Derby delight for Cottesmore who defeat Asfordby 4-3 in their Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division clash
Tom Pope propelled Cottesmore to a derby victory on Tuesday night as his hat-trick haul helped shoot down Asfordby at Westray Park.
The clinical frontman had given the hosts an early lead in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division duel.
He then added two more goals - which included an 82nd minute winner - to finally settle a topsy-turvy tussle in Cottesmore's favour.
The hosts had well been below-par in the opening period, but produced a rousing response after the break to please manager Rich Giblin who felt visiting Asfordby deserved more from the clash.
He said: "The first half was very poor and I don't really have an answer to explain why that was the case.
"The occasion of a derby match probably over-rode what we were trying to do. You've got to put that to one side in these games and play football.
"We were trying to play the occasion and all credit to Asfordby because they played the better football.
"We've scored some good goals, but they've got every right to feel aggrieved to have not got something from the game if not all three points.
"I had a bit of a rant at half-time because it wasn't good enough and players showed some character which is good.
"The second half was a lot better, but it was an ugly win and that's something we didn't do last season.
"We wouldn't have got something out of that game last season. I'll gladly accept the three points, but I feel a bit embarrassed to take them on that performance.
"Our fitness has definitely told though. We did look the better team going forward in the last 20 minutes and when, you've got people like Tom Pope on the pitch, you've always got a chance."
It took Pope just 12 minutes to break the deadlock as he latched onto Colton Cropper's through ball and, as Asfordby goalkeeper Tom Mortimer started to advance, he lofted a sublime finish over the exposed custodian.
Asfordby responded strongly to going behind and thought they had equalised when Max Skinner slotted home Jack Baker's slide-rule pass only for the assistant's flag to rule out the effort for offside.
Cottesmore could have doubled their lead on the half-hour mark when some silky skills from Danny Seals saw him link well with both James Waby and Jordan Smith whose cross picked out with Cropper but, with his Mortimer to beat, he fired his effort straight at the Asfordby goalkeeper.
And the visitors made Cottesmore pay by equalising two minutes later as Adam Wright's through ball released Baker who rounded Jonny Hotson before tapping home to send the sides in level at the break.
Pope came close to putting Cottesmore back in front shortly after the restart when he was picked out by a fine pass from Seals only to see his fierce effort rattle the upright.
But they then fell behind for the first time after 55 minutes when Wright's speculative shot from outside the box sailed into the top corner of the home net.
Tom Bendle brought Cottesmore back on level terms when he powered home a header from an Eathan Milne corner.
Pope then rifled home his second goal of the game after a half-cleared corner fell invitingly for the striker in the box.
But the lead last just four minutes before Ben Lapworth lashed home a strike from outside the area which zipped across the slick Westray Park surface.
Pope though had the final say with eight minutes remaining as he completed his treble to secure the win by deftly turning home a cross from substitute Harry Stannard.
Cottesmore are back in action again at Westray Park on Saturday when they host FC Khalsa in the Premier Division.