The eyecatching early-season form of revitalised LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE continued with a more-than-acceptable 1-1 draw against impressive Pinxton.
The visitors might be sitting in the middle of the Central Midlands League (CML), South Division at the moment. But Linby are convinced Ben Newman’s side will be in the title shake-up at the end of the campaign.
So they were delighted to play their part in a match that was a superb advert for CML football, with two committed teams playing high-tempo football.
As an added bonus, Dave Marlow’s youthful side remained second in the table on the eve of their toughest test yet -- a trip this Saturday to meet leaders Mickleover Royals, who have won all seven of their games so far.
“Make no mistake, Pinxton are looking for promotion this season,” said Linby secretary Ady Ward.
“Their facilities are top drawer and they are rebuilding the team after several departures in the summer.
“They boast a very experienced defence, which includes ex-Hucknall Town duo Jason Fisher and Nathan Hollingworth, plus centre-halves Daniel Henshaw (ex-Heanor Town) and Josh Madin (ex-Shirebrook).
“And with the potent attacking threat of Jake Vernon, Tom Ellis and Anthony Rowley, they will be up there.”
Chances fell at both ends in a fascinating first half that delighted a big crowd of 85 at Church Lane.
For Linby, Joe Butler was foiled by a one-on-one save by Fisher, while strike partner Matt Murphy shot inches over.
And for Pinxton, Chris Shelton brought a brilliant save from Luca Rocco before heading wide when unmarked at the far post.
The deadlock was broken in the 35th minute by a quality move from the visitors, which saw Anthony Rowley feed Vernon, who made no mistake from 14 yards.
But whereas the goal would have signalled a Linby defeat last season, it only stiffened their resolve this time round.
Fisher pulled off outstanding stops to keep out headers from both Adam Fox and Ruban Mitchell after crosses by Murphy and Ash Winfield.
But the equaliser deservedly arrived on the hour -- although in very unusual circumstances. A long, deep cross by Mason Frizelle was allowed to bounce in the box by the Pinxton backline and in nipped Damian Mann to loop a close-range header over Fisher. It was Mann’s first-ever headed goal for the club -- and from probably the smallest player on the field!
In the last quarter, the game could have gone either way. But another pleasing positive for Linby was a fine cameo of a display by Rian Charles as a late substitute in the middle of midfield.