By Martin Eastwood

A brace from Ruben Jerome helped Emley AFC close in on leaders Campion – and the Pewits only need a draw at Hallam on Tuesday night (January 30) to go top.

Jerome scored his 25th and 26th goals of the season in Saturday’s 3-1 win at third-placed Thackley as Campion lost at Eccleshill. Those results mean Emley are just a point behind Campion with four games in hand.

Saturday’s game, for the most part, was a scrappy, dogged affair that took a while to get going. Despite Iyrwah Gooden forcing Thackley keeper Luke Wilson into a couple of routine stops early on, the first chance didn’t really come until the 15th minute when Alex Metcalfe set up Gooden but his shot was again saved by Wilson.

Emley’s next chance came a minute or so later but Jack Cowgill headed over from a throw in before the hosts had a good chance themselves. A ball into the area caused Emley problems but Dec Lambton was forced to make a crucial save low down.

As the game livened up, so did Emley’s fans as they opened the scoring around the 20th minute mark. Good play in midfield saw the ball shifted out to the left and the ball in was met by top scorer Jerome who slotted his 25th goal of the season.

Thackley then wasted a great chance to equalise, former Pewit Finn Donovan set up Ben Ellison-Tope but faced with an on-rushing Lambton he skied his effort well over.

Right on half-time, Emley had a glorious chance to double their lead. Gooden again was in the clear but the keeper pulled off a great save to deny Emley’s No10 and so Emley took a narrow lead into the break.

Thackley were quickly on the front foot in the second half but Donovan’s shot was deflected for a corner which was dealt with by the Pewits.

However, they failed to deal with a ball over the top 10 minutes later which led to Thackley’s equaliser. Lambton came out to close down but Kieran Suddards was a second quicker, lifting the ball beyond the stranded Emley keeper into the empty net.

But The Dennyboys were only level for seven minutes as Emley finally took control of the game and the league points.

After having several frustrating calls go against them, Emley managed to put a decent attack together which led to a throw on the right. Sam Pashley’s throw in was flicked on by Cowgill to Jerome who, quick as a flash, buried a shot past the keeper into the roof of the net.

Thackley stuck at their task but the game and the points were finally sealed nine minutes from the end.

Great determination from Ross Hardaker kept the ball in and his shot won Emley a corner on their right. From the flag kick Charlie Barks buried a free header into an empty net.

Emley had chance to add a fourth in the last minute as Gooden was sent free into the box but Wilson again thwarted him.

A 17th win of the season puts Emley within striking distance of top spot as Campion have no midweek game.