A brace from Hucknall striker Adam Nelson after Joe Ashurst’s opener cancelled out Chris Grady’s free-kick for Linby.
Although the match was anticipated to be an entertaining match between two local rivals, the sudden burst of snow overnight and during the day had turned Watnall Road in to an arctic landscape.
The conditions were not ideal for either team but the match went ahead regardless. Hucknall took the game to Linby from the whistle and were rewarded early on.
Ashurst was quickest to capitalise on a loose ball which rolled to the edge of the box; he curled his effort in to the far-right corner giving Linby keeper Kurtis Hodgkinson no chance at preventing the deadlock being broken.
Hucknall were dominant in the early stages and made Linby pay for their high defensive line as a long through ball made its way through to Nelson who calmly chipped Hodgkinson who came rushing off of his line.
After the first 30 minutes of the game Hucknall seemed to have the game already wrapped up, but midfielder Jordan Phillips gave Linby a chance which they hadn’t had all game.
A free-kick on the edge of the box was expertly taken by Grady and beat Hucknall keeper Tom Watts who was unable to keep the effort out despite his best efforts.
The sides went in at half time at 2-1 with Linby being the happier of the sides to still be within touching distance of their opponents.
Hucknall began the second half with more intensity as forwards Devante Reittie and Matt Brian had a couple of chances which were deflected out for corners or shot wide by themselves.
It was Nelson who came the closest to increasing the Yellows lead as he missed multiple chances after having a goal chalked off for offside. The most shocking miss came from both Nelson and substitute Jamie Crawford in the 70th minute.
Crawford chased a stray through ball and managed to beat the Linby keeper but also managed to shoot off target and on to the post. Second substitute Sam Newton retrieved the ball and squared it to the waiting Nelson on the penalty spot who then proceeded to cannon his strike wide of the goal.
Eventually Hucknall’s bad fortune in front of goal came to an end in the 72nd minute as Nelson atoned for his miss minutes earlier. Crawford delivered a low cross in to the Linby box which Nelson sliced his boot at; the ball looped in to the air and seemed to be going wide but dropped under the cross-bar and past Hodgkinson to make it 3-1.
Despite a late miss from Newton who was one-on-one with the keeper, Hucknall saw the game out with no more causes for concern as they came out as triumphant 3-1 winners on derby day.
The win maintains Hucknall’s hopes at gaining promotion from the Central Midlands Football League South Division. Andy Graves reflected on his sides performance and was concerned at individual errors.
“We deserved the win today,” he said. “The score line should have been a lot more, we were a bit complacent.
“Linby were only ever going to score from a set-piece so I told the team before they went out, no silly free-kicks. Jordan (Phillips) held his hands up at half time and apologised but it gave them a way back in at 2-1.
“To give Linby credit, they will never give up. They kept going and made it tough for us but if we finished our chances we wouldn’t have had any problems.
“Jamie (Crawford) hit the post, our new strikers both missed chances and Adam (Nelson) missed more than I can remember. I thought he was trying his hardest to miss the third goal!
“The conditions didn’t help us but they were the same for both teams. The snow wasn’t ideal but it was the wind which was the real problem.”
And added: “Randall and Tyrell were away today but the lads who came in did their job. Watts came up from the reserves and played well; he couldn’t do anything for the free-kick so I have no criticism of him there.”