A wonderful week for buoyant LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE saw them cruise into the quarter-finals of the county cup and then return to the top four of the Central Midlands League (CML), South Division table.
Linby are now one of the favourites to land the Notts FA Saturday Intermediate Cup after a 7-2 stroll away to Dunkirk Reserves in the Third Round, which was achieved without a recognised goalkeeper.
Reserve-team boss Jamie Wheatley deputised for Luca Rocco, who was ill, and played his role in a victory spiced by two goals apiece from twin forwards Joe Butlerand 27 minutes) and Matt Murphy (32 and 63), plus strikes by Damian Mann (66), Rian Charles (82, his first for the club) and Mason Frizelle (84).
Dunkirk, who play in the CML’s Reserves Supreme Division, responded through Ellis Reed on 60 and Alex Meehan on 80.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Wheatley/ Frizelle, Loydall, Henshaw, Coupe/ Mitchell R., Ryan, Charles, Mitchell K. (man-of-match)/ Murphy, Butler. SUBS: McDermott (for Ryan 50), Mann (for Butler 55).
Rocco was back for Tuesday night’s league game, however -- and didn’t opponents, Blidworth Welfare, know it! For he produced a fantastic, man-of-the-match display that included a string of superb saves and had fans drooling over “the best ‘keeper Linby have had for years”.
The 2-1 win was considered three brilliant points because Blidworth, with ex-Hucknall Town favourite Danny Bacon pulling the strings in midfield, are a very good, young, quick team currently in a false position towards the foot of the table.
Indeed they shaded a goalless first half when Rocco pulled off at least five outstanding stops to deny Liam Theakstone and Sam Dockray, who also had a close-range shot somehow cleared off the line by Callum Loydall.
The second half carried on in a similar vein, with more Rocco heroics and another goalline clearance -- this time by Tom Coupe. But Linby worked their way into it and after appeals for a penalty had been turned down, they broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when Butler released substitute Kyle McDermott, who slid an effort from way out past the advancing ‘keeper.
Blidworth levelled six minutes later when Theakstone finally beat Rocco with a penalty, harshly awarded for a foul by Matt Peberday. But back came Linby to grab an 87th minute winner when Butler’s free-kick rebounded off the wall for Ruban Mitchell to pop into the bottom corner.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Rocco/ Frizelle, Loydall, Henshaw, Coupe/ Mitchell R., Ryan, Charles, Mitchell K./ Murphy, Butler. SUBS: McDermott (for Ryan 34), Peberday (for Loydall 75), Mann (for Murphy 76).