Cottesmore AFC beaten by Barlestone St Giles in first match of the Leicestershire Senior League season
Manager Rich Giblin felt his side didn't get the 'rub of the green' as a couple of contentious decisions went against Cottesmore as they suffered a one-goal defeat on the opening day of the new Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division campaign.
The Rutland side felt a clear offside call was missed in the build-up to Barlestone's solitary winning strike with the visitors then having a strong appeal for a late penalty turned down.
Giblin admitted his side hadn't done enough on the day to have won the contest but felt they were worthy of a share of the spoils against a Barlestone side who finished fifth last season on the back of a strong home record.
Giblin, whose side suffered a 2-0 away defeat at Barlestone last season, said: "It was deja-vu from last year. The pitch was short, narrow and bumpy and we just didn't adapt to it.
"They get a lot of points at home and played some decent football. We huffed and puffed, but didn't really get going.
"The first half was largely uneventful and at half-time I was thinking about getting a point or all three - the thought of losing the game never entered my head.
"But we didn't start the second half well and they took the lead - although their player looked at least two yards offside before he crossed the ball for their goal.
"It was a contentious decision and then Tom Atkins was bundled over in the box late on which we felt was a penalty.
"I felt a draw would have been a fair result overall, but we didn't get the rub of the green.
"Hopefully that will even out over the course of the season and those decisions will go for us on another day.
"It's not disastrous to lose our first game. It was always going to be a difficult game as Barleston finished fifth last season.
"I'm not particularly worried like I would have been if we had been hammered."
Cottesmore had gone into the game missing six first team regulars, including skipper Jordan Smith and midfield linchpin Danny Seals.
They had boosted their ranks by signing Abubakar Wadada on loan from United Counties League Division One side Harrowby United.
With the strong wind blowing straight across the pitch, both sides struggled to create clear-cut openings in the first period.
Cottesmore custodian Jonny Hotson made a couple of solid saves before Wadada combined with Tom Pope to create an opening for Jake Robson whose shot glanced off the post.
The hosts made the stronger start to the second half and broke the deadlock after 65 minutes.
A raid down the wing looked to be offside but, with no flag from the assistant, the ball was pulled back for Craig Leonard to slot home the opening goal.
Cottesmore rallied with a strong finish which saw Colton Cropper crash a 30-yard shot against the top of the home crossbar.
The visitors then had late penalty appeals turned down when Atkins was upended with their hopes fading further as Robson was forced to finish the match in 'third gear' after sustaining a knee injury.
Cottesmore had already used two substitutes and their third replacement, Matt Green, had been called away on a family emergency.
Robson remains doubtful for Saturday's home match with newly-promoted Ashby Ivanhoe Knights, but Cottesmore will welcome back Smith, Seals and Harry Sabberton.
Cottesmore: Hotson, Wilke, L. Smith, Cropper, Iron, Robson, Bendle, McJanet, Milne, Wadada, Pope. Subs: Atkins, Lomas, Green.
Cottesmore's Development side went down to a 3-1 home defeat in their Division Two opener against league newcomers Newbold Verdon.
Jamie Hunt had given Cottesmore the perfect start when he fired them into a ninth minute lead.
But Vernon bounced back after the home defence failed to deal with a free-kick, allowing Terry Godfrey to level.
Ben Smith slotted home at the near post from close range just before half-time to give Verdon the lead and James Hurst sealed the points in the second half.
More by this authorJames Bedford