Sherwood win again on a difficult afternoon at Emley

Sherwood Colliery defender Ewan Robson - impressive at Emley. Photo by Ryan Crockett.Sherwood Colliery defender Ewan Robson - impressive at Emley. Photo by Ryan Crockett.
Sherwood Colliery defender Ewan Robson - impressive at Emley. Photo by Ryan Crockett.
Sherwood Colliery maintained their place in the upper reaches of the NCEL Premier Division following a narrow 1-0 victory at Emley on Saturday, writes Phil Kirkland.

The Wood did not have the easiest of starts with travel delayed by an accident on the way, leading to the team arriving quite late at the ground. With a lively pitch and a swirling, bitter wind it was not a day conducive to good football and so the game proved.

Sherwood named an unchanged team for the game which started slowly. An early ball in from the right by Jobe Shaw tested the Emley goalkeeper Michael Roxburgh, who had been drafted in on loan from Huddersfield Town, and he handled well on what would prove to be an impressive debut.

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Emley had the first real chance on 15 minutes, Mike Fish heading wide from a good cross from the right.

Charlie Taylor was strong and robust moments later after sloppy midfield play almost embarrassed the Wood, who then produced a counter-attack of real pace and purpose, Gareth Curtis releasing Will Norcross who was thwarted by a good save by Roxburgh.

On 21 minutes, a ball into the penalty area by Ryan Ingram caused confusion in the Emley defence, Charlie Taylor almost forcing the ball over the line.

The good spell of pressure told as Sherwood took the lead on 24 minutes, another swift attack, Jamie York providing Norcross with the opportunity to break clear and finish, which he did with some style.

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A free kick from York almost found Taylor and, from the resulting corner kick, further confusion in the home defence nearly resulted in a chance as Sherwood enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Brad Newby delivered another good ball that evaded everyone as the wind and slight slope seemed to be having more effect on the game.

Norcross was causing danger and his cross just evaded Curtis and Ingram. On 38 minutes Dale Sheppard was called into action, saving well from Fish who had broken clear, the referee and assistant waving away Sherwood claims of offside.

The Wood responded well, York again finding Norcross, who in turn delivered a cross to the far post to Ingram. Ingram met the ball well, his header beating Roxburgh, only to be cleared off the line.

Late in the half Emley missed a golden chance to equalise.

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Sherwood conceding a set play that caused confusion and Charlie Smith blazed the ball over the crossbar.

The second half saw Emley have the wind and slope advantage with the Wood looking to counter.

But Sherwood had a good shape and looked content to sit and ask the home team to try to play through.

A corner by York almost found Lewis Belgrave on a rare spell of Sherwood pressure as the game was played out mostly in the middle of the park with Robson Doolan impressing again.

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Emley squandered a good chance from a free kick given away on the edge of the box by Shaw. However, the defensive wall held firm, Alex Metcalfe’s shot easily blocked.

Emley tried to build some pressure but were finding it difficult to create clear openings, Ewan Robson impressing for the Wood.

Sheppard was called upon to make one good save but other than that the visitors looked in control, defending with calmness and assurance. Substitute Tim Gregory managed to latch onto a good ball from Newby and his shot was well saved, Roxburgh tipping the ball round the post. That proved to be the last real action of the game as the Wood managed the game to the final whistle to take an important three points.

Next up for Sherwood are two home games.

First up, Handsworth visit Debdale Park on Tuesday, 25th January in the NCEL League Cup third round (7.45pm), followed on Saturday by league leaders Grimsby Borough (3pm).

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