By Martin Eastwood
A late double from Ruben Jerome ensured Emley AFC head into the weekend top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division following a dramatic 3-2 victory at Frickley.
In a game which had almost everything, including a red card for Emley’s James Walshaw, the Pewits came from behind only to be pegged back late on before finding a dramatic injury-time winner. All five goals came in the second half.
In the first 45 minutes Alex Metcalfe and Joe Clegg had efforts saved, Joe Cowgill lashed over and Iyrwah Gooden curled a shot just wide.
Emley came out firing for the second half but didn’t have it all their own way and Frickley broke the deadlock just past the hour mark when Al Keita headed home a corner.
That goal gave the home side something to hold onto and Emley made changes as Walshaw replaced the strong running Nathan Curtis, and Clegg was replaced by Tom Haigh.
Walshaw’s game wouldn’t last very long, though, as within five minutes, the linesman agreed with the Frickley protests that Walshaw had raised an arm, and he was shown a straight red.
Somehow, Emley found a second wind and completely turned the game on its head within the space of five minutes.
They took the game straight to Frickley and the hosts had no answer. On 75 minutes, another free-kick from Emley was whipped in from the right and Charlie Barks met it with a firm header to make it 1-1.
Emley were straight back on the attack and Frickley were in disarray, fouling, spoiling and trying everything to hold back the yellow tide.
Just four minutes later, Gooden took advantage of a defensive lapse to make his way into the area before squaring to an unmarked Jerome who tapped in to put Emley in front.
The twists wouldn’t end there, though, and with the clock running down Frickley capitalised on an error and Lewis Binns swept home to level the score at 2-2.
With the game pushing towards the 8th minute of stoppage time Sam Pashley launched a throw-in from deep inside the Frickley half and it was perfectly flighted for Jerome to bury a header and snatch the three points that put Emley top.