Knaresborough Town picked up an important home win over AFC Emley on Saturday to maintain their place at the top of the NCEL Division One table.
Defeat would have seen Paul Stansfield’s side leapfrogged by second-placed Yorkshire Amateur, but goals in each half from midfielders Dom Wilson and Dan Thirkell secured a 2-0 success.
Thirkell fired against the Emley crossbar in the very first minute as the home side dominated the early stages.
Matt Donnelly’s cross-cum-shot then found the safe hands of Max Dearnley in the away goal.
Boro gloveman Jack Rushworth was then called upon to save an Alex Slack effort, but in the 25th minute the hosts went ahead following a fine move down the right.
Brad Walker supplied the cross which took out several defenders and Wilson timed his run superbly to meet the ball in his stride and score easily.
Steve Bromley should then have added to the score, but his strike was saved by Dearnley, who also kept out a close-range Thirkell effort just before half-time.
Chances were at a premium after the break as Emley proved stubborn competitiors and Knaresborough struggled to create clear openings.
Thirkell was again involved as he headed toward goal, but again Dearnley denied the former Tadcaster Albion man.
At the other end, Jordan Townend then shot over from a free-kick as Emley enjoyed a spell of pressure, but Will Lenehan should have done better as he headed a Dan Clayton free-kick straight at Dearnley.
Ben Cohen arrived as Boro’s second substitute of the afternoon and linked well with Conor Donoghue on the left of the penalty area.
A clumsy challengesaw Cohen tripped and a penalty resulted. With the regular two spot-kick takers both missing, Thirkell took responsibility and smashed home in the 80th minute to settle the game.
Up next for Stansfield’s men is a trip to struggling Nostell Miners Welfare on Saturday.