Boss praises strength in depth after reserves make step up
Cottesmore Amateurs boss Rich Giblin hailed the strength in depth at the Westray Park club after a last-gasp leveller secured a share of the spoils at Sileby on Saturday.
Tom Pope scored a 93rd minute equaliser to extend Amateurs’ unbeaten run to three games despite missing a host of first team regulars.
Reserve team skipper Carl Hamnett made the step up by producing a man of the match performance while substitutes Adam Lomas and Harry Sabberton combined to help create Pope’s injury-time equaliser.
Giblin said: “We’ve got the strongest squad across the two teams that we’ve had for years.
“Anybody who is currently playing for the reserves is capable of stepping up and doing a job for the first team which, as a manager, is a great situation to be in.
“We haven’t had the strength in depth in the past, but now we’ve got two or three players who could slot in at every position.
“Carl kept their best player in check on Saturday while the substitutes all came on and gave us fresh legs and energy. It just goes to show that it’s a 14-man game and not just about the starting 11.”
Cottesmore had suffered a double blow in the week leading up to the game with James Waby and Eathan Milne both joining United Counties League Division One side Harrowby United.
Waby and Milne - who was already dual registered with the Arrows – were absent along with Craig McJannet, Matt Green, Colton Cropper and the suspended Danny Seals.
With a strong wind blowing diagonally across the pitch, clear-cut chances were at a premium throughout the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division clash.
Skipper Jordan Smith had Cottesmore’s best chance in the first half, only to be denied by the home custodian in a one-on-one, while Pope flashed a well-struck shot wide.
Sileby then struck within seconds of the second half starting when a long ball over the top released Sean Warrilow who fired past a stranded Jonny Hotson.
Cottesmore though refused to let the setback deflate them and, despite losing Liam Smith to injury, they continued to threaten.
And their efforts were rewarded in the dying throes when Lomas and Sabberton combined to cross for Harry Stannard’s flick on to be pounced on by Pope to equalise.
Giblin added: “The conditions completely ruined the game and they were not conducive to good football.
“But we pulled something out at the brink though which I was delighted about. Sileby are always a strong side so I would have taken a point before the game.
“We didn’t deserve to win the game but, on the balance of play, deserved a point.
“They were obviously kicking themselves after letting the three points slip with 30 seconds remaining, but I was pleased with how we battled and worked hard right until the end.
“We have might lost the game by three or four goals in previous seasons after conceding so early in the second half, but the boys dug in and there was a real work ethic about us.
“The pleasing thing was that everybody went over to celebrate together after we equalised and there is a real team spirit in the club.
“We had to really grind out a result and hopefully we can build on that this weekend and keep motoring along.”
Cottesmore entertain Friar Lane and Epworth at Westray Park on Saturday looking for a league double after their 4-0 away win in October.
Cottesmore: Hotson, Atkins (Lomas), Wilke, Richards, Hamnett, Bendle, Luke Smith, Liam Smith (Sabberton), Pope, Stannard, J Smith (Dawson).