JUST when they thought they had rubberstamped their status as title contenders, LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE suffered a shock setback in the Notts Senior League’s Senior Division.
A draw away to runaway leaders FC Cavaliers the previous Saturday had underlined the resounding improvement made by Linby under new bosses Dave Bradshaw and Dave Marlow.
So few saw this coming — a bad 2-0 reverse at home to lowly Magdala Amateurs, whom they had already beaten twice this term, in the league and the county cup.
OK, Linby were enraged by several controversial decisions by the referee and his linesmen. They claimed they were denied four certain penalties, including three in the last 15 minutes.
But there were few excuses for a worryingly poor performance against a team who had won just one of their previous 11 matches this term. Not even the absences of three key players in new signing Ricky Hodgson (injured), Aaron Potter (injured) and Ash Winfield (holiday) could mask the disappointment.
Magdala were ahead from the 12th minute when Tom Haw beat everybody to a free-kick and saw his flicked header loop into the net.
Linby responded by creating a handful of chances, most of which were well saved by visiting ‘keeper Glen Morley. But two minutes from the break, their injury concerns deepened when centre-back Matt Falconer limped off and two minutes after the break, they were made to pay for failing to convert an equaliser as Magdala caught them on the counter and netted a second goal through Mark Curry.
The frustrated home team were then left with an even bigger mountain to climb when Falconer’s replacement, substitute Matt Peberday, was sent off after a tackle on a Magdala forward, which led to a clash between the two players. While Falconer was shown a straight red card, his rival escaped with yellow. And yet, even with ten men, Linby pinned the visitors back and should have salvaged something from the game.
Amazingly, the officials failed to act when Morley twice appeared to kick striker Damian Mann in the face and also when a cross by Jonty Bradshaw seemed to be handled in the area. Fans, including neutrals, were convinced that all three should have led to spot-kicks.
LINBY LINE-UP (4-4-2) — Miles/ Jago, Howell, Falconer, Dakers/ Bradshaw J., Marlow D. (man-of-match), Marlow S., Bernard J./ Mann, Murphy. Subs: Peberday (for Falconer 43), Ingram (for Bernard 53), Martin (not used).