A controversial turning-point helped HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE confirm their superiority over LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE in the big Bank Holiday Monday local derby.
Rolls were leading Linby 1-0 in their Central Midlands League, South Division clash when their goalkeeper, Jack Walker, appeared to handle outside his box as he rushed to deal with a long ball just after the hour.
However, Walker escaped with a yellow card, rather than a red. And as tempers overheated, to rub salt into Linby’s wounds, their skipper and key defender, Matt Peberday, was sent off for protesting, having received a yellow for similar dissent earlier in the half.
Linby could well have equalised in the incident because, as referee Jon Dolbear originally allowed play to go on, Joe Butler’s shot was cleared off the line by Rolls captain Aaron Short.
They could also have emerged from the incident with 11 players against ten, if Walker been sent off after Dolbear had consulted with his linesman, Hucknall-based Steve Sears..
Instead, they emerged with the daunting prospect of chasing the game with ten against 11.
Rolls duly made no mistake in rubber-stamping their victory, adding two sublime goals on the counter-attack in the final 15 minutes.
First, substitute Kane Matthews dribbled past a defender before curling a beauty into the top corner from 20 yards.
And then the impressive Rory Smith cut in from the left, where he was a constant threat, and unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike that gave ‘keeper Luca Rocco no chance.
Mind you, once all the consternation had died down, it was accepted by all in the ground that The Rollers thoroughly deserved their three points in front of a good-sized Bank Holiday crowd braving grim weather .
Inspired by the relentless running of Jack James in midfield, they showed good character to bounce back from their 5-1 spanking at the hands of Hucknall Town only 48 hours earlier.
In stark contrast, Linby were not at the races, churning out their worst performance of the new season so far and tumbling to their first defeat. They fell behind in the 19th minute when Greg Conn forced a fine save on the line by Rocco, only for the ball to fall to Rolls targetman Jack Allen, who smashed home.
And although they remained in a tight, scrappy affair until the red-card controversy, their aimless long-ball game lacked inspiration.
Indeed they didn’t force a shot on goal until the 40th minute when Damian Mann cut inside to bring a smart save from Walker.
They made changes at half-time, but only young striker Butler looked capable of upsetting the domination of Rolls, who could have scored more goals..