A solitary penalty was all that separated two clubs steeped into Nottinghamshire non-league tradition when they contested the rarest of head-to-heads at Church Lane.
It was the first time for no fewer than 58 years that Eastwood’s top team had visited LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE. But Eastwood Community, founded from the ashes of multiple Notts FA Senior Cup winners Eastwood Town, played their part in a hard-fought Central Midlands League, South Division game watched by a crowd of almost 100.
Having stunned Bulwell to gain their long-awaited first win of the season the previous week, bottom-of-the-table Eastwood also provided further evidence of steady improvement in their debut campaign.
But the points stayed in Linby, courtesy of a 17th minute spot-kick, converted by young Ruban Mitchell. And few were denying that it wasn’t a stonewall penalty either as Tom Coupe was brought down when the visitors failed to clear a Mitchell free-kick swung into the box.
In their first match without star striker Matt Murpohy, who is on a travelling expedition to Thailand and New Zealand, Linby’s performance was solid, rather than spectacular, against a team whose confidence is growing every week.
Inspired by outstanding man-of-the-match Aaron Ryan in midfield, they created several more presentable chances and should have won the game more easily. But credit must also go to Eastwood, who were well organised and always a threat with their brand of direct football. Indeed Linby’s back four of Mason Frizelle, Matt Peberday, Callum Loydall and Terry Henshaw had to show lots of resolve to keep them at bay.
Of those other chances that went begging, the pick fell to Coupe, Joe Butler and Kyle McDermott, whose shots were cleared off the line. Visiting ‘keeper Andy Fretwell also pulled off fine saves to deny the same trio, while his opposite number, Luca Rocco, produced a wonderful stop to tip over Eastwood’s best opening from a free-kick.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-1-1) -- Rocco/ Frizelle M., Peberday, Loydall, Henshaw/ McDermott, Charles, Ryan, Coupe/ Mitchell R./ Butler. SUBS USED: Mitchell K. (for Coupe 62), Samuels (for Charles 78).