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Cottesmore score seven goals in away success at Thurnby Rangers in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division

Manager Rich Giblin believes the variety of attacking options in his Cottesmore side has added an extra dimension to their game this season as five different marksmen found the net in Saturday’s 7-2 success at Thurnby Rangers.

Top scorer Tom Pope was back on the goal trail with a hat-trick haul while Wilson Iron, Colton Cropper, Harry Stannard and Tom Atkins were also on target in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division victory.

Cottesmore are now the second highest goalscorers in the division after hitting 57 goals in 18 games to remain hot on the heels of league leaders Allexton.

Tom Pope hit a hat-trick for Cottesmore. Photo: Rob Campion (28927970)
Tom Pope hit a hat-trick for Cottesmore. Photo: Rob Campion (28927970)

The prolific pairing of Pope and Stannard have 39 goals between them – 23 and 16 respectively – while skipper Jordan Smith and penalty king Cropper are both closing in on double figures.

Giblin said: “It’s great that we’re not relying on just one player to score all the goals. We’ve got goals all through the team.

“We were really pleased to see Tom start scoring again on Saturday but, unlike last season when the goals dried up for us while he was out injured, someone else has always stepped up this season which has been a big thing.

“Other teams in the league are probably having to rely on one player to score most of their goals, but we’re spreading them around.”

Cottesmore were ahead inside the opening minute of Saturday’s clash at Thurnby which laid the foundations for their victory.

It was the perfect start to dampen the enthusiasm of the home side who were playing on the newly-named Pat Darby pitch which was dedicated to the Thurnby club stalwart at their Daykn Road ground.

Smith fluffed an early corner but the ball was played straight back to the Cottesmore captain whose cross was spilled by the home goalkeeper to give Stannard an easy tap-in.

The lead was doubled shortly after when Iron and Pope linked up with well with their top scorer turning provider for Iron to fire home into the bottom corner.

A third goal followed just before the half-hour mark when Stannard set up strike partner Pope who shrugged off his recent run of bad luck in front of goal with a fine finish to put Cottesmore in control of the contest.

Luke Smith battles for the ball. Photo: Rob Campion (28927973)
Luke Smith battles for the ball. Photo: Rob Campion (28927973)

However, they took their foot of the gas and allowed Thurnby back into the contest with a double strike before half-time.

Cottesmore were sloppy in possession and Thurnby took advantage to cut the deficit before a cross into the penalty area wasn’t dealt with by the visitors to hand the hosts their second goal.

The visitors rallied themselves again at half-time and a fourth goal early in the second half put them back in control of proceedings.

Harry Sabberton was sent tumbling in the box and Cropper converted the resultant penalty for his 19th consecutive successful spot kick conversion.

That effectively killed the contest and Pope pocketed their fifth goal when Smith’s shot fell invitingly for the Cottesmore frontman to score.

Pope then completed his hat-trick with a stinging strike for Cottesmore’s sixth before he teed up substitute Atkins to round off the scoring spree with a powerful finish as the hosts finished the match with 10 men following a sending off.

Colton Cropper, who scored from the penalty spot, evades a Thurnby challenge. Photo: Rob Campion (28927967)
Colton Cropper, who scored from the penalty spot, evades a Thurnby challenge. Photo: Rob Campion (28927967)

Giblin added: “Thurnby are never an easy team to play against because they are physical and always in your face.

“They were clearly up for it and wanted to mark the pitch naming with a win, but our early goal took the sting out of the game.

“We scored three goals in 30 minutes, but then had 15 minutes of madness when everything looked different for some reason.

“I don’t know whether we thought the game was over because we had scored three goals but it is something we need to work on as every team in this league will make it difficult for you if you’re not on your game.

“We regrouped at half-time and it was a completely different ball game in the second half. We were first to everything.”

Cottesmore: Egner, L Smith, Denigan, Bendle, Cropper, Robson, Iron, Sabberton, Pope, Stannard, J Smith. Subs used: Atkins, Lomas. Not used: Wilke.

Cottesmore continue their run of away games on Saturday when they travel to fourth-placed Sileby Town.

That’s followed by away trips to third-placed Friar Lane & Epworth and Blaby Whetstone, who are fifth, in the coming weeks.

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