Despite a good display, Linby Colliery were beaten 1-0 by a late goal at Central Midlands League South Division leaders Eastwood Community on a wet and windy Wednesday night.
The pitch was very boggy and heavy, but Linby played some wonderful passing football and should have had the game sewn up by half-time.
Again, it was a catalogue of missed chances which cost Linby getting anything out of the game.
After two minutes, good work from Jack Millward and Rian Charles set Matt Murphy up for a great chance, but he put the ball a foot over the bar.
Three minutes later Charles and Joe Butler combined to put Ruban Mitchell in one-on-one, but a great save from Eastwood keeper Andy Fretwell denied Linby. Another sweet Linby move on 10 minutes saw Butler’s powerful shot from 24 yards out brilliantly saved by Fretwell. Butler saw another chance well saved by Fretwell on 17 minutes.
On the half-hour mark another excellent Linby move ended with Murphy’s shot being saved well by Fretwell. Linby opened up Eastwood again six minutes later, Butler in one-on-one, but yet again Fretwell pulled off a tremendous save.
By half-time you could forgive anyone in the large crowd of 130 who thought it was Linby who sat top of the table.
Eastwood came into the game more in the second half with the introduction of former Hucknall Town player Warren Hatfield and recent new signing from Heanor, Anton Daniels.
On 66 minutes Luca Rocco made a good save from a Daniels header before Hatfield hit the Linby bar.
But on 78 minutes came the only goal of the game as the home team caught Linby on the break and Daniels hit a wonderful finish to beat Rocco.
Still Linby had chances to salvage a draw. On a mazy run that saw him beat three men, Butler shot inches too high on 80minutes.
A minute later sub Damo Mann had a good chance at the far post, but his powerful shot flew a foot wide of the target.
On 85minutes Rocco made a great save to deny the home team a second goal, tipping the ball onto the bar, and a minute later Mann’s free kick was tipped over the bar by Fretwell with a very good save
Two minutes from time Ruban Mitchell’s well-flighted free kick into the area, sat up begging for a Linby player to score, but in the scramble nobody could apply the vital touch.