Cottesmore defeat Friar Lane & Epworth in Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division match
Three goals in the final 15 minutes helped Cottesmore tighten their grip on second spot in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division on Saturday with victory at third-placed Friar Lane & Epworth.
Substitute Wilson Iron struck twice with skipper Jordan Smith also on target as Cottesmore recorded a fifth successive league win.
They again had to overcome a physical test from the home side on a heavy, sloping pitch which had a strong wind blowing straight down it.
Manager Rich Giblin commented: "We didn't play particularly well and struggled a little bit to adapt to the condition of the pitch.
"Friar Lane were a very physical side and in the past these are the sort of games that we have frozen in.
"But we went toe-to-toe with them, let the referee do his job and pulled another three points out of the hat.
"It was pleasing to take three points from a tough game and we are going to need more performances like that in the final 10 games of the season.
"We have got a lot of away games left which will be difficult matches on difficult pitches so it was good to see that we can dig out results."
Cottesmore played up the slope and into the strong wind in the opening half and were handed the early initiative by their hosts who were reduced to 10 men after just seven minutes when Diego Ramos was dismissed for violent conduct after elbowing Harry Stannard in an off-the-ball incident.
Despite the sending off, Friar Lane had the lions share of the half but rarely troubled Alex Egner in the Cottesmore goal.
Smith went close for Cottesmore with a shot that went narrowly wide before they upped their game after the break.
Top scorer Tom Pope twice rattled the home crossbar with efforts while Shaun Dennigan's follow-up from one of them brought a super save out of the Friar Lane goalkeeper.
The inevitable goal arrived with 15 minutes remaining when substitute Iron - on for the injured Colton Cropper - received the ball out wide before cutting in and firing a shot that took a slight deflection before nestling in the bottom corner of the home net.
Cottesmore continued to pour forward and doubled the lead shortly after with a superbly-worked goal.
Pope and substitute Liam Harper linked up well to find Danny Seals who pinged a sublime 40-yard pass into the path of Smith who arrowed home a volley into the far corner.
The win was then wrapped up in the closing stages with another fine finish from Iron who found the bottom corner of the Friar Lane net with a well-taken strike.
Giblin added: "The boys deserve a lot of credit again because they stuck to their task.
"It again showed our strength in depth because Wilson came off the bench and put in a really good performance while Liam Harper did very well when he was introduced."
Cottesmore are back in Premier Division action at Westray Park on Saturday when they host FC GNG.
Cottesmore’s Development side stopped a five-match losing streak with a 3-2 home success over Bottesford in their Leicestershire Senior League Division Two clash on Saturday.
Sam Rogers bagged a brace for the Rutland side with Will Lee also on target to secure their third league win of the season.
Cottesmore had gone into the clash at Westray Park full of optimism at putting together a strong run of results with half of the campaign still remaining after a tough start of the season.
Their performances had shown a marked improvement in recent weeks and took the lead after a solid start.
Good team play found Jamie Hunt in space and his first-time cross was turned home by the outstretched leg of Rogers.
Both sides continued to create chances with Cottesmore wasting a couple of good opportunities to increase their tally.
They were then pegged back when Shane Brumpton blasted home a 30-yard leveller for the visitors into the top corner of the Cottesmore net.
Cottesmore refused to let the setback rattle them and, after forcing a couple of corners, regained the lead when Lee lost his marker to rifle home into the roof of the net.
A crucial save from Nathan Clare then preserved Cottesmore’s lead before half-time but they were pegged back again on the hour mark.
A breakdown in play saw Cottesmore concede possession and Daniel Farnsworth took advantage to equalise.
The match now swung from end-to-end with both sides looking for a winner and Gav Waddington went close with a header for the hosts.
Just as it looked like the honours would finish even, Rogers intercepted a short pass at the back and shrugged off a challenge before slotting home into the bottom corner.
More by this authorJames Bedford