Linby shade county cup thriller in long-standing derby with Bestwood

CUP HERO -- Ruban Mitchell, who scored Linby's extra-time winner just two minutes from the end of a thrilling tie. (PHOTO BY: Rob Campion).
CUP HERO -- Ruban Mitchell, who scored Linby's extra-time winner just two minutes from the end of a thrilling tie. (PHOTO BY: Rob Campion).

The longest-standing local derby in the Dispatch district served up a cup quarter-final humdinger that lived up to its historic traditions.

LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE and BESTWOOD MINERS WELFARE have been playing each other since the early-1900s. And although last Saturday’s Notts FA Intermediate County Cup tie was their first meeting since 2006, it was well worth the wait.

Bestwood, who are going well in the Premier Division of the Midland Amateur Alliance (MAA), looked like pulling off a surprise for most of the afternoon as they led 1-0 and 2-1.

But Central Midlands League (CML) outfit Linby grabbed a late equaliser to force extra-time and then an even later winner in the added 30 minutes to clamber into the semis via a 3-2 victory.

Most of the opening half was scrappy in an awful wind. But Linby were lacklustre and Bestwood, no doubt bouyed by the knowledge that one of their divisional rivals, Old Elizabethans, won the cup last season by beating a CML team in the final, stole a 38th minute advantage. Good work by Ricky Hodgson, against his old club, laid the ball off for strike partner Connor Scott, who turned on the edge of the area to drill a peach into the bottom corner.

It could even have been 2-0 on the hour when Lenny Jenkins’s header hit a post. But as Linby got more and more frustrated, they were finally rwarded by their last throw of the dice -- the introduction from the bench of their reserve-team’s top scorer, Luke Price.

Price equalised in the 84th minute, lobbing onrushing ‘keeper Darren Sampson after a fine through-ball by Aaron Potter. And although Bestwood restored their lead in the opening minute of extra-time, when Zeke Cox’s pass was expertly controlled by Ross King, who rounded goalie Luca Rocco, Price struck again on 97. This time he volleyed home from a superb, low cross by man-of-the-match Joe Butler on a sweeping counter-attack.

As Linby pressed for the winner, they were denied by a second goalline clearance of the game. But the goal arrived in the 118th minute when Damian Mann swung in a wicked free-kick and Ruban Mitchell ghosted between two defenders to head in off an upright.

LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Rocco/ Loydall C., Peberday, Henshaw, Coupe/ Mitchell R., Charles, Potter, Mitchell K./ McDermott, Murphy. SUBS: Mann (for Murphy 45), Butler (for Charles 60), Price (for Loydall 77). BESTWOOD LINE-UP -- Sampson/ Carter, Cox, Draycott M., Duffy, Froggatt, Hodgson, Jenkins, Kitching, Mahl, Scott. SUBS: Conway, Cooke, King.