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Cottesmore are through to the final of the Beacon Hill League Cup after victory over Thurnby Rangers




Clinical Cottesmore smashed a super six-goal salvo to book their first-ever place in the final of the Beacon Hill League Cup on Tuesday night.

Double strikes from the prolific pairing of Tom Pope and Harry Stannard were backed up by a scintillating effort from Colton Cropper and a last-gasp goal by Wilson Iron in a convincing semi-final success over Thurnby Rangers at Westray Park.

Manager Rich Giblin was delighted with how his side applied themselves against their niggly and hot-headed Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division rivals.

Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758452)
Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758452)

He said: "It was a really good performance and we did exactly what we set out to do. I was really pleased.

"We started quickly and, although we were gifted the first goal, we followed it up with a bit of class from Colton.

"When the ball drops to you from that far out, you need someone with that ability to put the ball into the net.

"We were very busy and the work-rate set us apart. Tom Pope has taken his first goal really well. I thought the chance might have gone when the ball sprung up at him, but he's finished it really well.

"I don't think they really troubled us too much in the first half and we came out after the break knowing that they would come at us.

"It was really a case of digging in to either defend the three goals or get another couple which would have been great.

Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758472)
Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758472)

"The fourth goal set us up for what should have been a more comfortable last 15 or 20 minutes, but credit to Thurnby because they kept coming at us.

"They got a goal in the end and, as they committed more players forward, we got a couple of late ones to put the icing on the cake.

"We rotated the squad around again and everybody has put in a really good performance.

"We've got strength in depth which is what we're all about. It's nice that we can come and do that sort of thing in such a big game.

"In the past, when games have got a little bit tasty, we might have gone a different way, but the boys used their heads and played the football which was the winner."

Thurnby had the best chance of the early exchanges, but Zac Harris turned a gilt-edged opportunity over the crossbar from close range.

Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758491)
Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758491)

And Cottesmore made their visitors pay with two goals in three first half minutes.

Stannard sent a looping header goalwards which was completely misjudged by the Thurnby goalkeeper to gift Cottesmore an 11th minute lead.

That was doubled shortly after when the goalkeeper raced out of his area to head clear from the rampaging Pope.

Cropper collected the loose ball and unleashed a inch-perfect strike from distance which sailed over the exposed goalkeeper and into the visitors' net.

A third goal followed just past the half-hour mark as Danny Seals made a strong run down the left before finding Stannard who teed up strike partner Pope to rifle home a cracking finish.

Cropper came close to adding a fourth goal after the break with a sweet turn and shot on the edge of the box only for his effort to go inches wide.

Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758462)
Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758462)

Thurnby then enjoyed their best spell of the game and it needed a couple of smart stops from goalkeeper Alex Egner to preserve their advantage which was then increased by Pope's second goal of the game.

The livewire frontman set off after Tom Atkins' through ball and shrugged off a challenge before rounding the goalkeeper and tapping into an empty net.

Thurnby did pull a goal back with a close range tap in with six minutes remaining, but Cottesmore upped the ante again in the latter stages with another double strike to seal their success.

Stannard struck a sublime finish into the top corner of the Thurnby net before Iron nipped in ahead of Pope to slot home the sixth goal with virtually the last kick of the game.

Cottesmore will now face the winners of the other semi-final between Rugby Borough and Hathern who meet on Monday night.

They return to Premier Division action on Saturday with a trip to third-placed Friar Lane & Epworth where new signing Liam Harper could feature.

Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758485)
Cottesmore were 6-1 semi-final winners over Thurnby Rangers. Photo: Alan Walters (30758485)

The attacking midfielder has made the move to Westray Park from United Counties League Division One side Harrowby United.

Giblin added: "Liam's had an injury and has come to us and said that he was interested in signing because he wants to play some football.

"He'll be a quality addition to the squad that we've got. He can play in a number of attacking positions which was part of the attraction."

Cottesmore: Egner, Atkins, Bendle, Wilke, Dennigan, Cropper, Robson, Seals, Smith, Pope, Stannard. Subs used: Sabberton, Iron, Dawson.


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