Friday 11th February 2011
Staveley MWFC made it 7 league wins from 7 beating AFC Emley 2-0 at Inkersall Road with 2 goals from the impressive Joe Thornton, one being a thunderous free kick from 30 yards.
Staveley welcomed back Judd Colley, now reinstated as Emley Captain and last season's U19 prospect Teo Ringrose had impressed to give him a different role up top alongside Emley favourite Steve Kenworthy.
Emley started the better in the opening 10 minutes, full of running and enterprise they created two decent chances but Scott Dinnigan did well in the Staveley goal to deny Emley opening the scoring.
It was to be a pattern of the game that Emley showed good organisational skills and did well to the last third but all too often Staveley's rear guard took control and snuffed out any real danger.
Staveley hadn't got going as their opponents showed character in matching the league leaders yard for yard. A couple of speculative long range efforts were Staveley's only opening salvo, but gradually they started to get hold of the game with some neat inter passing.
Playing the ball into Staveley's front two with midfielders running off was beginning to take hold and Emley's Sean Hazeldean, with no real chance of getting the ball, came through needlessly of the back of the attacker giving the referee no option but to award a free kick.
Lining the wall up to his left, Matt Clark taking his position to the right of goal was left simply admiring the thunderous strike from Joe Thornton that give Staveley a 1-0 lead that perhaps neither side had deserved to take in the opening half hour.
A number of corners from Staveley passed with little danger as Emley coped with the aerial threat well as Staveley held the balance in the remainder of a tight first half.
It was Staveley who went in 1-0 at half time with little to say about the 45 minutes other than one flash of brilliance from Staveley's Joe Thornton.
Chris Fawcus came on for Tom Swan at left back who had not played since early December.
There was another quick substitution on 50 minutes when Chris Coy went off with a tight hamstring with Richard Patterson coming on in his place as Billy Fix predicted Emley would have to come more out of their shell to try and get some of the spoils he went for a more conservative approach.
The second half started with once again Emley lacking any clinical edge in front of goal and a number of efforts were restrained to long range shots with Staveley looking comfortable at the back.
As Staveley pushed on, Matt Clarke in the Emley goal pulled off a great save from Ryan Damms's header but as the ball broke, Jamie Smith on for Jordan Eagers, was bundled over and the referee some 10 yards away gave the penalty.
The penalty struck by Ryan Damms to the keepers right was well saved by the Emley keeper who was now beginning to be a possible stumbling block for Staveley.
Emley as expected went more adventurous coming out of their shells more as the game went on.
Aymen Tahar and the tireless Andrew Fox got top side of the midfield battle coming more and more into the game in the last 15 minutes when Staveley were dominant and Emley looked to be tiring running into the brick wall of Staveley's back four and forcing the Emley strikers then to drop deep some 40 or 50 yards from goal.
Minutes from time Ryan Damms thought he had at last beaten Matt Clarke in goal which he did - but his chip from 20 yards rattled the crossbar and the 1-0 lead was retained. However, the goalkeepers excellent work on the night was undone when he was chased down by Andrew Fox he sent his clearance low and some 40 yards from goal.
Joe Thornton taking a touch then sent the ball back over the keepers head and although the keeper got a hand on it the ball was in the net to give Staveley a 2-0 lead and pleasingly another clean sheet.
Emley had proven to be good and workmanlike opponents but whereas Staveley looked like they had the ability to create and take goals from around the team, Emley seemed on the night to lack that cutting edge.
That is 45 points from a possible 54 for Staveley a run that has now produced a points differential of 6 points and 13 points on the 2nd and 3rd placed club.
Extreme pressure is now on the chasing pack for one or two of them to turn draws and games in hand into victories to close the gap that has been produced by Staveley with an excellent run of 7 straight victories this year.
It does seem that the chasing pack are harming not only their own chances but other teams chances of promotion with far too many games being drawn between those chasing for honours.
Next up for Staveley is a tricky looking 90 minutes at Worsborugh Bridge and then next Wednesday it's AFC Emley again but this time in their own back yard.
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