FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground
AFC Emley (0) 2
Ruben Jerome 74
Ash Flynn 87
Athersley Recreation (1) 1
Kai Hancock 42
Admission £6. Programme £1. Attendance 319
Click HERE for more photographs from this game
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The 'Penquins' went in a goal to the good at the break and would've been sitting comfortably on a two-nil lead, if Gary Stevens hadn't saved Ryan Smith's penalty kick. But after the break they were on the receiving end of a virtually one sided second half, that saw the 'Pewits' swarming (flocking possibly even) all over them.
Knowledge is power kids ;-)
'Tis strange but true, but while I circumnavigate the NCEL regularly, a league in which Mr Flynn netted a staggering 73 goals in last season, I have never actually seen him score previously.
Aaron Joseph was fouled by Dane Hodgeson just outside the visitors penalty area. "That's Flynny territory, watch this" I was (semi) reliably informed, moments before the Emley striker stepped forward and curled an unconvincing free kick well over the bar.
Ryan Smith took the spot kick and followed all three rules of penalty etiquette: low, hard and on target, but Gary Stevens was down in an instant to keep the ball out and recovered quickly to save from Smith again when he got to the rebound first and tried to plant a header past the 'Pewits' keeper, who basked in the limelight by strutting his stuff in front of a nearby, very apt, advertising hoarding and milking a photo opportunity to the max... show off!
Jack Briscoe and Liam Owen were linking up well with Hancock to put the home side's back line under a lot of strain, but they were just about keeping a lively 'Rec' side at bay, albeit with a few spills and thrills along the way.
Back at the other end of the Jordan Coduri exchanged passes with his skipper, Kieran Ryan on the edge of the visitors penalty area, but Neal May saved Ryan's weak shot fairly easily.
The Penquins waddled forward again in the 42nd minute and White threaded a pass through into the path of Hancock whose well struck shot cannoned back off of Stevens, but the 'Rec' striker made no mistake from the rebound.
Right on the stroke of half time Ryan headed wide from Iwan Heeley's corner, meaning that the visitors went in at the break in front, which up to that point of the afternoon was the very least that they deserved.
HT: Pewits 0 v Penquins 1
Emley had come out intent on invading their visitors final third like a squadron of allied airbourne scatter bombers. I lost count of the amount of goal chances and balls into the box that Neal May had to deal with, but he was doing commendably well.
It is a well known fact in goalkeeping circles, that all of the best custodians wear a lived in pair of Puma Kings, set off with a matching £3.99 cap from Sports Direct. Joe Hart take note... During Euro 2016, Gareth Bale spotted your immaculate dandruff free locks and £200 quid multi coloured boots and knew that you were there for the taking.
Nobody would dare to try that kind of crap on with Neal May!
Ryan White (one of my favourite NCEL players) was battling for anything and everything in the middle of Athersley's midfield, but Emley were turning the screw now and applying more and more pressure... and in spite of the tenacity the visitors were showing at the back an Emley goal seemed almost inevitable.
When it did come, boy did it ever; Ruben Jerome picked up the ball on the right hand edge of the 'Rec' area and somehow squeezed his way through a block of determined defenders and unleashed a quite ferocious shot just inside the far post. That strike was something special and i really hope somebody videoed the moment so I can watch it again and again on YouTube.
Take a bow Ruben Jerome!
Ryan broke free and crossed to Flynn, but his shot deflected wide. May dealt with a string of corners and to all intents and purposes it looked like this game was heading for a midweek replay... I began making plans because if part two of this saga was going to be anything like as good as this afternoon's entertainment, then I was already licking my lips in anticipation.
But then with three minutes remaining Jack Briscoe played a through ball in front of Flynn, his first touch almost saw the ball get away from him, but he recovered his composure quickly and buried the ball past May with his second touch, to record the first ever goal I've ever seen him score... and it proved to be a crucial one.
Athersley launched a last ditch salvage mission, but time was running out for them and as Emley defended promising balls into their area from Welford and Adam White, the referee Drew Dutton blew his whistle and it was all over, Emley had completed their second half come back, while the 'Rec' were left to wonder what could have been if they hadn't scored just the one goal prior to half time or made more of an impression on the game after it.
FT: AFC Emley 2 v Athersley Recreation 1
Well played Emley, that was a great comeback and what a goal from Ruben Jerome. And that 'Flynny' isn't always bashful about scoring when I'm around after all.
Commiserations to Athersley Rec' too, it looked like you were going to win this game for so long.
A great afternoon's entertainment in bright and breezy Emley all told.
Good luck to both clubs for the remainder of the new season.