Ruben Jerome scored a hat-trick as Emley AFC were back to their ruthless best winning 7-1 at Handsworth on Saturday.

Emley’s 19-match unbeaten run ended with a 1-0 home defeat against Penistone Church but they buried the Boxing Day blip with a thumping victory four days later.

Jerome took his tally for the season to 22 and James Walshaw also scored his 22nd of the campaign. Emley’s other goals came from Iyrwah Gooden, Alex Metcalfe and an own goal.

There was to be no repeat of the Boxing Day frustrations as the Pewits went ahead after just five minutes. Gooden showed quick feet and his customary turn of pace to force his way to the byline. His cross was inch perfect for Jerome to head home from close range.

Emley doubled the lead soon after when Gooden went down in the box and Jerome despatched the penalty.

It was game over on 35 minutes when Gooden tried his luck from the edge of the area and his deflected effort made it 3-0.

Emley struck a fourth early in the second half when Gooden got his reward for another hard-working performance. Metcalfe was the man put through by a defence splitting pass from midfield colleague Tom Haigh. As keeper Dylan Parkin rushed out, Metcalfe unselfishly squared the ball to Gooden who was able to stroke into an open goal.

It was still all Emley and the story swung back to Jerome’s hat-trick hunt but again he was thwarted by Parkin who saved the shot before punching away his own deflection.

The inevitable fifth goal came – but in unexpected circumstances. Metcalfe was over the ball for a free-kick on the left corner of the box. Everyone expected a cross but he found the top corner without it taking another touch.

That was Metcalfe’s final contribution as Joe Kenny came on at the same time as Sam Pashley was replaced by Donae Lawrence at right-back.

Things went from bad to worse for Handsworth and the keeper was again on his backside with the ball in the net behind him.

Ross Hardaker swung over a delightful through-ball from the left side of the halfway line. Jerome only needed to take a touch to guide the ball into the perfect position to complete his hat-trick and slot home. 

It could have been four for Jerome minutes later but his attempted lob didn’t quite connect and the ball drifted harmlessly wide. 

That was the last action of the game for Jerome – as well as Gooden and Man of the Match Haigh – as manager Richard Tracey emptied his bench, bringing on Walshaw, Jimmy Eyles and Nathan Curtis.

Handsworth grabbed a consolation and made it 6-1 when Lawrence conceded a penalty and Alfie Dodsworth converted from the spot. 

Walshaw made it 7-1 five minutes from time with a cute header from a Clegg free-kick sending the Pewits into the New Year dreaming of promotion.

Emley remain second, two points adrift of leaders Campion with three games in hand.

They are back in league action on Saturday January 6 at Knaresborough (3.00).