Emley AFC moved up to 12th place in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division table after a 3-1 win away at Athersley Rec. The Pewits came from 1-0 down to score three late second half goals to take the victory.
Assistant manager Steve Nicholson was delighted with the win but said the players only raised their game after a half-time “roasting.”
On the victory, he said: “I thought they really dug in with a young side and made it hard for us. I don’t think we were at our best. Athersley did exactly the same when they came up to our place. They tried to win every ball, they threw their bodies in front of every shot, they did that at our place and I thought they did that here too.
“Our lads got a bit of a roasting at half-time, I didn’t think our standards were high enough. Our commitment was questioned at half-time by the manager and myself. I thought the boys raised the levels in the second half and did what we asked. I thought once we got ourselves in front I never thought we’d lose it.”
The fixture saw Kane Swinburn and Donae Lawrence notch their first ever goals in Emley colours to help the Pewits win.
Bottom placed Athersley had lost 8-0 on Saturday and had conceded 26 goals in their previous six games but they defended stoutly for most parts and frustrated Emley who struggled to repeat Saturday’s performance at Knaresborough.
Emley started well and were fairly dominant for the first 15-20 minutes but had nothing to show for their efforts,
The first goal came just before the break as the home side stunned the Pewits with the opening goal. There appeared little danger as Emley looked to see out an attack, but a defensive lapse ended with a ball played into the danger area and a shot from Nico Georgiou-Nicola crept past Emley keeper Michael Acquah to give the hosts an unlikely lead going into the break.
Emley were out early for the start of the second half looking to hit Athersley from the outset, but again, dogged defending limited Emley to the odd wayward shot and mis-hit cross.
It wasn’t until the 75th minute until Emley hit back with their first goal of the evening, a long throw from the right was flicked on into the middle of the box and Kane Swinburn found himself unmarked and he hit a superb volley into the roof of the net.
Swinburn’s first Emley goal was then followed up a few minutes later when Donae Lawrence also bagged his first goal as a Pewit, but a lot of credit for the goal has to go to Alex Metcalfe, a left wing cross from Smith appeared to have drifted out for a goal kick, the home defence stopped, thinking the keeper would collect for the goal kick but Metcalfe was alert and knocked it back into the middle where Lawrence had the simple task of tapping home Emley’s second and possibly match winning goal.
There was palpable relief among the Emley contingent as they appeared to have finally broke Athersley’s resistance, that relief then turned to joy just two minutes later as Emley finally did wrap the points up.
After Athersley failed to clear their lines, Lawrence was in the thick of things once again as he returned the favour for Metcalfe, his dinked ball back in to the area found the head of Metcalfe who steered it nicely past the keeper and finally put Athersley to bed to cheers of delight from the good travelling support.
Next up for Emley is a fixture at home to Hemsworth Miners Welfare. On Saturday’s game against Hemsworth, Nicholson said: “It’s going to be a tough game they have some good players and a number returning from injury.
“It’s a bit of a derby game as a lot of the players know eachother so we know it’s going to be a tough fixture for us. We know we’ll have to be on our metal if we want to get a result out of that one.”