Battle to save top flight status

Cottesmore v Ashby Ivanhoe Photo: Geoff Atton
Cottesmore v Ashby Ivanhoe Photo: Geoff Atton
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Cottesmore 1 Ashby Ivanhoe 4

A SECOND half collapse cost Cottesmore vital points in their battle to avoid relegation on Saturday.

The Rutlanders, who are at the foot of the Leicestershire Senior League’s Premier Division, led Ashby 1-0 at half-time thanks to a great finish from Matt Davis, who latched onto Ollie McCann’s perfect through ball.

But three quick goals early in the second period ended Cottesmore’s hopes of narrowing the gap at the bottom. Ten minutes into the second half, young goalkeeper John Swales spilled a catch and Cottesmore lost focus at the back.

Two more goals were quickly despatched by the visitors who added a late fourth to put the result beyond doubt.

Steve Duffy’s side now have just 11 games to save their premier division status, beginning with a trip to Highfield Rangers in Leicester on Saturday.

Duffy said: “Fitness might have come into it but we lost a bad goal and then really capitulated.

“We were rusty for the first 15 minutes but then got it sorted and had a decent first half. We scored a well worked goal and although our goalkeeper pulled of one great save he didn’t have much to do.

“But we were very poor in the second. We lost our concentration and discipline, and we went from one up to 3-1 down in the space of just a few minutes.

“I watched in disbelief. All of a sudden we were chasing the game and heads dropped.”

Cottesmore’s priority now has to be to beat the teams around them at the foot of the table and they do have the advantage that they have now completed most of their fixtures against the top sides.

Midfielder David Bates has also rejoined Cottesmore to boost Duffy’s squad ahead of Saturday.

“Highfield Rangers are one of the games where we have to be looking for three points” said Duffy. “I think we will need at least 15 points to reach safety.

“We have to play Sileby, FC Dynamo at home, and Ratby home and away. Those games are all six pointers and if we can win those it will put us right back in the picture.

“It’s going to be difficult but it’s not impossible.”

Cottesmore’s next home game is on March 3 against Sileby Town. Kick off is at 3pm.

Cottesmore: John Swales, Tom Spawton, Scott lloyd, Lee Wood, Ollie McCann, Richard Giblin, Kevin Ellis, Mike Feely, Dave Cardall, Matt Davis, Edward March. Sub: Gabriel Obah, Matthew Mullen, Harry Fitzjohn.