Cottesmore continue winning run in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division with victory at FC GNG
Cottesmore boss Rich Giblin praised his players for 'coming out of their comfort zone' to continue their fine run in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division with a 4-3 victory at FC GNG on Saturday.
The Rutland side had to overcome the match being switched to a 4G surface to register a fifth successive Premier Division victory against an improving GNG team.
They were also without Luke Smith, Colton Cropper and Tom Atkins alongside injured quartet Danny Seals, Eathan Milne, Corey Craig and Andre Fontoura.
But top scorer Tom Pope bagged a brace with Tom Bendle and Darren Wilke also on target for Cottesmore who haven't lost a league match since mid-September
Giblin said: "We knew that GNG were used to playing on the 4G pitch. They train on it every week and are obviously suited to it.
"It was just a case of getting the job done. We didn't play fantastically well, but we have to take these games in isolation.
"We were taken out of our comfort zone so credit to the boys for getting the win against a GNG side who are improving and will take points off some of the good sides."
Cottesmore started well despite having to warm-up on a small stretch of grass with the 4G already in use ahead of their kick-off.
But they fell behind after conceding a sloppy goal when no-one took charge of a ball through the middle and the hosts took full advantage to open the scoring.
This rocked Cottesmore for a short spell, but they recovered their composure and started to pressure the home side.
They got back on level terms when Wilke's cross into the box flicked into the GNG net off a home player.
A Jordan Smith corner was then headed home by Bendle to give Cottesmore a 2-1 advantage going into the break.
They then continued on the offensive after the break and added a third goal when Smith picked out Pope who outpaced the last defender before firing home.
But their control of contest was then loosened as GNG grabbed their second goal when a cross-come-shot nestled in the top corner of the visitors' net.
Cottesmore quickly restored their two-goal advantage as this time Harry Sabberton set Pope away and he finished with aplomb for his 17th goal of the season.
But GNG refused to give up and added a third when a ball which was running straight through to goalkeeper Jonny Hotson took a ridiculous kick off the turf and fell kindly for a home forward to slot home.
Cottesmore though were able to safely negotiate the final few minutes to maintain their grip on fifth place in the table ahead of Saturday's home clash with County Hall.
Giblin added: "We are picking up the ugly wins this season because this was a game we would have either drawn or lost last year.
"It's testament to the lads because we again used all three substitutes who came on and did a very good job for us.
Cottesmore: Hotson, Waby, Wilke, Bendle, Lomas, Robson, Sabberton, McJanet, J Smith, Stannard, Pope. Subs all used: Iron, Denigan, Dawson.