By Martin Eastwood
Joe Jagger scored his 29th goal of the season with a penalty equaliser as Emley AFC were held to a 1-1 draw in a frustrating clash with relegation-threatened Albion Sports.
The Pewits stay third in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division on the back of a six-match unbeaten run.
But Emley fans in the 410 crowd at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground were left frustrated by the time-wasting tactics of the opposition who were desperate to cling onto a point to aid their fight against the drop.
Emley were the better side throughout the game but the Lions were fighting for their lives. They took a shock lead on the half hour from their first foray into Emley territory, as Eisa Faulding scored via a deflection off keeper Dec Lambton.
It remained 1-0 to the visitors at the break and the second half will probably be best (or worst) remembered for the wrong reasons as the game degenerated into something of a farce.
Within five minutes of the restart James Walshaw went down in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. After noisy protests from the Lions, Jagger stepped up and fired high into the top corner.
Joe Jagger kept his cool from the penalty spot
Emley started to turn the screw but the wounded Lions wanted to hold onto what they’d got, and deployed spoiling tactics at every opportunity.
The Albion players and officials contested every decision that went against them and wasted as much time as they could. The referee brandished yellow cards but it was little deterrent and Emley’s players got dragged into the niggly, petty stuff instead of concentrating on their own game.
Sam Pashley was booked for a late and crude challenge on a Sports player and, of course, it saw yellow shirts racing in from everywhere to tell the referee how to issue the yellow card. There was another two minutes’ hold up while they discussed geophysics with the beleaguered man in black!
Sadly, the game petered out – with eight minutes of stoppage time – and a draw was the result but the blatant spoiling of the visitors and the referee’s willingness to let them do it left a rather sour taste and negated most of the good stuff.
Emley are back at home on Tuesday (January 10) when they host Knaresborough and a win could lift them back into second in the table.