Confident Linby Colliery Welfare are in fine fettle as they bid to lift the Dispatch district’s first -- and possibly only -- trophy of the local football season.
Linby take on Bilsthorpe on Thursday night (23rd April) in the final of the Notts FA Intermediate County Cup at the Mansfield Hosiery Mills sports ground in Sutton (kick-off 7.30 pm).
And they could hardly have given themselves a bigger pre-final boost when stunning both the Central Midlands League (CML), South Division champions-elect, Mickleover Royals (2-1), and also high-riding Belper United (2-0) in two of their last three league games.
Linby inflicted only the third defeat of the season on Mickleover to maintain another improved season under managers Dave Marlow and Paul Frizelle and to give them lots of self-belief for what looks sure to be a stiff test on Thursday night.
Bilsthorpe are favourites to land the title in the North Division of the CML. They sit second in the table with games in hand after losing just twice all season and not at all away from home.
Victory for Linby, who will be without key striker Matt Murphy, would earn the history-steeped club their first major honour since 1997.
It would also end a cup-final jinx stretching back 20 years when they lifted this same trophy. Since then, they have been beaten in three finals -- the Notts Senior League’s (NSL) Senior Cup in 2007 and 2012 and this Intermediate Cup in 2008. However, their reserve-team lifted the NSL’s Junior Cup last term and have reached the final of the same tournament this term.
On their way to next Thursday’s showpiece, Linby have knocked out Bawtry Town (4-1), Boots Athletic Reserves (walkover), Dunkirk Reserves (7-1), Bestwood Miners Welfare (3-2) and Sandhurst (3-0). Bilsthorpe have beaten Blidworth Welfare Reserves 1-0, Nottinghamshire 8-0, Underwood Villa 1-0, Kimberley Miners Welfare Reserves 2-0 and Cotgrave 4-2.