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7.2 C

Match Report: Linby CW FC 3 – 0 Arnold Town

Former Arna players Jack Smith and Joe Butler (2) got themselves on the score sheet to hand the Eagles a new year derby defeat


Former Arna players Jack Smith and Joe Butler (2) got themselves on the score sheet to hand the Eagles a new year derby defeat at a bright sunny Church Lane where a crowd well in excess of 100 were on hand to witness a fairly underwhelming encounter. 

Arnold‘s starting line up featured four changes from their previous game at Cromford with James Jackson, Matty Hubbard, Craig Taylor and Jamie Royle making way for Billy Bradley, Tremere Lindo, Dan Chambers and Tyler Cobb. Meanwhile on the bench the Eagles had four players all about to make their Arna debuts with Darnel Beeson having recently joined from Ashland Rovers and teenagers Max Elliott, Owen Crofts and Charlie Perkins-Rudd all stepping up from the U18s following an inter-squad friendly at Eagle Valley the previous Saturday. 

The Eagles made a sluggish start to the game which to be frank they found difficult to rise from for much of the remainder of the afternoon. Former Arnold striker Joe Butler on the other hand was quick to cause problems, firstly sneaking past Adam Clift on the left in the 3rd minute to get away his first shot on target and then a minute or so later bursting past the visiting defence on the right with his effort this time glancing off the cross bar.

After a period of midfield stale mate involving some sturdy tackles from both sides Linby keeper Jack Walker was finally brought into meaningful action approaching the quarter hour mark. A well nudged ball by Billy Bradley released Tremere Lindo into the area and his low strike was smothered quickly by Walker.

Linby then applied pressure at the other end without conjuring up any real threat before Arnold had their best chance of the game on 20 mins. Tyler Cobb, who was doing his best to light a spark down the right flank, ran at the Linby defence and with nothing much happening in the middle concentrated on winning a corner. His subsequent near post delivery was well met by Lenny Jenkins but sadly the defender’s header flew inches wide of the right hand post. 

Minutes later a big miss at the other end as Linby’s right winger Archie Brown fought his way to the line before putting the ball on a plate for Joe Butler in the centre of the box but the tall striker somehow managed to drag his shot wide of the left hand post when it looked far easier to find the net. 

Brown’s Arna counter part Tyler Cobb was soon causing similar mischief at the other end this time a flighted ball across the goal proved just too high for Dan Chambers to climb sufficiently  enough to direct a serious header towards the target from a yard or so out. 

These opportunities aside the first half was turning out to be quite a pedestrian affair with neither side really managing to get a firm grip on the game. However, one further exchange of chances was to occur as we headed towards the break which would end with Arnold gifting their hosts a lead. 

Arnold began their best move of the match with Chambers sending out a pass to Bradley wide on the left. Arna’s elected MotM Bradley then exchanged a one two with Lindo before the former delivered a well aimed cross towards Cobb who managed to direct his header goal wards under pressure from the defence but the ball once again fell the wrong side of the post.

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Minutes before the interval the Eagles shot themselves in the foot when a high ball dropping into a crowded six yard box was totally misjudged by keeper Strycharz who ended up with the ball loose beneath him triggering a race between two nearby Linby strikers which Jack Smith won to gleefully nudge the ball home.

A true sucker punch to send Arnold into the changing rooms a goal down after a less than thrilling 45 minutes in which neither side had really done enough to deserve the advantage. 

Now kicking towards the Church end the Eagles started the second half in brighter fashion and were beginning to look a little more threatening with Lindo, Cobb, Chambers and Jake Ogden (in his 50th appearance for the Eagles) all trying to create some much needed danger around the Linby area.

Ten minutes into the half Lindo delivered a good looking free kick in from the right giving Cobb an opportunity to head for goal but the ball ended up bouncing atop Walker’s cross bar. 

On the hour mark the first of the teenage trio Max Elliott was introduced in place of Lewis Radford and the youngster didn’t waste much time getting involved in the game looking quite at home in a rather feisty midfield environment. 

Just as Arnold were starting to enjoy the balance of play and beginning to look capable to forcing their way back into the game they unfortunately handed out another gift of a goal to their hosts with 68 mins on the clock.

PHOTO: Jim Bethell

Without any real threat of danger evident in Arnold’s penalty area centre half Lenny Jenkins delivered a somewhat over enthusiastic nudge in the back of his opponent openly inviting him to make a hearty meal of the collision and thus obtain the ref’s full blessing for a spot kick. Centre forward Joe Butler stepped up and delivered an unstoppable pen which flew into the extreme bottom left hand corner of the net to give Linby a fortunate 2-0 lead not entirely of their own making. 

The set-back pretty much put paid to any thoughts of an Arna comeback and whilst admittedly from a pretty low bar the remainder of the game was made more interesting for the Arna faithful because of the chance to view the three Under 18 players as they each gave a pretty good account of themselves.

In a way the capitulating derby defeat was made a little more palatable by the arrival of a “proper” third goal for Linby. Whilst possibly on the down slope of his career Welfare’s Joe Butler was literally head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch today. Joe left Eagle Valley on 19 goals for the Arna just one below our “20 Goal” honours board and he wrapped things up this afternoon with a terrific solo effort. 

Taking possession of the ball on the left wing Butler, accompanied by a succession of yellow shirts took the ball almost all the way across Arnold’s area. Just before he got to the end he quickened his pace a touch swivelled his body weight back towards goal and drilled home a low shot to find pretty much the same spot his penalty conversion had ended up earlier in the piece. 

Not a great day for the Arna….except for the encouragement provided by our new teenage recruits who on today’s evidence all appeared more than worthy of further opportunities at senior level.

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