Derby duel next for Amateurs who are on a 13-match unbeaten run
Cottesmore Amateurs have a chance to record one of their best-ever Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division finishes for a number seasons.
Amateurs stretched their unbeaten Premier Division run to 13 games on Saturday with a 1-0 home success over Ellistown at Westray Park.
They are currently ninth in the Premier Division table with two home matches remaining – a derby duel with Asfordby on Tuesday night before the final league game of the season against Hathern on Saturday.
Victory in those final two games could see Rich Giblin’s side finish in sixth spot which would better their recent best of an eighth place finish they netted in the 2012/13 season.
And, after Tom Pope’s first half penalty on Saturday ensured they met the manager’s target of 40 points for the season, Giblin feels his side has done everything asked of them.
He said: “The boys have really knuckled down this season when they’ve had to, despite a couple of changes in managers, so they deserve a lot of credit for that.
“I asked for 40 points and we’ve got to 41 with two games to go so I can’t ask for any more from the players.
“It’s now up to them. It would be fantastic to keep the unbeaten run going until the end of the season and, if results go our way, we still have a chance of finishing in sixth place.
“We played well in patches on Saturday, but the conditions didn’t really help either side. It was a roasting hot day on a rock hard pitch and both teams looked a bit tired.
“We dominated the game, but couldn’t get that second goal to make it more comfortable for us.
“It kept them in the game because I think they would have died off quite quickly if we had scored again.
“That would have been game, set and match because, the longer it went on, you’re always worried about being caught by a sucker punch.
“We didn’t really play to our full ability, but we were still comfortable.”
Cottesmore enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges with Ellistown struggling to make an impression on a rock-solid home back three of Luke Smith, Ben Richards and Darren Wilke.
The hosts broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Pope raced clear but, after rounding the keeper, he was brought down by a defender for a stone-wall penalty.
Pope picked himself up to slot home the penalty for his 18th goal of the season from 21 games.
Cottesmore’s top marksman then had another good chance to double their lead only to be thwarted by a fine save from the Ellistown keeper before the break.
The better chances continued to fall to the hosts in the second period with Richards, Jordan Smith,Tom Bendle, Danny Seals and Harry Sabberton seeing efforts go wide.
Ellistown rallied late on by throwing extra players forward, but goalkeeper Jonny Hotson was only forced into making one tidy stop to keep his third clean sheet in four games and ensure Cottesmore go into Tuesday night’s home derby with another win under their belts.
Giblin added: “It sets us up nicely for Tuesday, but we know it is going to be a tough game regardless of where Asfordby have finished in the league this season.
“They know most of our squad on and off the pitch and they would love to be the side to take our unbeaten run off us so we have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Cottesmore will entertain Boston League side Pointon in semi-final of the Ancaster Cup at Westray Park on Saturday, May 4.
Cottesmore: Hotson, Richards, L Smith, Wilke, Sabberton, Bendle, Seals, J Smith, Hart, Pope, Milne. Subs all used: Cropper, Dawson, Lomas.