Linby’s transformation achieves points milestone

STANDING TALL -- Linby's gangly striker Joe Butler (left) scored two more goals.
STANDING TALL -- Linby's gangly striker Joe Butler (left) scored two more goals.

The terrific transformation at LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE achieved a major milestone with their latest victory in the Central Midlands League’s South Division.

For their 3-1 success away to youthful Grantham outfit, Harrowby Saints, means they now have more points than they mustered throughout the whole of last term.

Linby collected only 21 points when they finished next to bottom in the table in 2013/14. Now they sit proudly in fourth position with a 50% strike rate from their opening 14 fixtures.

It was a good, polished performance, derailed only by a couple of over-zealous tackles early in the game by Saints’ sinner Luke Peberdy. The first forced midfielder Ash Winfield to limp off, while the second, on Tom Coupe, won Peberdy a belated yellow card.

From then on, Linby slowly gained control of the action, despite a heavy pitch, and they almost took the lead on 27 minutes when a cross by Joe Butler was inadvertently diverted on to his own post by home centre-back Sean Dakin.

Linby, and Butler, didn’t have to wait too long for the breakthrough, however. Eight minutes into the second half, Matt Murphy played a lovely pass inside the full-back for Kyle McDermott, whose driven cross was expertly half-volleyed into the bottom corner by the young striker.

Moments later, only brilliant saves by Harrowby goalkeeper Jack Nason denied both Butler and Kaylum Mitchell further goals. So it was against the run of play when the home side equalised in the 67th minute. Goalkeeper Luca Rocco did save the initial shot from Jack Millward, only for for his fellow countryman, Gianfranco Ciaurro, to pick up the pieces and drive home from the edge of the area.

Linby needed only three minutes to regain their lead. Outstanding work by man-of-the-match Butler saw him beat two men and centre for Kaylum Mitchell to turn and drill home all in one movement for a superb finish.

The roles were reversed on 76 when Kaylum Mitchell put Butler away with a fantastic through-ball that was clipped past the advancing Nason. And a fine afternoon’s work was completed late on when Rocco produced a top-drawer fingertip save to keep out a 25-yard free-kick from Ciaurro.

LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) -- Rocco/ Loydall C., Peberday, Henshaw, Coupe/ Mitchell K., Mitchell R., Winfield, McDermott/ Murphy, Butler. SUBS: Charles (for Winfield 18), Miller (for Murphy 80), Marlow D.