By Martin Eastwood
In-form Emley moved to within a point of Northern Counties East League Premier Division leaders Barton Town after a 4-1 win over Thackley at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. Top scorer Joe Jagger grabbed a hat-trick taking him to 12 goals for the season.
It’s now eight games unbeaten for Emley and Jagger is the league’s top scorer. Five of his 12 goals so far have been penalties – all scored in the last three matches.
Emley broke the deadlock on the half-hour when Bailey Tye-Baker was brought down in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Jagger stepped up to slot home the penalty.
The scoreline was all square at the break when Frankie Sinfield fired home despite Declan Lambton getting a hand to it. However, within a minute and a half of the second half restarting, Emley were back in front with a cracking goal.
Good build up play led to Iyrwah Gooden causing mayhem down Emley’s left. After leaving a couple of defenders behind he floated a perfect cross on to the end of Jagger’s boot and the striker lashed home in front of the delighted Emley fans in the Shed End to make it 2-1.
Thackley were getting pulled from pillar to post and Gooden and Joe Clegg both went close. It was now just a matter of when Emley would seal the game, not if. The third duly came, and what a lovely goal it was.
In the 76th minute Jake Kelly’s run down the left saw his shot deflected, but rather than give it up, Scott Smith harried the defender and kept the ball in play.
He then played a precise low ball into the area where Kelly was still there to steer it into the corner for his first ever Emley goal.
Jagger’s hat-trick goal – and his fifth successful penalty in three matches – came two minutes from time when Gooden was sent tumbling.
Jagger converted the spotkick for his second hat-trick of the season in a hot run of goalscoring form which has seen him only fail to make the scoresheet once in the last eight matches.
The win saw Emley climb above Eccleshill, North Ferriby and Winterton, and only Barton Town’s win at Hallam prevented Richard Tracey’s men from going top.
All eyes are now focused on Saturday and a trip to the Wirral to face Vauxhall Motors of the NWCL in the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Vase.