AFC EMLEY wrapped up 2012 in style with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Yorkshire Amateur.
Leading scorer Ashley Flynn led the way again for Emley with a hat trick, taking his fantastic tally to 31 for the season.
But this was another outstanding performance from manager Darren Hepworth’s team as they secured their 14th Northern Counties East League Division I win of the campaign.
This was Emley’s ninth game unbeaten and they move up to third in the table.
Emley started the game at great pace, giving the visitors little time on the ball.
Flynn, his strike partner Steven Kenworthy and Anthony Haigh all went close in the early stages, but were kept at bay by the visitors’ keeper Tom Carlisle.
Flynn had a great opportunity to put Emley in the lead after Josh Cooke had a low drive blocked on the line by Carlisle – the ball running free to Flynn who fired over the bar.
Carlisle then made an excellent save from Haigh, turning his shot round a post after good work by Kenworthy.
Cooke made the breakthrough for Emley from the resulting corner after 19 minutes, stabbing the ball home from six yards out.
The visitors responded and a well-struck shot from Carl Heard was diverted wide by Anthony Leech.
Wayne Hudson then looped a header over the bar from the corner and Adam Shaw brought a good save from Luke Herriott, but the visitors offered little else going forward.
Josh Ingham had a great chance to double Emley’s lead after finding himself in space from an excellent ball by Paul Sykes, but a weak shot straight to the keeper was a rare low point in another excellent performance by the midfielder.
Flynn started and finished the move for Emley’s second goal on 28 minutes, winning the ball back out wide then feeding Ingham before launching a direct run at goal.
Ingham threaded a superb ball through the defence into the path of Kenworthy, who drew the keeper before pulling the ball back unselfishly to allow Flynn to slot home from close range.
Kenworthy, too, put in an impressive performance and might have had a goal of his own, lobbing Carlisle from a tight angle, but Hudson was on hand to clear the line with Doran Jordan closing in.
The third goal came on 37 minutes and had a little more fortune to it.
Haigh hit a free kick from 25 yards out which deflected up in the air off an Ammers defender looping goalbound. Carlisle prevented it from crossing the line, palming it straight down into the path of Jordan who couldn’t have had a more simple finish.
Emley started the second half in a similar vibrant mood with Flynn, Ingham and Kenworthy again going close.
A drive by Shaw from the edge of the box did little to trouble Herriott at the other end of the field.
Hepworth brought on Matt Thornton and Levi Maturine in place of Anthony Leech and Kenworthy in order to inject fresh pace and Thornton had an immediate impact.
The defender raced down the wing before delivering a cross into the path of Flynn who shot wide of his target.
Jordan did manage to extend Emley’s lead on 68 minutes, exchanging a flicked one-two with Flynn before running clear of the last defender and volleying past Carlisle to make it 4-0.
After seeing a close-range effort deflect wide, Flynn managed to notch his second and Emley’s fifth goal. Thornton again left the home defence in his wake before delivering a cross at the perfect height for Flynn to dive in and head home.
In a rare chance for the visitors Nash Billali struck a well-hit free kick, but Herriott ensured a second consecutive clean sheet with a good two-handed save.
Three minutes from time Flynn wrapped up his hat trick, turning his marker before finishing past Carlisle with the outside of his right boot.
Emley are closing the gap on leaders Athersley, who fell to defeat against Shirebrook, who in turn move up to second place.
In a fiercely competitive league the goals may ultimately prove vital to Emley.
Their goal difference now stands at plus 37, the highest in the division.
Emley: Herriott, Leech (Thornton 68), Sykes (Schofield 73), Ingham, Cyrus, Cooke, Joseph, Jordan, Flynn, Haigh, Kenworthy (Maturine 68). Subs not used: Reilly, Roberts.
Yorkshire Amateur: Carlisle, Noteman, Hudson, Bolton (Combs 70), Green, Billali, Carl Heard (Spencer 74), Hurley, Craig Heard, Law, Shaw.