AFC Emley 1-2 Hallam
By Ian Mason
Countrymen take the spoils, but Emley made them work for the points.
AFC Emley remain 12th in the Northern Counties East League Division 1 after a narrow 1-2 defeat at home to Hallam, although, as has been the tale with Emley recently, they probably deserved something out of the game.
It was Hallam's 3rd win over Emley this season, and as with the 2 previous games there was very little between the sides, who played out a goalless second half in deteriorating weather.
Hallam were the quickest out of the blocks and after just a couple of minutes, they were on the attack,the final shot was over the bar, but they were to break the deadlock just moments later, a neat through ball was tucked home by Watson, Emley were punished for not clearing their lines.
But the Pewits were up for the fight, and started to make inroads into the Hallam defence, a beautiful left wing cross from Michael Starkey was met by Daniel Naidole, but his header crept just wide of the left upright.
Emley continued to press, and along with the strong gusts blowing around were causing problems for the countrymen, a free kick from the left was played in to Ben Burnett who was sent crashing to the ground in the area, penalty to Emley, as Hallam protested, not for the first or last time in the game.
Skipper Wayne Hughes, placed the ball and took aim, his shot was well saved by the Hallam keeper Darwent, but Hughes smashed home the rebound to draw Emley level.
Hallam hit back, a good cross was put over the bar at the back post and another shot was comfortable gathered by George Clarke, Josh Ingham tried a cheeky number from a quick free kick from just outside the box but his shot was taken by the keeper, Ben Burnett was also frustrated when a good turn and shot went inches wide.
George Clarke then pulled of a stunning, close range save, a point blank strike appeared to be heading into the top corner, but Clarke managed to not only get to it, but to push it from danger, a great save which brought applause from all of the 199 in attendance.
However, all that was undone right on half time, a long ball downfield from Hallam wasn't dealt with the by the defence and Bishop fired a left foot shot into the right hand corner to give the visitors a half time lead which they would hold onto.
The second half got underway with swirling wind and rain blowing about and it was no surprise to see the game suffer as a result, Emley had to come forward in search of an equaliser and Hallam were looking to catch them on the break and seal the game.
It was Emley who fired the first shots of the half, Daniel Naidole tried his luck after the ball was blown all over the place, but Darwent was equal to it and pushed his neat shot away for a corner which came to nothing.
The game was at a stalemate and the players were getting tetchy, bookings were dished out for some fairly heavy challenges and dissent, of which there was plenty, but sadly, not a lot of action, Hallam had a couple of tame shots easily dealt with by Clarke, whilst Emley rang the changes and brought on tricky winger Arnold Ndiweni, who found himself with time and space on the left, but his cross evaded everyone and ran out harmlessly.
Emley, suddenly found themselves on the front foot and looked to capitalise , as Hallam defended stoutly, one particular industrial clearance scattered the contents of the condiments table!
But as time ticked by, Hallam looked to finish the stronger, they cheered a 3rd goal late on, but the offside flag was up, to more howls of protest from the Sheffielders.
Emley tried hard to get an equaliser but it wasn't to be, despite playing well again and creating chances, defensive frailties and lack of finishing let them down, but they would have deserved at least a point.
AFC Emley:- Clarke, Borek, Starkey, Ingham, Hamilton, Hughes, Grant, Porter, Naidole, Bottomley, Burnett; Subs used- Hart, Ndiweni, Steele; Unused- Pyke, Sykes
Hepworth Group Man of the Match- George Clarke