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Cottesmore AFC defeat Friar Lane and Epworth in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division match at Westray Park

Cottesmore manager Rich Giblin hailed a fantastic response from his players when the going got tough for the Rutland side on Saturday.

They followed up last week's away win over FC Khalsa with a 3-1 home success over Friar Lane and Epworth in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division match at Westray Park.

Cottesmore were already missing a number of key players including Tom Caldicott, Danny Barker and Harry Sabberton for their first home Saturday match of the season.

Andre Fontoura (51193272)
Andre Fontoura (51193272)

A double player withdrawal on the morning of the game further hit Cottesmore who had to name coach Marcus Baines as one of their two substitutes to bolster the bench.

However, they defied the odds as a double strike from Mark Tinsley and a Liam Smith goal made it back-to-back wins for Cottesmore whose spirit was epitomised by Andre Fontoura.

Fontoura dislocated his shoulder after 40 minutes but was able to pop it back in and soldiered on until Cottesmore were on the verge of securing the win.

Boss Giblin said: "It was one of those games where we just had to battle and knuckle down. If players had picked up knocks then they were just going to have to play with it because we couldn't change everything around.

"They responded fantastically. It was fairly comfortable in the end and we played some nice stuff on a hot afternoon which is the worst sort of conditions when you were in our situation.

"The battle and their heart and commitment to the cause was second to none and what Andre did is the sort of dedication that you really need and everyone involved on Saturday did that.

"We didn't play our finest football but we played good football at times and still tried to stay true to what we do which is getting the ball down and playing."

Both sides had exchanged half chances in the opening forays before Cottesmore took the lead midway through the first period.

Centre-half Aaron Ridout met a clearance from the Friar Lane goalkeeper with a thumping header which the experienced Tinsley anticipated to break the offside trap and finish well.

Cottesmore could have added to their tally before the break which left manager Giblin to challenge his charges at half-time to score within the first 10 minutes of the restart.

And they duly obliged when Harry Stannard played in Liam Smith who, after a good first touch, worked an opening to fire home.

The hosts were now looking comfortable but took their foot off the gas as Friar Lane halved the deficit shortly after when a cross from the right was fired in and finished well by Shimron Thompson-Isaac.

Cottesmore rallied again though and scored the crucial third goal as Craig McJannet fizzed a ball into the box which a defender misjudged and Tinsley pounced to shrug off the challenge and lift his shot over the advancing keeper and secure the win.

Cottesmore: Brown, Denigan, Ridout, Wilke, McDonald, L Smith, Li Smith, Fontoura (Burley), McJannet, Stannard, Tinsley. Sub not used: Baines.

Cottesmore will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of wins on Saturday when newly-promoted Northfield Emerald are the visitors to Westray Park (3pm).

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