IN sub-zero conditions, both sides should be commended for a producing a good game of football played in the right spirit and very well refereed by Luke Watson.
Within the first minute Tom Matthews fashioned a shooting opportunity for himself with a turn and shot that was saved by Nathan Ryan, but it was Emley, as expected ,who tried to impose themselves early in the game.
On four minutes, Scott Holt’s excellent free kick rattled the underside of Ben Imeson’s crossbar and bounced away to safety.
A minute later, after good build-up from Emley, Holt’s snap shot from just inside the box brought a fine save from Imeson diving smartly low to his left.
Heagney and Holt were looking threatening for Emley in the early stages, but this brought out the best in Town centre backs Nick Jagger and Adam Wilson.
Once they got a grips with the dangerous frontmen, Town gradually started to take control of the game.
In front of them, Greg Porter was winning every 50-50 challenge and Anthony Haigh’s distribution from midfield was starting to stretch the Emley back four.
Town midfielder Sam Akeroyd, whose excellent technique allowed him to dominate possession in the centre of the park, while his opponents struggled in the frosty conditions, used his skill to set up Town’s opening goal on 25 minutes.
He weaved his way past a couple of tackles before playing the ball into Matthews on the edge of the box.
Matthews twisted and turned, sidestepped and dummied his way past would-be tacklers before firing home from an acute angle for a fantastic goal.
Town pushed on, and both Luke Gibson and Matthews showed good skills to put dangerous crosses into the box, and Shane Hamilton’s strong running was causing Emley problems.
The home side were struggling to break down the Town defence but did have another effort on goal from a low free kick with Imeson producing a brave save in front of the attackers’ feet.
Emley centre back Sean Hazelden then had a well struck volley from a corner clear the cross-bar on 35 minutes.
That was the last real goalmouth action in the run-up to half-time as both teams allowed themselves a breather from the frantic pace.
Town made a superb start to the second half, making it 2 - 0 within the first minute.
Tom Brown, who was steady as a rock in the Town defence, found himself cutting in from the wing attacking the Emley penalty area.
He picked out Matthews in the box and the Town striker drilled a low shot past the Emley keeper.
Only a good save from Ryan prevented Hamilton increasing Town’s lead on 50 minutes with a left foot shot after Matthews had played him in.
Just back from injury, Gibson was replaced by Ryan Brook who slotted in at fullback and James Sutcliffe, pushing further forward, saw plenty of the ball.
First he set up Haigh to hit the target from the edge of the box, and then unleashed a 25yd screamer of his own that went narrowly wide.
His through pass then found Hamilton who skimmed the bar with a right foot effort midway through the half.
A minute later, Akeroyd nearly got the goal he deserved when he hit the post from a Tom Brown pass.
That was Akeroyd’s last involvement in the game as he made way for manager Paul Quinn on 71 minutes.
Emley were struggling to create chances but Adam Wilson made an excellent headed clearance from a deep free kick that looked like it was going to drop for an Emley attacker.
With 10 minutes left, Town nearly wrapped the game up when Sutcliffe headed a Quinn cross against the post following a good move involving Brook and Hamilton.
Anthony Brown replaced Matthews for the final stages and the youngster’s skill and strength caused a tiring Emley defence problems to the end.
Town produced a solid team performance in very difficult conditions to get through this tie that always had the potential of an upset against their neighbours in a derby atmosphere.