Keeping up a run of recent visits to ex mining areas I travelled to the former North Notts Coal Field to see Linby Colliery Welfare play Heanor Town Reserves in the Central Midlands Buckingham Insurance League Cup. To some not a very prestigious piece of silverware but to Linby, the current holders, it means a lot.
Turn off the M1 at junction 28 and head for Hucknall and just before you reach it a turning to Linby will bring you to the pretty village of that name and down Church Lane you will find Linby’s home.
It is less than 4 miles from Newstead Abbey the home of Lord Byron one of our greatest poets but also a revolutionary of his time sticking up for the Luddites and taking part in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman empire for which he is revered in that country. Skip to today and a group of men are discussing the return of Boris Johnson and how he will sort things out. The only thing that I would think they would have in common are their many alleged dalliances.
It was a beautiful day at Linby as some grey cotton wool clouds crept across from the motorway along with the occasional cold burst. This is a picturesque ground with good parking for players officials and the 40 plus fans who came to watch. There were railings round the playing area with concrete hard standing round half the pitch which was a lush green, quite flat with some undulating areas. There is a changing block for the players and a small club house across one corner. No chips here but a welcome coffee and a chat with a referee assessor.
The club house is friendly and the hosts have gone to the trouble of covering the walls with lots of references to the past which I would have read if time had permitted.
Linby Colliery have been going since 1892 and were reformed in 1946 having been dormant since the 1930’s. They were the biggest non-league club in Nottinghamshire until the mid 1950’s. They entertained Gillingham in the FA Cup in 1950 in front of 6585 fans and were watched by 20500 at the city ground in Nottingham when they beat Retford in the Notts Senior Cup Final. After that they spiralled down the pyramid system to a nadir in 2011 when they won only 3 games all season. Since then they have climbed back into the Central Midlands League and have consolidated the clubs foundations and recently extended the playing surface ready for future plans to install new lights and changing area at the Church Lane Ground. They moved into this ground in 1985 taking over the old cricket pitch that had been in use since 1925.
I have written about Heanor before when I visited them right at the start of the year. They too were started in the 19th century (1883) and have been at an even higher level than Linby in the past and had numerous long cup adventures. Their Senior team did not have a game so I wondered whether they may have had a strong team out.
Linby Colliery Welfare 4 Heanor Town Reserves 1
Central Midlands League Buckingham Insurance League Cup 2nd Round
Saturday 22nd October 2022 14.00 pm Church Lane Linby
Linby: Red Shirts with Black shorts Heanor: Black and white vertical stripes on front of shirts with a white back with black shorts.
The first 20 minutes was a competitive battle which the referee controlled with a couple of yellow cards and some harsh words. Linby then took charge and took the lead on 37 minutes when a freekick from the right was curled in and met by Linby’s captain, Gregg Conn whose glancing header beat the goalkeeper for the lead. They maintained their dominance to half time.
Heanor pressed harder in the first 15 minutes of the second half but the home team weathered the storm and on 37 minutes went further ahead when a long kick from the goalkeeper was headed on for number 12, Sam Atkin to run on and place the ball into the net in the middle of the goal.
Worse was to follow for Heanor as only 2 minutes later a defender failed to clear and the ball fell to Tremere Lindo who turned and made it 3 nil. The flurry of activity continued when only 4 minutes later a ball along the ground was turned into the net by a home defender who was under pressure from Heanor players. Heanor now charged forward and somehow one of their players headed wide when scoring was easier and they had a headed goal disallowed. Heanor’s new spirit was extinguished when they had a defender sent off for a reckless trip and the penalty was easily converted by Jamie Thomas.
So Linby went through to the next round and still have a grip on the cup and I would think that Moshin Arshid, the referee, would have had a good assessment.
Linby’s 28 page programme was the best I have seen at this level for a long time.