Reserves record vital victory to move off bottom spot
Cottesmore boss Rich Giblin was satisfied with a point after his depleted side shared the spoils in a 1-1 home draw with Allexton and New Parks on Saturday.
Amateurs were already missing Matt Green, Jordan Smith, Luke Smith, Harry Stannard and Jack Whyley for the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division clash when they suffered a double injury blow in Saturday’s match at Westray Park.
Danny Seals, in his first match back after a four-game suspension, was forced off early in the second period with a recurrence of a hamstring injury before Colton Cropper had to be substituted with 20 minutes remaining after being on the wrong end of an over-the-top tackle.
With long-term injury victims Wilson Iron and Andre Fontoura also sidelined, Cottesmore’s resources were stretched despite being boosted by the welcome return of Eathan Milne after a brief spell with United Counties League Division One side Harrowby United.
Giblin said: “It was a scrappy game and a point was a fair result.
“We started really well but then gave away a silly free-kick and then conceded a corner which they scored from.
“We had a bit of an iffy 15 minutes after conceding, but then got a goal back to equalise before half-time and then created a couple of decent opportunities in the second half.
“It was a game we probably should have won, but we didn’t really deserve to so I was happy with a point especially with so many players missing.
“We knew the reserves had a very important game so we took a little bit of a risk because we didn’t want to take too many players off them.
“They had a great result which was deserved for all their hard work this season so it was a good day overall.
“It’s also good to have Eathan back with us and he played very well on Saturday. The door is always open after anyone leaves for a higher level.”
After Cottesmore’s bright start, it was an in-form Allexton side that broke the deadlock when the unmarked Hakim Harper-Wood headed home at the back post from a corner.
Cottesmore rallied and got back on level terms when a long throw from Jack Mellor was flicked on by Seals for Pope to score for the fifth successive league game and ensure the scores were level at the break.
Amateurs probed for an opening after the interval with their best chance falling to Tom Atkins who fired over after racing clear of the Allexton defence.
The second goal proved elusive for the hosts though with the point stretching their unbeaten league and cup run to six games ahead of Saturday’s home match with fourth-placed Thurnby Rangers.
Cottesmore: Hotson, Wilke, Richards, Hamnett, Atkins, Mellor, Bendle, Cropper (S Stannard), Milne, Pope, Seals (Mahlatsi). Sub not used: Giblin.
Tyler Smith struck a hat-trick as Cottesmore Reserves moved off the foot of the Division Two table with a 4-1 away success at Desford Development on Saturday.
Smith’s treble and Adam Lomas’ strike secured a third win of the season for the reserves who hit three goals without reply in the second period on Saturday after the opening half had finished even.
Cottesmore had made a bright start and were rewarded for their efforts with a fifth minute opener as Lee Wood and Ben Dawson combined well to tee up Lomas whose cross was headed home at the far post by Smith.
A replica of the move that saw Cottesmore open the scoring then resulted in Smith heading just over from a Lomas cross before the Amateurs marksman was thwarted by a decent save from the home goalkeeper.
Nathan Gray fired a half-volley over before Jamie Hunt saw his header from a Lomas corner graze the top of the crossbar as Cottesmore looked to double their lead.
However, despite posing little threat in the opening 30 minutes, it was Desford who found the target to equalise as Adrian Kuzel picked his spot in the bottom corner after a swiftly-taken throw-in.
Both sides went close to taking the lead with Gray’s long range effort going just wide for Cottesmore who then saw a Hunt header produce a super save from the Desford custodian to ensure the half finished level.
Cottesmore started the second half the stronger of the two sides and regained the lead within three minutes of the restart as Lomas burst down the right before cutting inside and firing home into the bottom corner.
Amateurs continued to maintain the pressure and a third goal arrived after 55 minutes as Smith linked up superbly with Hunt to head home his cross from close range.
Desford were then denied a way back into the contest by a tremendous save from Nathan Clare who tipped away a shot destined for the top corner at full stretch.
Cottesmore wrapped up the win with five minutes remaining as substitute Michael Betts won his header to set up Smith who beat his man before smashing home his hat-trick strike from 20 yards.
Cottesmore: Clare, Adams, Gould, Waterman, Lomas, Sabberton, Wood, Gray, Dawson, Hunt (Betts), Smith. Not used: Taylor.