Leading three times was not enough to bag another victory for LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE in an action-packed thriller in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Instead two goals at the other end in a frantic final eight minutes sentenced Dave Marlow’s troops to a 5-3 defeat at Mickleover Royal British Legion.
Linby began the day six points ahead of the Derbyshire side in the table. But Mickleover boasted a fine home record of six wins from seven, so it was a tougher assignment than it looked on paper. And in the end, they paid the price for the absence of three key men at the back -- goalkeeper Luca Rocco and centre-halves Terry Henshaw and Matt Peberday.
Teenager Kaylum Mitchell retained his place after the previous week’s heroics -- and he gave the locals a seventh-minute lead after Kyle McDermott’s shot had been parried.
It was almost two when Joe Butler was brilliantly foiled by ‘keeper Daz Keeling in a one-on-one. But then Butler had to limp out of the action injured and after Tom Coupe had cleared a Danny Briscoe shot off the line, Mickleover equalised with a superb header into the top corner by midfielder Stuart Pointer.
Linby were back in front by the break as Matt Murphy converted a penalty, awarded for a foul on full-back Tom Coupe. And although Josh Wilkinson drilled home from the edge of the area to level again four minutes into the second half, it was 3-2 on 54 when man-of-the-match McDermott found the bottom corner with a sweet finish from 16 yards.
Once more, the home side hit back -- Porter pouncing on a cross to fire an untoppable volley from the edge of the area. And as the end-to-end fare refused to relent, a draw looked as if it would be the right result.
However, Mickleover had other ideas and they took the lead at 4-3 for the first time in the 82nd minute when substitute Rob Selby arrowed a wicked cross into the box to meet Pointer’s late run and header.
In response, Linby poured men forward and went close three times, with Murphy hitting a post and Mason Frizelle seeing efforts blocked on the line and fly over.
But deep into injury-time, the home side struck again as sub Daz Rushton’s 20-yard drive took a cruel deflection past ‘keeper Gaz Hickman.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Hickman/ Frizelle M., Winfield, Loydall, Coupe/ Mitchell K., Ryan, Mitchell R., McDermott/ Butler, Murphy. SUBS: Charles (for Butler 25), Fox (for Charles 72), Mann (for McDermott 76).