Emley 2 North Ferriby 2 – Northern Counties East Premier Division

May 10, 1988

1987-88 was a famous year in Emley’s history which is mainly remembered for the FA Vase run that took the club to the final at Wembley where they narrowly lost to Colne Dynamoes in extra-time.  What tends to be forgotten is that Emley also won the Northern Counties East league that year for the first time.

Emley had had to pick themselves up after the trip to Wembley and were in a two-horse race with Armthorpe Welfare for the title.  Armthorpe had completed their fixtures and were a point ahead of Emley at the top, but with a much inferior goal difference.  This meant Emley just needed a point from their final home game against a mid-table North Ferriby side with nothing to play for.

Having won their two games after the final, Emley could have sewn it up in midweek but could only draw at Denaby, coming from behind twice to snatch the point that meant a win was not needed, and how vital that was!  An incredible crowd of 1,264 turned up at the welfare ground to witness the game, and Emley dominated the first half, but as always North Ferriby did not make it easy.  In fact they went closest to scoring when full-back Bobby McNeil’s shot bounced out after hitting the inside of the post.

Two minutes after the break though Gerry Quinn’s team took charge.  Ferriby ‘keeper Ian Ironside could only parry Steve Codd’s powerful header from a Paul Gartland corner.  The ball fell to Tim Devine who fired home at the back post to give Emley the lead.

Emley pushed for the second and after 73 minutes the match looked a whole lot more comfortable with a touch of John Francis magic.  Mick Carmody created the opening with a perfect through ball for Mick Green.  He delivered a precise low cross for Francis to finish with arising drive.

But it was not over.  Ferriby pulled one back two minutes later through a Jeff Cook penalty to give Emley the jitters.  Ferriby bombarded Emley’s goal, Nicky Bramald headed a goal bound effort off the line and Codd also cleared a dangerous effort.  Then with four minutes to go Evans equalised for Ferriby.

Now it was panic stations and Emley were desperately holding on for the final whistle.  Fortunately, calm heads prevailed and there was jubilation from the players, management and the big crowd as Emley sealed the title on goal difference.

The Northern Premier League had carried out a ground inspection prior to this game and Emley fully expected to be promoted.  However, it was not to be.  The NPL would not accept that Emley could make the necessary improvements despite the income from the FA Vase run and Emley had to wait another season, and win the title again, to claim their spot in the NPL.

Team: Dennis, Farrar, Fielding, Mellor, Codd, Green, Burrows, Francis, Devine, Carmody, Gartland, Bramald.

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

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