Improved second half showing fails to reap reward
A 10-minute lapse in concentration levels saw Cottesmore denied their fifth successive victory after a 3-3 draw with Blaby and Whetstone on Saturday.
Amateurs looked on course to continue their winning run under new bosses Alex Cross and Rich Giblin when they raced into a 3-1 lead in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division clash.
However, they were caught off guard by two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half which brought Blaby level.
And, following a much-improved second half performance, Cottesmore were unable to grab a winner despite creating a string of good chances.
Co-boss Cross commented: “We had a few players missing, but that’s no excuses for the goals we conceded.
“We just switched off for 10 minutes which wasn’t good enough. We had controlled the majority of the first half which made it more frustrating.
“Whatever level of football you’re playing at you can’t have 10 minutes of rest. We took our foot off the gas and they puts theirs right on it and, when both of those come together, it was never going to work in our favour.
“It was a big 10 minutes in the context of the game, but it’s still early days for us. We’re still learning about the group and they’re still learning about us.
“The second half was a massive improvement which is a big positive. We had no end of chances, but were just not able to put one in the net.
“We were the better team in the second half and, if we play like that every week, we will be in a strong position going forward.
“We played well in the second half. The players did everything we asked of them and it was a really good reaction. That was a big positive.
“We were not quite right, but still came away with a point. In the past when Cottesmore have been like that, they’ve come away with nothing.
“The lads were really disappointed afterwards with just a point which shows how far they have come in a short space of time.”
A sluggish start from Cottesmore saw Blaby hit the front before Amateurs started to assert their authority of proceedings.
Shaun Smith brought them level when he headed home a fine cross from Jordan Smith before the duo combined again with a replica of the first goal giving Cottesmore the lead.
Ben Richards then rose highest to head home a Colton Cropper free-kick before Blaby took advantage of Cottesmore moving into cruise control to get back on level terms with two strikes ahead of the half-time break.
Amateurs responded well after the break, but their dominance lacked a finishing touch with Blaby almost snatching victory when a breakaway goal was disallowed for offside.
The two sides meet again on Saturday as Cottesmore look to stretch their five-match unbeaten run under their new management team.
Cross commented: “We know all about Blaby now. It was a bit of strange game, but we know what their strengths are and how we can exploit their weaknesses.
“We wanted four points from the two games and, although there is probably a bit more pressure on us now to win away from home, hopefully we can get another three points to keep climbing.”
Cottesmore were boosted by the return to action from injury on Saturday of striker Tom Pope, but they will be without Danny Seals for the next four games due to suspension.
Youngster Eathan Milne again impressed for Amateurs on Saturday after taking Seals’ slot when he pulled up injured in the warm-up.
Cross added: “Eathan did really well. Even in that 10-minute period before half-time, he was trying to take control of the game.
“He missed a couple of chances in the second half, but he kept getting in the right areas which was a massive positive for us.”
Cottesmore: Clare, Dawson, Whyley, Richards, Cropper, Warman, L Smith, S Smith, Milne, J Smith, Stannard. Subs used: Pope, Rowland. Not used: Seals.