CONFIDENT LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE underlined their strength in depth when taming long-time leaders FC Cavaliers in their penultimate game of the Notts Senior League, Senior Division season.
Cavaliers have been in meltdown since surrendering their 25-match unbeaten record, and their title challenge, to Bulwell. Indeed this was their fifth successive defeat.
But Linby still deserve huge credit for the 4-2 victory because they were without several key players.
Goalkeeper Scott Miles missed his first match of the season, much sought-after striker Baz Payne was on holiday, Matt Peberday was away in Amsterdam, joint manager Dave Marlow was injured and influential Aaron Ryan pulled up lame in the pre-match warm-up.
Somehow Linby still had enough class to take the game to the once runaway top dogs and eased into a 2-0 lead by half-time.
Simon Marlow broke the deadlock on 33 when heading a cross into the bottom corner after a sublime piece of skill on the left flank by Damian Mann.
And seven minutes later, man-of-the-match Matt Murphy added another peach of a goal to his repertoire when turning his man to drill home a superb left-footer from 18 yards.
If Murphy’s first goal was good, his second was outstanding as, again, he spun his marker to fire an unstoppable drive into the top corner from 25 yards.
After two more Linby chances, brilliantly saved by ‘keeper Dave Martt, Cavaliers somehow found a way back into the game with a couple of goals inside three minutes.
First a shot by Winnie Brown took a deflection past stand-in goalie Glenn Guyatt. And then a back-post free-kick was nodded in by centre-back Ryan Martt.
But the scoreline was soon given a more realistic look — and one that reflected a superb team-performance by Linby. Cultured central defender Mark Jago started a move that ended with Murphy’s shot being saved by Martt and Jonny Bernard gobbling up the rebound.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Guyatt/ Endy T., Jago, Ball, Dakers/ Bradshaw J., Winfield, Marlow S., Mann/ Murphy, Bernard J. Subs: Howell (for Dakers 86), Clarke (for Bernard 87), Prewett, Briody.