Two goals in the final 40 SECONDS by teenage striker Joe Butler grabbed LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE a remarkable victory over defending champions Clifton All Whites in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.
Linby’s veteran secretary Ady Ward declared: “I have never seen anything like it in 35 years of watching local football.”
His side were trailing 1-0 as a tight contest entered its final minute of injury-time. They had played well and deserved at least a draw, but Clifton looked as if they had pinched it.
Suddenly, substitute Tom Coupe escaped down the left for a cross that found fellow sub Damian Mann. Although Mann’s shot was parried by ‘keeper Olly Mason, the ball came back to him and he picked out Butler, who calmly tapped home from three yards for an equaliser.
Angry Clifton thought Butler had been offside -- and they were still protesting when they kicked off again. The ball was played back to a defender, only for Butler, who had run his socks off all day, to block his attempted clearance.
As the ball looped up in the air, the beanpole striker engineered himself a one-on-one and calmly lifted a shot over the onrushing Mason for a dramatic winner.
Cue pandemonium as the 19-year-old Butler is mobbed by players, all of Linby’s bench and even some supporters in the Church Lane crowd of 75.
Linby had done it. They had beaten Clifton for the first time in seven matches, spanning three seasons, and they had moved back into the top five of the table.
In the first half, there had been little sign of what was to follow. A cagey duel of few clearcut chances was notable mainly for another lung-bursting performance in midfield for Linby by 17-year-old Rian Charles, who nullified Clifton’s dangerman, Craig Anderson.
But it was Clifton who opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Sam Leggitt found ex-Bulwell striker Scott Litchfield, whose shot from the edge of the area took two deflections and nestled in the bottom corner.
A new referee took over for the second period because the original one, Richard Eley, was feeling unwell. However, Linby also found themselves in need of a tonic when Ruban Mitchell’s shot was cleared off the line and Frizelle headed inches over.
Despite piling forward, they couldn’t break through, and were almost caught on the counter when an effort by another former Bulwell man, Alan Jeffries, was superbly saved by ‘keeper Luca Rocco.
Linby also had two shouts for penalties rejected, and as the finale grew more tense, Clifton were shown two yellow cards for time wasting. However, nothing could compare to the drama lying in wait....