Bulls join Forest and Stags in derby cheer

Linby (red) v Bulwell.'Bulwell's Marek Vipond.
Linby (red) v Bulwell.'Bulwell's Marek Vipond.

Nottingham Forest fans had their clash with Derby County. Mansfield Town fans had their rivalry with Chesterfield.

But for the Dispatch district, local derby fever centred on LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE versus BULWELL in the Central Midlands League, South Division.

And it was Bulwell who joined Forest and Stags fans in the celebration toasts last Saturday night after a 3-1 victory.

The lure of the counter-attractions at the City Ground and the Proact Stadium served to restrict the crowd at Church Lane to a disappointing 75. And in truth, the few who did turn up were hardly treated to a classic game.

But that didn’t worry The Bulls, who came from a goal down to return to winning ways after another midweek blip.

In contrast, it was just one of many worries for Linby, who have now plunged to EIGHT straight defeats to leave them perilously close to the foot of the table after taking just five points from 12 matches.

Linby’s player-shortage crisis has been well documented. But it reached new heights this time, with no fewer than SIX goalkeepers missing, plus a further ten outfield players.

Somehow their makeshift side still made a bright opening and still went in front on ten minutes when Nigerian teenager Olamide Ajewole tricked his way to the byeline and cut the ball back for Matt Murphy to find the bottom corner with a controlled half-volley.

Lethargic and subdued Bulwell were still in the changing rooms and without man-of-the-match Ben Moore at the heart of their defence, they might have suffered further woe.

Linby continued to press, with beanpole striker Joe Butler hurrying a decent chance that he put wide. And it was against the run of play in the 35th minute when Bulwell equalised -- Conor Carter’s cross inviting a mix-up between defender and ‘keeper, enabling Marek Vipond to stoop and head past Glenn Guyatt into an empty net.

If Linby shaded the first half, there’s no doubt that the visitors dominated the second -- probably after a few ‘hairdryer’ words from the management team.

And within six minutes, they were ahead when a flicked header by Carter at the near post, from a corner, was adjudged to have crossed the line, despite the best efforts of Damian Mann to head it out.

Moments later, Bulwell sent on substitute Scott Litchfield and reverted to a 4-4-2 system that Linby struggled to handle.

Litchfield, Carter, Ako Abdullah and Richard Saunders all wasted excellent opportunities, while Guyatt saved well from Felix Hogg and home substitute Charlie Miller cleared another effort off the line.

With Linby looking ragged, The Bulls’ win was finally sealed five minutes from the end when Litchfield lobbed the goalie after fine work by Carter and Ross McCaughey.

Bulwell will now be hoping the win can trigger a run of consistency. And their ability will be properly tested by a match against high-riding Belper United this coming weekend.

As for Linby, they are desperate to end their horrific sequence of results. Surely they will manage it this Saturday against bottom-of-the-table Calverton Miners Welfare.