Poor defending blighted the acid test of LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE’S rejuvenated start to the new season in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
After a healthy return of 15 points from eight games that had lifted them to second place in the table, Linby travelled to the Raygar Stadium take on unbeaten leaders, Mickleover Royals.
But they plunged to a 5-1 defeat that helped to send the Derbyshire outfit six points clear with an unblemished record of eight wins from eight.
And manager Dave Marlow was in no doubt where the problem lay -- “a lack of marking and desire to win the ball, which allowed Mickleover to score three goals from set-pieces in a ten-minute period before half-time”.
“We conceded from three crosses into the box,” said Marlow. “This ruined a very good first 30 minutes when he could have been 2-0 up ourselves if chances had been put away by Ruban Mitchell and Joe Butler.
“Mickleover are certainly a strong team with very few weaknesses. But the scoreline did flatter them a little.
“Nevertheless, we are still positive and are looking forward to this weekend’s local derby against Bulwell.”
Linby did actually cut the 3-0 deficit just after half-time when youngster Mitchell scored. But then they were hit by two controversial refereeing decisions.
First, a second goal was disallowed for a high challenge by Ash Winfield. And almost immediately, a penalty was awarded at the other end against defender Callum Loydall for an innocuous trip.
Ex-Mansfield Town and Notts County man Dan Martin duly converted the spot-kick and, with Linby pushing on, Mickleover added a fifth after a loose pass by Tom Coupe.
As well as captain Martin,who bagged two, the home side’s scorers were Matt Savage, Josh Gregory and Chris Martin.
They haven’t looked back sindce appointing Gary Hamson as their new manager and are now clear favourites to be crowned champions. Mind you, they have the small matter of a derby against Mickleover Royal British Legion to come first this weekend.