Emley triumphed with a significant 3-1 win over third-placed Thackley in Bradford, securing vital points in the NCEL Premier Division. The battle on the field was evident as both teams fought tooth and nail for victory, producing a gritty performance.

Although not the most aesthetically pleasing game, the determination from Thackley and Emley was palpable. The match unfolded in front of Thackley’s largest crowd of the season, exceeding 400 spectators. Emley’s dedicated travelling support, adding to the fervor, ultimately reaped the rewards.

The game kicked off as a scrappy affair, with Iyrwah Gooden testing Thackley’s keeper Wilson early on. However, the breakthrough didn’t come until the 15th minute when Metcalfe set up Gooden, only for his shot to be saved. Emley’s Ruben Jerome later opened the scoring around the 20th minute, delighting the travelling fans.

Thackley missed a golden opportunity to equalize, with Finn Donovan setting up Ellison-Tope, who failed to find the target. The game saw moments of tension, with Jerome receiving a yellow card and a cynical foul on Gooden resulting in a caution for Thackley’s Billy. Emley’s skipper Metcalfe also found himself booked as the referee tightened control.

Just before half-time, Emley had a chance to double their lead, but the keeper denied Gooden, and the teams headed into the break with a narrow 1-0 score in favor of Emley.

Half-time score: Thackley 0-1 Emley

Thackley quickly pressed in the second half, and Suddards capitalized on a defensive lapse to level the score. However, Emley responded decisively, with Ruben Jerome netting his 26th goal and regaining the lead.

Despite Thackley’s attempts for a second equalizer, Emley secured the points with a third goal. Charlie Barks headed home from a corner, causing controversy but ultimately extending Emley’s lead. The jubilant Emley fans celebrated the 17th win, bringing them within one point of the league leaders, Campion, with four games in hand.

The victory also widened the gap to 10 points over third-placed Thackley, who now trail Emley with two games in hand. Emley’s success in Bradford sets the stage for a challenging away fixture against Hallam in Sheffield on Tuesday night.

Full-time score: Thackley 1-3 Emley.