By Martin Eastwood
Emley’s Wembley dream is over after they exited the Buildbase FA Vase trophy with a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle Benfield. The Pewits had two men sent off in what was a fiery encounter.
Emley controlled the game in the first 15 minutes before the home side started to get on top. Pewits keeper Sam Kelly made a brave one-on-one save halfway through a frustrating first half for the visitors.
As the first half closed a number of Emley’s players were booked and the referee twice had words with the visiting bench.
Emley could have taken the lead just before the break but Callum Charlton’s shot just flashed past the post. It was goalless at the interval but things would go from frustrating to infuriating for Emley in the second half.
After numerous early second half incidents including what looked like Emley player Joe Kerry taking an elbow to the temple, the Pewits’ bench seemingly went too far in their protests and James Knowles was shown a red card and dispatched to the stand.
Both sides continued to toil on the heavy pitch and Emley continued to get frustrated. James Ngoe was shown a yellow card for a challenge and Callum Charlton was given a stern talking to. There was also another lecture to the Emley bench for questioning some of the referee’s decisions.
The game turned against Emley in the last 10 minutes. Newcastle were in attack and got a shot away just inside the Emley penalty area. Jamie Price appeared to have turned his back on the shot to deflect it away, but after appeals for handball, the referee had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick.
Emley were unhappy and players, officials and supporters made their feelings known to the officials, but the 44-year-old ex-Newcastle Utd, Reading and Cardiff City man Paul Brayson stepped up and confidently planted the ball past Kelly for the lead.
With five minutes to go Newcastle scored a second. A stretched Emley defence couldn’t halt the raid down the right and a fine finish by Mark Turnbull gave Kelly no chance, lifting the ball high into the top corner to seal the victory for the Lions.
After the final whistle, Emley made their feelings known to the officials and Callum Charlton was dismissed as manager Richard Tracey was involved in long discussions with the referee.
Next up for Emley is a trip to Rotherham in midweek for a Sheffield & Hallamshire senior cup quarter final clash with Parkgate.