Grilled LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE bowed out of the Central Midlands League Cup in the first leg of an exacting double-header against two of the leading title fancies in the main divisions.
This Saturday, Linby host Mickleover Royals, top dogs in the South Division. But last Saturday it was the turn of Clay Cross Town, hot property in the North Division, to visit Church Lane. And the Derbyshire outfit returned home with a 3-1 victory to deny Dave Marlow’s men a place in the quarter-finals.
Clay Cross have lost just one of their 19 league games this term, racking up 84 goals, of which 36 have been scored by their player/manager Ant Lynam, who was playing for Scarborough Athletic in the Northern Premier League only two years ago.
The impressive Lynam led the line superbly, scored one goal and set up another as the visitors hit back from a goal down at the interval.
Mind you, Linby were far from disgraced, particularly in the first half, which they bossed with their brand of neat football, despite a tricky surface. And they took the lead in the 13th minute when a searching through-ball by classy, hard-working man-of-the-match Aaron Ryan caused panic in the Clay Cross defence and led to full-back Richie Matthews heading over onrushing goalkeeper Ben Townsend into his own net.
A bad day for Matthews might have got worse early in the second period when he was lucky to escape a second yellow card for a late challenge on Tom Coupe that left the Linby defender in a crumpled heap.
The referee later admitted he should have sent off Matthews -- a decision that soon backfired on Linby because it was the same player who hauled the visitors level in the 57th minute, heading home from a corner that the locals failed to clear.
Linby responded with a point-blank volley from substitute Matt Peberday that was brilliantly saved. But Clay Cross edged ahead on 68 when Jake Tittley was first to the loose ball after Lynam had crashed a wicked 25-yarder against the bar.
Still the home side boxed on as Ruban Mitchell struck a post and put a one-on-one narrowly wide. But their hopes were finally dashed when Lynam cleverly fired a Ronaldo-type free-kick under the defensive wall and into the bottom corner.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-1-1) -- Rocco/ Frizelle M., Henshaw, Loydall, Coupe/ Mitchell R., Winfield, Ryan, Mitchell K./ Potter/ Murphy. SUBS: Peberday (for Mitchell K. 60), Charles (for Potter 70), Bernard J. (for Murphy 80).