THE FORMBOOK was turned on its head as rock-bottom AFC Hucknall came within agonising seconds of a first win of the season in an entertaining derby clash with Linby Colliery Welfare.
Linby came into this Central Midlands League, South Division clash on the crest of a wave having smashed six past Blackwell in their previous outing.
While AFC are rooted to the foot of the table with just one point this season and having conceded 43 goals in 14 matches.
But they were 1-0 up deep into injury time and within sight of that maiden win — despite having been on the back foot for large parts as Linby wasted a hatful of chances.
However, AFC, who are Hucknall Town’s reserve side, couldn’t quite hang on as substitute, player manager Dave Marlow, crossed to Linby skipper and man-of-the-match, Matt Peberday, for his first goal of the season — a looping finish over the ‘keeper.
There was even time for Ashley Winfield to be sent off for a second yellow card to compound a poor day at the office for Linby.
Earlier in the day, Linby looked in the mood for goals but couldn’t quite find the finishing touch as Peberday, Martin Burke, Damien Mann and top scorer Matt Murphy all missed gilt-edged chances.
And they were made to pay on the stroke of half time as AFC took a shock lead.
Linby claimed that in the build-up ‘keeper Jack Harvey was clearly fouled in a challenge with Joe Lomax but the referee waved appeals away and the ball was passed to Adam Moran to tap in despite claims he was clearly offside.
The second half was full of chances for both sides with AFC twice hitting the woodwork — Kamar Davis smashing an effort against a post and Lomax heading against the crossbar. There were also one-on-one opportunities for Jake and Jordan Sanders.
For Linby, Baz Payne headed over the bar, Winfield shot straight at ‘keeper Beddingham in a one-on-one and Mann fired over from just five yards.
But thankfully for them, they were salvaged at the death by Peberday.
For AFC, the turning point was an injury to their most experienced player, former Hucknall Town star Craig Maddison. But they now aim to push on in a bid to grab that elusive first win.
n LINBY LINE-UP — (4-4-2): Harvey/ McShane, Henshaw, Peberday, Dakers/ bradshaw, Winfield, Payne, Burke/ Murphy, Mann. Subs: Jago (for Burke 56), Marlow D. (for Bradshaw 67).