In the end, they had to call upon SuperMann. But at long last, LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE ended their awful run of 11 games without a win in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Livewire Damian Mann was the hero with both goals as Linby triumphed 2-1 away to fellow strugglers Holbrook St Michael’s last Saturday.
And sighs of relief the size of the club’s ambitious ground-development plans could be heard ringing from Church Lane.
Not since 17th August had Dave Marlow and Jonathan Dakers’ team tasted success. Those 11 games had yielded just two points.
And while the cynics might point to the fact that Holbrook have yet to win at all this term (in 14 starts), they are a better side than their league position suggests. Indeed the previous Saturday, they knocked out of the Derbyshire FA Senior County Cup near-neighbours Holbrook Sports, who play a level higher on the non-league ladder.
Despite an awkward pitch, the quality of football from both sides was good. But the main reason Linby had the edge was not only Mann but also a new-look defence that has finally stopped leaking goals for fun.
The return of Matt Peberday and the switch to centre-back of Aaron Ryan was supplemented at Holbrook by the recall of Tom Coupe at left-back and the debut of new signing Mason Frizelle (17-year-old son of ex-Hucknall Town man Paul Frizelle) at right-back.
It meant Marlow and Dakers could, perhaps significantly, concentrate on management duties from the dugout, rather than on the pitch.
And their defensive quartet, backed by another solid display from new ‘keeper Rhys Watkinson, kept a clean sheet in the first half which, although goalless, produced plenty of end-to-end action.
Mann went closest with a shot that was deflected on to the foot of a post. But he made no mistake 12 minutes into the second half when superbly cutting inside his full-back to blast Linby in front with a rocket finish into the top corner.
Holbrook equalised on 73 when left-back Andy Symcox rose highest to meet a free-kick and plant a lovely header in the bottom corner.
But Linby were always creating more chances and clinched only their second win of the season with a goal eight minutes from the end.
Found by a terrific crossfield pass from Ash Winfield, Mann saw his initial shot well saved by home ‘keeper Chris Whiteley. But Matt Murphy picked up the rebound and coolly slipped the ball back to Mann, who unerringly passed the ball into the corner with his left foot.
Now Linby will be praying the result was not a flash in the pan as they entertain Mickleover Royal British Legion at Church Lane this coming Saturday.