The result might not look the best -- but manager Dave Marlow was pleased with another away point for lowly LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
After holding high-riding Pinxton the previous Saturday, Linby were looking to beat Barrowby, who are one of the few teams below them in the table.
But Marlow had to field another inexperienced squad, containing four 17-year-olds, so a 1-1 draw against a Grantham side who thrashed Mickleover Royals 6-0 in their last home match was not too bad.
Particularly pleasing was the way they coped with the absence of both centre-backs, Matt Peberday, who has left to sign for Arnold Town, and Mark Jago, who was working.
The returning Aaron Ryan and teenager Mason Frizelle filled the breach admirably to counter the aerial threat of the home side.
Marlow was also delighted that his team did not buckle after falling behind only four minutes into the game.
Barrowby could not have wished for a better start as Lewis Watson cut the ball back from the byeline for Danny McDonald to rifle an exquisite finish into the bottom corner from 16 yards.
But resilient Linby found an equaliser in on time as young striker Joe Butler scurried down the left flank, beat his man with a sublime piece of skill and picked out Matt Murphy, who finished coolly from close range.
Murphy might even have given the visitors the lead when he tried to lift home a one-on-one -- only for onrushing ‘keeper Ian Flavell to make an excellent save. And not long afterwards, a dipping volley by left-back Tom Coupe flew only inches over the bar.
Barrowby’s chief threat came from ex-Linby player Baz Payne, whose brother, Richard, manages the Lincolnshire side. And five minutes before the break, Payne came within a whisker of making it 2-1 with a header that struck a post.
Eight minutes into the second period, the home team went close again when Callum Tindall’s volley brought a stunning point-blank save from ‘keeper Rhys Watkinson.
And Linby continued to be troubled by the long throws of Joe Clarke, plus the presence of giant defenders Billy Stubbs and Leigh Radford at set-pieces.
However, the back four of Ryan, Frizell, Coupe and Simon Martin stood up to the test, with Ash Winfield, whose contest against Payne was worth the entrance money alone, providing a superb screen in front of them.
Although they had to endure severe periods of pressure, Linby almost snatched a late winner when Jonny Bernard’s shot was wonderfully saved by Flavell after Murphy had combined with substitute Jake Thomas, a young, new signing from Hucknall Town.