Two wonder goals radically changed the course of the last local derby of the Central Midlands League season -- and hurtled HUCKNALL ROLLS LEISURE towards a terrific 4-1 victory over LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE.
For the first 20 minutes in front of a crowd of 110 at Church Lane, Linby threatened to give Rolls the runaround. Playing some slick football, they created three gilt-edged chances that should have given them control of the game.
All three fell to the talented, young Mitchell brothers as Ruban drove against the bar and also put a volley inches over, while Kaylum was also foiled by the bar.
However, it was Rolls who snatched the lead with what was, literally, a bolt from the blue -- burly striker Jack Smith lashing home a 20-yard shot with the outside of his right foot. And only two minutes later, they doubled their advantage with another inspired strike -- this time from captain-for-the-day Greg Conn, who found the top corner from 25 yards.
Just as important as the goals was Rolls’s decision to drop one of their midfield men, Johnny ‘Hot Dog’ Buckley, into a deeper role to protect the back three and stifle the supply-line to and support for Linby’s influential striker Joe Butler.
The game was turned its head and as The Rollers rampaged, Jack Allen drove over when he should have scored and then swivelled for a fine effort that struck the base of a post.
By the time they did make it 3-0 five minutes into the second period, it was game over. Conn struck again, finding himself unmarked to tap home an Allen nod-down.
Linby pulled one back on 64 when Damian Mann’s free-kick was neatly headed home by Ash Winfield. But within minutes, Rolls had added a fourth as centre-back Matt Peberday and goalkeeper Luca Rocco failed to deal with a long ball. Rocco hauled down Allen for a penalty that Chay Bettridge planted perfectly. It could even have been five as Rory Smith blasted against a post from close range late on.
The match was marred by news that Rolls have been deducted six points and Linby four after the resignation from the league of Harrowby Saints, whose results have been expunged.
LINE-UP -- LINBY (4-4-1-1) -- Rocco/ Frizelle M., Peberday, Loydall, Henshaw/ Mitchell K., Ryan, Winfield, Mann/ Mitchell R./ Butler. SUBS USED: Charles, McDermott, Chapman.
ROLLS (3-4-1-2) -- Walker/ Brooks, Ducna, Marshall/ Smith R., Conn, Buckley, Matthews K./ Bettridge/ Smith J., Allen J. SUBS USED: Haskey, Wright J., Rick.