Emley 0-0 Barton Town – Yorkshire League Division 1

May 4, 1981

The 1981 season saw Emley battling Leeds Ashley Road for the Yorkshire League title, but they became victims of their own success when a punishing run of games at the end of April and start of May saw the Club fall at the final hurdle in the League and the League Cup.  The parallels with this season (22-23) are uncanny with Barton, Winterton and Frickley all playing a part in the story.

On Thursday 30th April, Emley had won the Sheffield Cup with a last-minute victory over Frickley Athletic.  On Saturday 2nd May, they travelled to Barton, who having been promoted the previous season were fighting to ensure their survival in Division 1.  Emley’s exertions against Frickley clearly had an effect as Barton ran out 4-1 winners.  Barton took the lead after 15 minutes and by midway through the second half they were three up.  Dave Cook got a goal back, but Barton made it four with the help of an own goal late on.  That was Barton’s first win in 17 games and Emley would come to rue the dropped points.

Two days later on the Bank Holiday Monday, Barton came to the Welfare Ground for the return.  Barton again showed that they were a better team than their league position suggested.  They defended solidly in depth and when they got their chance broke quickly to provide some tests for Ray Dennis.

The first half was a stalemate with Emley unable to break Barton down, and they piled on the pressure as the second half commenced.  Barton continued to restrict the space though and Emley continued to be frustrated.  The best chance came for when Barry Lumb flicked on for Steve Marron who got the ball across, but Daryl Brook’s header smacked against the crossbar.  There were some further hectic exchanges in the Barton goal mouth near the end but Emley could not force the ball home.

The season was not over for Emley, but the damage had been done.  Leeds Ashley Road had their own punishing run of games – four in six days – but they got enough points to beat Emley to the title by two points.  To add insult to injury, the following week Emley lost the Yorkshire League Cup final to Winterton Rangers.  Barton meanwhile survived the drop by a point, but transferred to the Lincolnshire League anyway at the end of the season, so they didn’t need the points after all.

Headlines and some photographs courtesy of Huddersfield Examiner and the Huddersfield and District Chronicle

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