Last-minute heartbreak spoiled a stirring fightback by LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE in a classic pre-Christmas clash with fellow high-fliers Pinxton in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Goals by man-of-the-match rookie Ruban Mitchell enabled Linby to recover from 2-0 down. But then as the seconds ticked away towards injury-time, Pinxton caught them on the break and substitute Tom Ellis scrambled home a dramatic goal to give the home side a 3-2 win.
The match had been a cracking advert for the league, with Linby responding well to first-half dominance by their hosts, who seem to be getting stronger by the week.
A side laced with experience included ex-Hucknall Town duo, Jason Fisher in goal and Nathan Hollingworth, and ex-Rainworth Miners Welfare trio, midfielders Daz Bettison and Jimmy Adcock and striker Pete Stubley. And only a string of superb saves by Luca Rocco kept Linby in it for much of the contest.
Dave Marlow’s side did hit the bar with an 18th minute header by Ash Winfield, from a Matt Peberday free-kick. But six minutes later, Pinxton were deservedly in front when Adcock played in Stubley for a one-on-one that he converted after rounding Rocco, despite appeals for offside.
Linby’s best move of the half resulted in a one-on-one of their own, which Rian Charles squandered, shooting just over the bar after a lovely one-two with Ruban Mitchell. But within three minutes of the restart, they were two down as Joe Smith hit a wonder strike that curled into the bottom corner.
More heroics from Rocco prevented more goals as he foiled Adcock and Kurtis Bamford. However, Linby suddenly began to show signs of springing to life, with Kaylum Mitchell firing against a post from a cross by his brother and then bringing two terrific stops from Fisher.
Striker Joe Butler was also thwarted by Fisher before Linby pulled a goal back in the 71st minute when Ruban Mitchell’s pace took him past Hollingworth for a thunderbolt from the edge of the area that crashed in off the bar.
The equaliser came ten minutes later when Butler was pulled back by Pinxton central defender Jake Allen for a penalty that Mitchell smashed home. And Linby could even have snatched a winner of their own when Fisher somehow got a hand to a powerful drive by Tom Coupe, who darted clear after more good work by Butler.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Rocco/ Frizelle M., Peberday, Henshaw, Coupe/ Mitchell R., Ryan, Winfield, Charles/ Butler J., Mitchell K. SUBS: Fox Miller, Loydall, Marlow D.