Linby on mission to finish third

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THEY’RE counting down the days at LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE to their big Notts Senior League, Senior Cup semi-final in mid-April.

But they’re also determined to finish third in the league — and went a little way towards achieving that aim by holding one of their main high-riding rivals, Awsworth Villa, to a 1-1 draw.

Linby remain three points behind Awsworth with seven to play. But they have a game in hand and appear to have the easier run-in.

In a match of two halves, Dave Bradshaw and Dave Marlow’s team dominated the first and almost took a 17th minute lead when man-of-the-match Aaron Ryan’s header was brilliantly saved by home ‘keeper Jake Watson.

Against the run of play, Awsworth stole the lead on 30 when Keiran Saxton’s 14-yard shot just beat Scott Miles. But Linby’s response was instant and they were level a minute later as a cross by feisty full-back Jonathan Dakers was headed down by Matt Murphy for strike partner Damian Mann, whose unstoppable half-volley from 12 yards hit the roof of the net.

Mann had to go off injured soon after the interval. But that allowed Linby to introduce their latest high-profile new signing in Baz Payne from Retford United.

Payne had an immediate impact, forcing Watson into a couple of saves and then flicking on for Murphy, whose shot was tipped on to the bar by the ‘keeper.

But it’s fair to say that Awsworth had the better of the second period and were unlucky not to bag the winner in the 72nd minute when a rasping 30-yard shot from striker Chris Henson rattled the Linby bar.

The locals continued to pose problems of their own and had strong claims for a penalty rejected when Jonty Bradshaw appeared to be pulled back by left-back John Hughes as he burst into the area.

But an entertaining contest finished with the home side, through Henson, being denied by the woodwork for a second time.

LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Miles/ Marlow D., Jago, Ball, Dakers/ Bradshaw J., Ryan, Winfield, Marlow S./ Mann, Murphy. Subs: Payne (for Mann 55), Howell (for Jago 73), Hodgson (for Bradshaw 82), O’Neill.