Emley 1-6 Huddersfield Town – Pre-season Friendly

October 14, 1981

We take floodlights for granted these days in the non-league pyramid, but prior to 1981 the Welfare Ground did not have them.  The Yorkshire League at that time did not require them, but that meant the number of games its teams could play was limited by daylight hours through the winter.  The Yorkshire League divisions had at most 16 teams, meaning a total of 30 league games a season.

In 1981 there was talk of the non-league pyramid being extended and a merger between the Yorkshire League and the Midland League.  That would mean 20 teams in the premier division of the combined league which would become the Northern Counties East in 1982.  Floodlights would be mandatory.  The Emley committee was ahead of the game and by the start of the 1981 season had raised the money to construct floodlights at the Welfare Ground.

For the grand opening Huddersfield Town offered to send a team for a friendly.  In those days third division Town were not above sending strong teams to play in such games and their team was sprinkled with first team regulars.  The game was an entertaining one.  Town manager Mick Buxton kicked the game off and soon found his team a goal down.  Emley were temporarily down to 10 men when Steve Marron surprised Town with his pace and his cross was tucked away by Dave Cook.

The rest of the half saw legendary Emley ‘keeper Ray Dennis keep the score down.  He pulled off some great saves but could not prevent Steve Kindon equalising from a free-kick within two minutes of the Emley goal.  Dennis then saved from Mark Lillis and Terry Austin, but Kindon put Town 2-1 ahead on 22 minutes from a corner.  Mores efforts from Terry Austin, Ian Robins and Mick Kennedy kept Dennis busy, but Emley also had their chances.  Ex-Town striker Tommy Smith set Cook up but his shot was saved.

Buxton made several subs at half-time and they dominated the second half.  Emley did have an effort that went into the side-netting, but after 59 minutes Peter Fletcher made it 3-1 with a superb header and then Phil Wilson got the fourth.  Robins made it five in the 75th minute and Dennis pulled off a great save to deny Malcolm Brown.  However, his one error for the night was severely punished by Lillis when the ‘keeper threw the ball to him.

The crowd of 1100 boosted the Club coffers and enjoyed seeing the professional players at the Welfare Ground. This was a start of a regular pre-season friendlies against Huddersfield, who always sent a sprinkling of first team players for the warm up games through the Eighties and Nineties.


Emley:  Dennis, Bramald, Lumb, Quinn, Brook, Dyson, Schofield, Greaves (Cooper, 53 min), Smith, Cook, Marron.

Huddersfield: Taylor, Brown, Burke, Wilson, Sutton (Purdie, 45 min), Hanvey, Lillis, Kennedy (Laverick, 45 min), Kindon (Cowling, 45 min), Robins, Austin (Fletcher, 45 min)

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

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