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Cottesmore reach quarter-finals of the Beacon Hill League Cup after victory over Ashby Ivanhoe Knights at Westray Park

Cottesmore cruised into the quarter-finals of the Beacon Hill League Cup after hitting visiting Ashby Ivanhoe Knights for six on Saturday.

The prolific Tom Pope led the scoring spree after hitting a four-goal haul with Harry Stannard and Colton Cropper also on target in the second round tie at Westray Park.

The cup clash was Cottesmore’s first match for two-and-a-half weeks following a couple of postponements and manager Rich Giblin was pleased to secure a spot in the last eight.

Tom Pope scored four goals. (21387318)
Tom Pope scored four goals. (21387318)

He said: “It’s always a potential banana skin when you go into a game having not played for a couple of weeks.

“Ashby have got some good players, but it was a game we were probably expected to win so the boys did well.

“It blew a few cobwebs away and has now set us up for a tough run of games in the league.”

Cottesmore made a strong start and taking an early lead helped their cause as Stannard showed quick feet on the edge of the box to create an opening which was matched by a lethal finish.

Ashby responded by creating a couple of opportunities before Cottesmore doubled their lead with a well-worked goal.

Darren Wilke’s long pass was flicked on by Danny Seals to find Pope in the box and he did the rest by rounding the keeper and slotting home.

Seals then smashed a thunderous effort against the upright as Cottesmore looked for a third goal before the break.

However, they then started to take their foot off the gas and allowed Ashby back into the game as the visitors halved the deficit.

A sliced clearance from Luke Smith fell invitingly for Harvey Cunningham who side-footed home past Jonny Hotson.

Danny Seals faces a spell on the sidelines after having a knee operation. (21387570)
Danny Seals faces a spell on the sidelines after having a knee operation. (21387570)

This prompted a Cottesmore backlash at the start of the second half and they soon added a quick-fire double to regain control of the contest.

Cropper’s weaving run down the left wing saw his cross pick out Pope to head home the third goal from close range.

A fourth soon followed when Cropper tapped in after being teed up by Jordan Smith following a slick move involving Seals and Pope.

Ashby were then reduced to 10 men when Andy Fell was red-carded for swinging an arm at Tom Bendle and Cottesmore made the most of the advantage to score twice more.

Pope completed his hat-trick following a Cottesmore counter-attack which saw Stannard, Smith and Seals link well.

Jake Robson then supplied a fine through ball for Pope to finish again as his fourth goal wrapped up the victory.

Ashby received a second red card late on when Alex Ford was dismissed after collecting two cautions in quick succession for simulation and then dissent.

Cottesmore – who will face either Desford or Sileby in the quarter-finals – are back in Premier Division action on Saturday when Blaby and Whetstone visit Westray Park.

They will be without midfield ace Seals who has a knee operation this week and is expected to be sidelined for between four to six weeks.

Giblin added: “We’re going to miss Danny because he’s a big player for us and he’s been fantastic this season.

“But we’ve got strength in depth with two or three lads who can do a job in there.

“We need to kick on now in the league, but it will be a tough old game against Blaby. They never have a poor team regardless of their league position so we will need a strong performance.”

Cottesmore: Hotson, Wilke (Waby), L Smith, Bendle, Atkins, Sabberton (Robson), Seals, Cropper, J Smith, Pope, Stannard (Lomas). Sub not used: McJanet.

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