Cottesmore AFC are held to a goalless draw by FC GNG in the Everards Restart Premier Cup
Cottesmore were unable to get to grips with a playing surface that manager Rich Giblin described as the 'worst he had seen in 20 years' as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw with FC GNG on Saturday.
The rock-hard and overgrown surface that had channels for drainage running through it at the Riverside ground in Leicester was not conducive to Cottesmore's usual slick passing game as both sides struggled to create opportunities in the latest group match of the Everards Restart Premier Cup campaign.
Giblin said: "It was a very strange day all round.
"It was an early kick-off which throws people and then we turned up to see the state of the pitch.
"It's the worst I have seen in 20 years. Both sides had to play on it and I think the fact that neither side could score on it tells the story.
"We tried every which way of playing on it. We tried to pass or go long and you just couldn't do anything. It didn't suit us.
"It is also annoying when I know how much work and money we pour into making our pitch as good as we can get it.
"It's not just for us as it's for the other teams as well who come to visit us so that you can have a good game of football on it."
Cottesmore were missing several key players with Tom Atkins and Darren Wilke both unavailable, Danny Barker suspended while Eddie McDonald and Jake Robson were unused substitutes on the visitors' bench due to being hampered by injury.
Colton Cropper had Cottesmore's best chance of the opening half with a well-struck 20-yard drive that brought a fine save out of the home keeper.
GNG also hit the crossbar with a speculative looping shot as both sides struggled to get any pattern of play.
Cropper fired into the side-netting in the second half before coming off with a slight hamstring niggle.
The visitors then suffered a further setback late on when Danny Seals was dismissed for dissent to become the second Cottesmore player to be red-carded in successive weeks.
Boss Giblin commented: "Having two players sent off in successive weeks is not something that we are about so the message will definitely be that it stops as of this week as it's not acceptable.
"I do feel that Danny Barker's was harsh last week and it's not all doom and gloom as we are still unbeaten competitively this season and you've got to look at little things like that and see that the boys have turned up and done a job.
"GNG will give teams a good game. They battled hard and have had a couple of chances themselves before the game petered out.
"We are just pleased to be back playing overall. We will say when we deserve to win games and when we deserve to draw them and that was a fair result on Saturday.
Cottesmore: Brown, Denigan, L Smith, Bendle, Cropper (Burley), Sabberton, Attwood, Nasser (Godfrey), Seals, J Smith, Pope. Subs not used: McDonald, Robson.
Cottesmore are back in action at Westray Park on Saturday when they host FC Khalsa.
They then return to the Everards Tiger Bitter League Cup on Tuesday with a quarter-final clash against the winners of this week's tie between Ashby Ivanhoe Knights and Asfordby.
Cottesmore are the current holders of the cup having won last season's competition at the start of this campaign.
Cottesmore's Development side bounced back from their opening day defeat to secure their maiden win in the City Goldsmith Restart Trophy after a 2-0 home success over Bottesford on Saturday.
Tyler Smith and Alex Brockbank bagged the goals for the Development side who had been beaten 3-0 by Asfordby last weekend.
Visiting Bottesford had the best chance of the early exchanges at Westray Park only to be thwarted a fine stop from Nathan Clare in the home goal.
Cottesmore then hit the front when James North picked out Jamie Maxwell and his defence-splitting ball released Smith who fired home into the far corner of the Bottesford net.
The home side continued to maintain their grip on proceedings until half-time and then repelled any raids Bottesford made to get back into the contest after the break.
The hosts then sealed their success when Joe Hatherill and Anthony Wood combined to set up Brockbank who finished smartly.
Cottesmore came close to increasing their advantage while staying strong at the other end to secure a deserved victory.