BRAVE Linby Colliery Welfare didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after holding unbeaten leaders FC Cavaliers to a 1-1 draw in the Notts Senior League’s Senior Division.
The result proved unreservedly that they are genuine contenders for the title — just months after finishing rock-bottom.
But they felt they would have won the match without a couple of “shocking” penalty-decisions by referee Steve Watts that favoured Cavaliers.
The first, in the 53rd minute, gifted the home side their equaliser. No-one saw why Watts pointed to the spot. First he said it was for handball. Then he said it was for a foul by Matt Falconer. But Cavaliers players did not appeal and even experienced Hucknall-based linesman Malc Cassidy failed to spot an infringement.
Tom Simpson duly converted the penalty — and Linby’s sense of injustice was doubled eight minutes from time. Watts awarded Linby a spot-kick of their own for a foul on substitute Damian Mann, only to change his mind under pressure from Cavaliers players who accused him of cheating and surrounded both him and linesman Ian Smith. As uproar raged, Simon Marlow waited four minutes to take the kick before the decision was reversed and a corner given instead.
“It was all quite unbelievable,” said Linby secretary Adrian Ward. “Cavaliers got away with a point when they didn’t really deserve anything.”
Linby’s performance showed how far they have progressed under new managers Dave Bradshaw and Dave Marlow.
They took a deserved lead in the 17th minute when a neat move led to top scorer Matt Murphy turning on the edge of the area to plant a low drive in the bottom corner. And they went on to dominate the first half. Both Ash Winfield and Dave Marlow had efforts cleared off the line.
Cavaliers did force one superb stop from ‘keeper Scott Miles. But even after their equaliser, they were second best as Linby, who unveiled new signing Ricky Hodgson, continued to press. From one Hodgson flick, Johnny Bernard’s first-time volley was brilliantly saved by home goalie Dave Martt.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Miles/ Martin, Peberday (man-of-match), Falconer, Dakers/ Bernard J., Winfield, Marlow S., Potter/ Marlow D., Murphy. Subs: Hodgson (for Murphy 59), Mann (for Potter 75), Howell (for Falconer 79).