Sun goes down on 2018 for Emley
By Martin Eastwood
10 men are beaten, to end the year miserably
AFC Emley's miserable run of form continued with a 4-1 home defeat to third from bottom Ollerton Town, and they also had a man red carded for the 2nd game in a row after Andrew Horbury
With Adam Ledger's suspension from his red card at Parkgate kicking in, Jake Bird
was given the gloves and it will be a day he will want to forget!
Playing with a strong, swirling wind at their backs,Ollerton were 3 goals up inside 16 minutes and the game was effectively over as a contest, although to be fair to Emley, they gradually found a way back into the game and could have pulled a goal or 2 back before half time.
Bird was called into action as early as the 2nd minute, a quick Ollerton attack saw the Emley keeper save the resulting shot, but Ollerton continued to push Emley back down towards the Warburton end and they finally broke the deadlock on 12 minutes,ironically from a swift counter following a rare Emley foray, the ball was moved quickly to King,who controlled and fired a shot that beat Bird from inside the area, Worse was to come for Bird and Emley, as just a minute or so later, another well worked move saw King beat Bird again with a low shot to the keepers right again.
As a game that had quickly gone the visitors way, it was vital that the Pewits got a foothold on the game, however, after a free kick was awarded just outside the box, King stepped up and fired into the top for his hat-trick in just 4 minutes and most of the 162 in attendance were stunned!
To be fair to Emley and Bird, it was a cracking strike that not many keepers would have saved, but Emley now had a massive battle on their hands, 3-0 down and playing into the teeth of the wind, however, at times, they didn't help themselves with some sloppy play, terrible passing, poor control, and general lethargy that saw Ollerton totally dominate the first 20 minutes, they were first to every ball, won every tackle and header and man for man were better in every department.
Emley, to their credit, did finally start to make inroads, their first real attack came 20 minutes in, good work by Shane Hamilton
, with his back to goal, laid a neat ball off to George Whittaker
, whose shot was saved by the Ollerton keeper,
then tried a spectacular overheard kick from inside the 18 yard box but it went over.
Ollerton still posed a threat though and a corner was headed just wide after a good spell of pressure, Emley then had their best spell of the half leading up to half time, Whittaker had another shot saved by Leverton in the visitors' nets.
Emley were awarded a free kick just outside the area, but Danny Stocker
's free kick sailed over in what proved to be the last real action of the first half.
With the wind now at Emley's backs they knew they had a small chance of getting back into the game, and it appeared their intentions were to get back in it early on, a great through ball saw Ben Mills
clean through but Leverton came to Ollerton's rescue, snatching the ball from the youngsters' feet before he could round him.
The game became a bit of a battle in midfield, with the conditions and Ollerton's 3 goal cushion, it was proving hard for the home side to build any momentum, but Shane Hamilton
showed some neat skill and endeavour to burst through,although his cross from the right went too far and evaded Emley players, Tunnacliffe did finally retrieve it ,but again,couldn't pick out a team mate in Claret and Blue.
Ollerton didn't pose as much of a threat playing into the wind but still found some attacking opportunities, one, a well drilled free kick was well saved down low by Bird.
Then the next 10 minutes were all about Andrew Horbury
!, the Emley striker found the back of the net just after the hour, but turned to see an offside flag raised, he then saw a header go just wide, before a few moments of madness,first, a yellow card for a challenge on the Ollerton defender, then just a couple minutes later he was shown another yellow for a deliberate handball and was then swiftly given a red for his troubles, frustration appearing to have got the best of him.
Emley were now well and truly up against it, but substitutes Alex Thomas
, Josh Ingham
and Brandon Silverwood
, gave them a boost, with Thomas looking particularly lively and troublesome, it was he who had Emley's next good chance creating some space with some good work before firing a shot wide of the target, Ingham was next to have a crack, a great lay off from Wayne Hughes
, who had now been deployed as a centre forward, and Ingham's shot flew over.
But the moving of Hughes to centre forward seemed to work, he was starting to cause the Ollerton defence problems, winning headers, tackles and being a general nuisance up there,and it was Hughes who finally got Emley on the scoresheet with 5 minutes remaining, and again, it was a beauty, he seems to specialise in these lately!, a long ball was cleared by Ollerton keeper Leverton, who only cleared it as far as Hughes, who was just over the half way line and he met it perfectly to guide it and watched it sail through the wind which gave the keeper no chance.
Emley were back in it and now looking threatening, for the first time in the game, there was an energy and a purpose about them and they went in search of another, but Ollerton stood firm and held them out, Emley were still pushing for a 2nd when they were finally put out of their misery, with a goal that just about summed up the afternoon, a pass back by Michael Starkey
to Bird looked completely harmless, but as Bird went to clear the ball downfield, Ollerton substitute Hewitt closed him down, well enough for Bird to smash his clearance straight at Hewitt and into the back of the net.
Ollerton celebrated, Emley were deflated, it was an afternoon where nothing seemed to go right for the Pewits and continued their miserable run of form, only 5 points picked up since the start of November and with promotion chasing Hallam up next it could be a hard few days for Joe Howson's men.
Here's hoping 2019 gets off to a good start!
AFC Emley- Bird, Stocker, Starkey, Tunnacliffe, Porter, Hughes, Hamilton, Whittaker, Horbury, Mills, Kemp; Subs used- Thomas, Ingham, Silverwood; Unused- Howe, Cranswick.