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Game-plan reaps reward despite early loss of top scorer

Cottesmore v Saffron Dynamo. Photo: Geoff Atton (4097013)
Cottesmore v Saffron Dynamo. Photo: Geoff Atton (4097013)

Cottesmore boss Neil Miller hailed match-winner Colton Cropper for producing 'two of the best free-kicks likely to be seen in the Leicestershire Senior League this season' which inspired his side to record their first victory of the campaign on Saturday.

Cropper cracked home two sublime strikes in the final 14 minutes of the Premier Division contest to secure a 3-2 success for Cottesmore against previously-unbeaten Saffron Dynamo at Westray Park.

Danny Seals had earlier given Cottesmore a first half advantage as they shrugged off the injury blow of losing top scorer Tom Pope before Saffron struck back to lead in the second half with a rousing response until Cropper's delightful double.

Miller enthused: "It was a fantastic win and I was more than happy with the performance.

"We showed in midweek what was required to get a point at Asfordby and we increased the work-rate to pick up three points on Saturday.

"We had a game-plan for the first half which was to frustrate them while looking to test their keeper when we could.

"We were happy to let them have a lot of the ball as long as they were in front of us and our methods worked really well.

"Saffron were read the riot act at half-time and came out really strong. They scored twice, but we kept our patience, worked hard on and off the ball and got our just rewards.

"Colton's free-kicks were probably the best two you're likely to see in the Senior League this season.

"The first was an absolutely rocket which got our tails up and the second was rifled into the opposite top corner from the angle of the 18-yard box.

"He's got a superb left-foot on him and both free-kicks were unstoppable. They were lovely efforts."

Amateurs had lost top scorer Pope early in proceedings after he was on the receiving end of a fierce tackle. He is currently awaiting the results of an x-ray to find out if there is any ligament damage to his ankle.

However, his departure failed to effect the home side with Alex Smith shining in the role of lone striker as Cottesmore stuck to their game-plan which reaped its rewards after 24 minutes when Seals turned smartly before thumping home a 30-yard effort which wrong-footed the Saffron goalkeeper.

The visitors responded strongly to going a goal behind and equalised early in the second half when a through ball was latched onto by their striker who slotted home.

Saffron then took the initiative when their player outmuscled the home centre-half before dinking his effort past Ben Challis.

Cottesmore refused to concede defeat though and Cropper brought them level after 76 minutes with his first well-struck free-kick.

The home side then created a string of chances to take the lead with Alex Smith and Seals twice being denied by fine saves.

However, with just two minutes remaining, Cropper fizzed home the winner to give Amateurs their first league win of the season.

Miller added: "It was a great three points for us. It was an excellent win.

"Saffron are a decent side who I expect to finish in the top four which is where I want us to be.

"It's good to get the first one in the win column and the little shoots of recovery are there.

"There's still a long way to go though, but we've become a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde side in recent seasons so we need to make sure we become more consistent."

Cottesmore are without a game this weekend.

Amateurs: Challis, Mellor, Cayley, Cropper, McJanet, A Smith, Seals, North, L Smith, Bendle, Pope. Subs: Richards, Warman, Wood, Abbott.

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