emley’s 8th straight league win, their 19th game undefeated in all competitions.
And the 9th goal was Emley’s 100th of the season so far as they moved to within one point of leaders Campion with three games in hand.
Emley were on fire right from the start at a rainy Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. Some of the 349 crowd were still coming through the gates when Emley opened the scoring.
From the first whistle, Emley, attacking the Warburton end, earned a corner when Paul Walker’s shot was palmed away. From the resulting corner from the right, Ross Hardaker curled the ball straight into the net, barely two minutes gone and Emley were on their way.
The Pewits were back on the attack almost straight away. Successive corners were cleared by the visitors but then another dangerous ball wasn’t cleared and, after the bar was struck by an Emley header, it fell nicely to Sam Pashley to find the back of the net. That was two goals in the first six minutes and both full-backs on the scoresheet.
Fair play to Bottesford for trying to make a game of it, though, and they did cause a few problems themselves.
In what was probably their first meaningful attack, Tom Haigh was on hand to clear the danger as they got a shot on goal. Five minutes later and they found themselves with another decent chance but the effort was wide.
And Emley made them pay for their wastefulness. Within a minute the play was back down at the Warburton end. A lovely ball was played into the feet of Walshawwho superbly spun and shot to leave the keeper well beaten. Walshaw would later hit a mesmerising purple patch.
It was 3-0 after barely half an hour and it felt like the game was already up for The Poachers, who were turning into the poached in a torrid afternoon for them. Another chance for Walshaw and a shot by Gooden were saved and a Metcalfe free kick was deflected over the bar by one of his own.
But it would soon be four for Emley not long before half-time. After Joe Kenny unleashed a fizzing shot, was which was well saved by the visiting keeper, he could do little to stop Walshawburying a header past him from the resulting corner.
Walshaw had another couple of half chances which failed to trouble the keeper before Bottesford had the last say of the half by reducing the deficit when a rare error at the back allowed Reece Moody to slot home past Dec Lambton.
Like the first half, Emley were straight into it after the break. Walker flashed a shot wide within two minutes of the restart but there would be another goal a minute later as a great ball through saw Walshaw slot past the keeper for his hat-trick to make it 5-1.
Again, credit to Bottesford who didn’t go into hiding and managed to grab another goal back. Lambton pulled off a great save after the initial shot, then, after a corner wasn’t cleared, the ball was eventually smashed home by Danny Walker.
But Emley were in no mood to let them back into the game. Metcalfe again tried his luck but his shot was saved. At the other end, Bottesford had a shot go wide and a couple of corners that didn’t cause Emley any problems. Changes were made, Walker and Gooden replaced by Curtis and Eyles.
The hapless keeper was then beaten for a sixth time a few moments later and a cracking goal it was too. The ball in from the left found skipper Alex Metcalfe who emphatically smashed into the corner with the outside of his left boot.
The final quarter was all Emley who didn’t let The Poachers off the hook. Jack Cowgill had a header saved and Walshaw’s turn and shot was blasted over from close range. Tom Haigh was replaced by Joe Clegg and Kelly came on for Pashley.
Then it became the Wally show for the last 10 minutes as the striker hit three goals in four stupendous minutes for Emley.
First, he powered his way past a defender before smashing low into the net, then after Eyles’ shot was saved, Walshaw finished off the rebound. A minute later he completed his double treble with a composed penalty after Clegg was sent tumbling.
Three goals in four minutes to complete the rout and for Walshaw to net his 21st goal of the season and seal another three points, although there was still a couple of chances for Emley to add more. Cowgill flashed a header an inch wide of the far post and then Curtis blasted over after being set up by Man of the Match Walshaw.
Emley’s next game is against local rivals Penistone Church at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Boxing Day (1.00).
Images by: MARK PARSONS