The long 17-year wait for a trophy at LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE is finally over after a night to remember in the final of the Notts Senior League’s Junior Cup.
Not since 1997, when they landed the Notts Alliance, First Division championship, had Linby tasted success.
A sequence of four cup finals for the first team had all ended in defeat.
But that hoodoo was lifted when Linby Reserves came from behind to thump First Division rivals Radcliffe Olympic Reserves 4-1 at Keyworth United’s ground last midweek.
Jamie Wheatley and Jay Parkin’s team got off to a disastrous start when goalkeeper Glenn Guyatt completely missed an innocent through-ball, gifting Radcliffe ‘keeper Brett Soiza the simplest of tap-ins.
But how Guyatt went on to make amends for his clanger! Not only did he save a penalty, with the score at 1-1, he also picked up the man-of-the-match award!
After the goal, Linby were all at sea for 20 minutes. But they equalised on 33 when Ross Cheeseman crossed for top scorer Luke Price to plant an angled shot off the far post.
Guyatt’s spot-kick heroism came in the 53rd minute when he saved Adam Sinnott’s penalty, awarded by Hucknall referee Steve Sears for a foul by centre-back Sean O’Neill.
And it proved to be a massive turning-point in the game, energising Linby into blasting three goals in the next 12 minutes.
First, left-back Tom Coupe embarked on a typical lung-bursting run from inside his own half, beating four men and ending with a one-on-one that he finished with aplomb.
Next, Coupe struck again, smashing a soaring header into the net from a corner.
And then, game over as Cheeseman netted from close range when Radcliffe failed to deal with an Ant Wallis cross.
The win underlined the immense transformation that Wheatley and Parkin, with the help of assistant Ash Ward, have created with Linby Reserves, who were promoted from the NSL’s Second Division last season.