Double dismissal ends Pointon's hopes of Ancaster Cup glory
Manager Rich Giblin admitted his Cottesmore Amateurs side had used their 'get out of jail card' to secure a place in this season's Ancaster Cup final.
Cottesmore ran out 3-1 winners in Saturday's semi-final with Boston League side Pointon at Westray Park and will now meet either Stamford Bels or Rippingale in the final this weekend at Bourne Town's JJ Mac Stadium (kick-off 2pm).
Despite taking a first half lead through Danny Seals' fine strike, they were pegged back just before the break.
They then struggled to compete with a combative Pointon side before youngster Harry Sabberton’s bravery brought Cottesmore a penalty with 15 minutes remaining.
Colton Cropper’s composed conversion from the spot was then followed by a third goal from substitute Wilson Iron in injury-time as Pointon lost their discipline in the latter stages with a double dismissal to finish with nine men having given a good account of themselves throughout the majority of the contest.
Giblin said: “We fell into the trap of expecting them to not be up for it and we just can't do that.
"They wanted to get to the final probably more than we did and they played some good football at times.
"We just didn't look at the races. We were like a rabbit in the headlights at times.
"It was a more physical game than our lads expected, but we should have been clever enough to stick to the game-plan and play to our strengths which is getting the ball down and playing.
"But we again fell into the trap of smashing the ball long which is not what we want to do.
"We dragged it down to a battle which, normally we're OK with, but there were a lot of heavy challenges going in which threw off us off our game.
"Danny Seals' first goal was superb, but that was the only bit of football we really played.
"I gave them an absolute rollicking at half-time in all honesty. We can't expect teams to come here and just roll over for us which I think is what we kind of expected.
"The last time we played them in the Ancaster Cup we beat them 5-1 at their place and I think there was some of that mentality out there.
"If it wasn't for young Harry Sabberton, throwing himself in to try and win the ball and put it in the back of the net which gave us the penalty, the game could have gone either way.
"Harry was brave and that wasn't something we were during the game. We were kind of throwing ourselves on the floor a lot and we just didn't look like we really wanted it at times and it's got to improve.
"We've used our get out of jail card. That's our one and luckily we've weathered that storm.”
Cottesmore were missing top goalscorer Tom Pope for the last four clash which saw Jordan Smith and Seals take over the striking mantles.
Smith saw an early looping header gathered by the Pointon goalkeeper under his own crossbar before Seals sent a thumping header against the visitors’ crossbar.
Home goalkeeper Jonny Hotson made a brave save to thwart a Pointon raid before his opposite number again excelled to thwart Smith who had raced clear onto Eathan Milne’s through ball.
The deadlock was broken in style just past the half-hour mark as Seals collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area before engineering himself enough space with some good close control to curl home a fine finish into the bottom corner.
Pointon responded well though to falling behind and equalised on the stroke of half-time when a cross to the back post was converted from close range.
The visitors could then have taken the lead as they enjoyed the better openings in the early exchanges of the second half.
Hotson had to be alert again to make a smart stop to deny Dom Kew with Nathan Wilson blazing the follow up over while Ian Jaquest fired another effort narrowly wide.
Cottesmore also had their chances with Cropper and Adam Lomas both seeing free-kicks tipped over the crossbar before Lomas rattled the Pointon post with another effort.
The match finally swung in Cottesmore’s favour with 15 minutes remaining as their pressure forced some desperate Pointon defence which saw Sabberton bravely launch himself into the middle of the goalmouth melee and head a loose ball goalwards only for Damon Tunnicliffe’s hand-ball to keep the effort out at the expense of a penalty.
Cropper cracked home the spot kick to give Cottesmore the initiative which they looked to increase as Seals saw another effort cleared off the line while Ben Richards was inches away from connecting with a cross.
Pointon skipper Wilson, who had been booked early on for an over-the-top tackle on Tom Bendle, then collected his second caution for a high challenge on Sabberton.
And then the second Pointon dismissal for dissent followed moments later before Iron continued his road to recovery after a lengthy spell on the sidelines following a serious knee injury by diverting home an injury-time cross to seal Cottesmore’s place in the final.
Cottesmore: Hotson, L Smith, Richards, Wilke, Cropper, Bendle, Sabberton (Iron), Lomas (Robson), Milne (Dawson), Seals, J Smith. Not used: Mellor.