THE remarkable start to the new season by revitalised LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE was finally brought to an end in the Notts Senior League’s Senior Division.
After a run of seven straight wins under new managers Dave Bradshaw and Dave Marlow, Linby lost 2-0 at home to fellow high-fliers Gedling Southbank.
And the defeat was enough to knock them off the top of the table, leaving the new leaders, FC Cavaliers, as the only unbeaten team in the division.
Having celebrated a famous victory over local-derby rivals, Hucknall Rolls Leisure, the previous Saturday. It was a classic case of After The Lord Mayor’s Show for Linby.
Another sizeable crowd of 135 turned up at Church Lane — only for the locals to turn in a lacklustre performance against a team strongly fancied to be challenging for the title.
Southbank set their stall out to stifle the tabletoppers, with no-nonsense centre-back Gaz Wright orchestrating a very solid back four.
The upshot was first-half stalemate in which the two teams cancelled each other out.
Only one presentable chance was created as a long kick by Linby ‘keeper Scott Miles was flicked on by Matt Murphy for assistant player/manager Dave Marlow, whose one-on-one effort was well saved by Scott Clay.
The second period began in a similarly cagey fashion, with Linby trying to play from the back and Southbank preferring a more direct route. And with an over-fussy referee adding to the frustration, lacing his display with constant lectures and a rash of yellow cards, the match struggled to spring into life.
Visiting full-back Ali West clipped the bar for Southbank from 25 yards before, at the other end, midfielder Ash Winfield was six inches too high with a soaring header from a free-kick by Aaron Potter.
The match looked all over a goalless draw until the visitors made the breakthrough 13 minutes from the end — experienced striker Justin Evans finishing well after combining with fellow substitute Patrick Bakone.
Linby responded by leaving just three at the back, sacrificing centre-back Matt Falconer and sending on substitute Jonty Bradshaw. And they went close when Murphy drove narrowly over the bar.
But as the game became more and more stretched, Southbank not only sealed the points with a second goal but also missed a penalty.
The spot-kick was earned by the electric pace of Congolese frontman Bakone — but brilliantly saved by man-of-the-match Miles. And the goal, on 88, was scored by Tristan Rhodes, who rounded off a fast counter-attack.
But in between, Linby still had their chances to save the game — never more so than when Winfield crashed a 25-yarder off the underside of the bar.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Miles/ Jago, Peberday, Howell, Dakers/ Marlow D., Marlow S., Winfield, Potter/ Mann, Murphy. Subs: Falconer (for Howell 5), Bradshaw (for Falconer 78), O’Neill, Price.