Even a rain shower couldn’t cool the fiery temperature on the pitch as 10 man Blidworth came away with a 2-0 win against Linby Colliery at Church Lane in Saturday’s league opener.
Two sensational strikes from Josh Brentnall sealed the win in a game which saw Aidy Harris sent off for a raking tackle in the first half.
The usual excitement that flourishes during the first game of the season was intensified by the backstory that Lewis Saxby and his players was returning to the team they left only weeks ago.
After the game, Blidworth manager Lewis Saxby said: “I’m happy to start the season with a win. We knew the game would have an edge but we showed character to hold out with ten men for 50 minutes.
“It won’t be an easy ground to come to this season and come away with three points, i’m happy we’ve been able to come away with the win.”
The first real chance came after 10 minutes when Blidworth captain Aidy Harris was able to connect to a knock down in the box following a long throw from James Vickers. The shot against his old side could only fly over.
Two minutes later, the away side were denied by the woodwork. An Aaron Pride corner was swung in from the left side and towering defender Jonathan Jenkinson was able to rise up to meet the ball in the middle but could only see his header rattle off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared from danger.
Another Aaron Pride corner soon after ended with a different result. Instead of firing it into the box, the ball was played to Josh Brentnall on the edge of the area, the forward was able to take a touch before firing past the outrushing defenders with the ball smashing into the top left corner.
Just after the half hour mark, the player’s passions nearly overflowed with Sean White and Jonathan Drake getting booked for each side respectively in the aftermath of a freekick awarded for a foul on Linby’s Stef Cobb. The resulting freekick was curled over the top by Tremere Lindo from the right side of the box.
Six minutes before the break Blidworth were reduced to ten men whilst simultaneously winning a freekick.
Aidy Harris showed good feet to trickle past the challenge of a couple of defenders before the referee deemed the captain had scraped the back of an opposition’s leg in his attempts to keep the ball. He instantly showed the player a red card.
The last action of the half saw Lewis Weaver dance past a defender before firing a shot through a crowd which forced a save from Dan Bowdler. Aaron Pride blasted the follow up shot wide but his blushes were saved by the linesman’s flag for offside.
It was Weaver who had the first chance following the break too, the winger cut inside from the left side and forced another save from Bowdler. Josh Brentnall was able to follow up with another shot which was blocked by a diving defender.
Josh Brentnall doubled his tally in the 50th minute with another brilliant strike. The attacker received the ball on the right side before unleashing a thunderbolt from 25 yard out that flew in over Bowdler’s head.
A long Jake Batty freekick was driven into the box from the far right side for Linby in the 59th minute but no one was able to get on the end of it as it went straight out the back on the opposite side.
This was followed up by Linby’s best chance of the second half as a long ball into the box was flicked towards the corner of goal by Will Spray. The big defender was denied by the brilliant reactions of Michael Ball who’s diving stop tipped the ball past the post.
Michael Ball was back in the thick of it late on as he was barged into his net after coming out to collect a long Mark Poyser cross into the box. The keeper was also involved in the last action of the game as he stretched up to tip over a long range Tremere Lindo strike.
Pic by Ellena Hutchinson