Linby primed for decisive title-test

FLASH in the pan — or genuine contenders for the title? That’s what early-season upstarts LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE will find out when they face their biggest test of the season so far.

Linby have done amazingly well to win eight of their opening ten games in the Notts Senior League’s (NSL) Senior Division — after failing to pick up even eight points last term.

But now it’s crunch time for the new management regime of Dave Bradshaw and Dave Marlow.

For on Saturday October 22, Linby travel to meet unbeaten leaders FC Cavaliers in the biggest match of the NSL campaign so far.

The locals’ form is not exactly sparkling at present. For after two successive defeats, they struggled to beat bottom-of-the-table Vernon Villa last Saturday.

But at least they returned to winning ways, hitting back from a goal down to triumph 2-1 thanks to goals in the last 20 minutes.

A shock result was on the cards until leading scorer and man-of-the-match Matt Murphy conjured up a wonder goal to equalise, twisting and turning 30 yards out before unleashing a rasping shot into the top corner.

Tails up, Linby went for the winner — and found it five minutes later when a dangerous cross to the far post by Jonathan Dakers was handled by a Vernon defender and up stepped Simon Marlow to plant the spot-kick.

It had been a penalty that had given the home team the lead on the half-hour when the referee spotted a mysterious push from a free-kick, enabling Sean Todd to convert against his former club.

However the goal came totally against the run of play as Linby dominated possession and created a raft of chances, despite a hard, bobbly surface.

Time and again, they were denied by some wonderful saves by Vernon ‘keeper Richard Butcher, while Ash Winfield and Dave Marlow had efforts cleared off the line and Matt Peberday had a screamer disallowed.

Butcher’s stops included one-on-ones that foiled Mark Jago and Simon Marlow. And amazingly, in the dying minutes, two more one-on-ones were wasted by Murphy and Dave Marlow.

LINBY LINE-UP (4-5-1) — Miles/ Jago, Howell, Peberday, Dakers/ Bradshaw, Winfield, Falconer, Marlow S., Marlow D./ Murphy. Subs: Bernard J. (for Falconer 55), Martin (for Howell 55), O’Neill.