A rousing fightback, capped by a brilliant late winner, ensured it wasn’t all doom and gloom over the Bank Holiday weekend for LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE.
Linby might have surrendered their unbeaten start to the campaign in a disappointing defeat against arch rivals, Hucknall Rolls Leisure.
But 48 hours earlier, they had recorded a terrific 3-2 victory at home to Swanwick Pentrich Road, who had thumped mighty Bulwell 3-0 the previous Saturday.
They trailed 1-0 and 2-1 to The Swans. But they snatched the points five minutes from the end when midfielder Aaron Ryan hit a screamer into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The goal sparked jubilant celebrations among the Linby players and managers, who all piled on top of the popular Ryan in a corner of the Church Lane ground.
Adding merit to the win was the fact that Dave Marlow’s squad was stretched to the limit for the match, with no fewer than seven players missing, including four at the Leeds Festival and three on holiday.
In goal, Marlow had to hand a debut to new signing Gary Hickman, whose first taste of the action was picking the ball out of the net in the fifth minute. A cross from the left ricocheted off Swanwick striker Ash Buxton and fell kindly for Matt Phillips to strike from close range.
It took a while for Linby to adapt to the direct style of football preferred by the big, physical Derbyshire visitors. However, they equalised four minutes from the interval when good work by Ben Samuels and Ash Winfield fed the run of Damian Mann, who finished expertly in the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The goal triggered heavy Linby pressure either side of the break, with Joe Butler seeing a header cleared off the line from a Mann free-kick to the far post.
Yet they were undone by a classic counter-attack on 68 minutes when Swans’ substitute Ian Milsom hit a peach of a low shot from well outside the box.
In similar circumstances last term, Linby would almost certainly have folded and lost the game. But with Terry Henshaw and Matt Peberday outstanding at the back, along with Ryan and Winfield in the middle of the park, they showed tremendous, new-found resolve to pin Swanwick back again.
And just six minutes later, they were level thanks to the fifth penalty they have been awarded already this season. Winfield played a ball in to the feet of Matt Murphy, who was clattered from behind by towering centre-back Shane Whitmore. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, from where Murphy beat goalkeeper Adam Jobolonski for his 97th goal in a Linby shirt.
Next up for Marlow’s boys is another local derby -- against Hucknall Town.