Cottesmore beat Barlestone St Giles in Leicestershire League Premier Divison clash despite losing goalkeeper Jonny Hotson to injury
Cottesmore manager Rich Giblin admitted his side’s latest success was a bitter-sweet victory as their excellent winning run continued at Westray Park on Saturday.
Their 1-0 triumph over Barlestone St Giles in the Leicestershire Senior Premier Division was their eighth successive league victory and cemented their grip on third spot.
But it came at a huge cost as goalkeeper Jonny Hotson suffered a broken arm and now faces up to three months on the sidelines.
Hotson had an operation this week to have his arm pinned and plated after shattering his ulna bone and dislocating his elbow following a first half collision.
Cottesmore had already lost Tom Bendle to a hamstring injury before regaining their composure to emerge victorious through Harry Sabberton’s solitary strike.
Giblin said: “It was a real battle and we had to overcome two early setbacks which really knocked the wind out of our sails.
“We were all gutted for Jonny because he’s been a big part of what we’ve achieved this season and he’s a lovely lad to have around the place.
“We were a bit shaken and I was just happy to get to half-time a goal ahead.
“The second half was a real midfield battle so it was another good three points.
“We’re really pleased with where we are in the league, but Saturday was a bitter-sweet victory overall.”
Cottesmore were boosted by the return of top scorer Tom Pope who had been rested for the midweek Beacon Hill League Cup victory over Sileby Town.
There was also a start for Shaun Dennigan with Darren Wilke on the substitutes’ bench after struggling with a knock in recent weeks.
Barlestone, who are one of only two sides to beat Cottesmore in the league this season, showed their intent from the start with a series of strong challenges to try and disrupt the home side’s usual flowing football.
After the double injury setback of losing both Bendle and Hotson, they brought on Wilke at centre-back with Wilson Iron being introduced at wing-back due to Colton Cropper taking on the goalkeeping duties.
Having taken time to regroup, they shrugged off the adversity of the injury blow by taking the lead.
Tom Atkins refused to give up the chase after a ball had been launched forward and he was rewarded by keeping it in play and knocking it across the box for the incoming Sabberton to slot home from close range.
The second half saw clear-cut chances at a premium for both sides with Cropper well protected by his Cottesmore colleagues.
He was forced into one testing stop which he held onto well after a shot from distance before the hosts created a late chance to wrap up the win.
Pope was through on goal and, despite being fouled by a Barlestone defender, he managed to stay on his feet to get away a shot which the keeper saved.
The Cottesmore frontman was first to the rebound which was headed clear off the line before the Barlestone goalkeeper smothered the ball to deny the hosts from extending their advantage.
However, they were able to see out the final throes and secure another league win on a remarkable run which has seen them lose just three Premier Division matches since the middle of January.
Cottesmore: Hotson (Iron), L Smith, Dennigan, Bendle (Wilke), Cropper, Robson, Sabberton, Atkins, Pope, Stannard, J Smith. Sub not used: Lomas.
Cottesmore are without a match this weekend, but return to Premier Division action on December 28 when they entertain Thurnby Rangers.
More by this authorJames Bedford