Cottesmore cause FA Vase upset by defeating East Midlands Counties League side Radford
Cottesmore boss Rich Giblin hailed a 'special day' for the Rutland club after they caused an FA Vase upset in their first-ever match in the prestigious national competition.
The Leicestershire Senior League side ran out 3-1 winners in their first qualifying round clash at higher level Radford.
A double strike from Tom Pope was sandwiched by a goal from skipper Jordan Smith to earn Cottesmore a trip to United Counties League Division One side Harrowby United in the next round.
And Giblin was full of praise for his players who travelled with a strong following of support to their East Midlands Counties League hosts.
Giblin said: "I was very pleased with the boys and both myself and their manager agreed we were the deserved winners.
"The boys were fantastic with how they went about their business considering it was the first time we had even entered the FA Vase.
"It was a fantastic day for the club as well. We put on a coach to the game and there was a good number of supporters who travelled with us.
"The players played a massive part, but it's something we have done as a club and it's not just been about one person.
"The club made a special effort for the day and the players realised that by getting a result which made it a special day for the club."
Cottesmore had to withstand an early barrage of pressure from Radford in the opening 10 minutes of the contest at Selhurst Street.
They then took a 12th minute lead when Tom Atkins burst down the right to latch onto a long ball before picking out Pope to tap home the opening goal.
That settled Cottesmore down and they limited a big and physical home side to a couple of aerial raids on their goal.
However, losing possession on the edge of their own box, gifted Radford a way back into the game as Ryan Smith swooped to smash a shot into the bottom corner of the Cottesmore net and level the scores just ahead of the half-hour mark.
The setback of conceding spurred Cottesmore on even further though and they regained the lead through skipper Smith.
Darren Wilke's ball forward was heading for Atkins but, on hearing Smith's shout, the Cottesmore frontman cleverly dummied it on purpose to allow his captain to run clear and slot home into the bottom corner.
The hosts were then reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time when Kevin Spriggs was red-carded for elbowing Harry Sabberton in the back of the head.
Sabberton managed to soldier on until the break, but was forced to be withdrawn during the interval due to concussion.
The introduction of Andre Fontoura forced Cottesmore into a slight change in formation, but they continued to look comfortable as the anticipated strong start to the second half from Radford never materialised.
Goalkeeper Jonny Hotson made a couple of routine saves before Cottesmore sealed their success through Pope who produced a moment of brilliance to score their third goal.
He shrugged off a Radford player who had been attempting to shield a long ball out of play before nut-megging the defender and then repeating the feat by slotting home through the goalkeeper's legs to spark wild celebrations in the Cottesmore camp.
They are in cup action again this weekend when they travel to face Division One side Earl Shilton in the Beacon Hill League Cup with Giblin hoping his side will remain grounded after their FA Vase heroics.
He added: "I was very proud of the players after Saturday's win, but the FA Vase is just part of the bigger picture.
"Earl Shilton is not an easy place to go and I'm very much aware of an After The Lord Mayor's Show performance.
"We can't just turn up and produce a lack-lustre performance if we want to get anything from the game."
Cottesmore: Hotson, Waby, L Smith, Wilke, Cropper, Bendle, Sabberton, Seals, J Smith, Atkins, Pope. Subs used: Fontoura, Green, McJannet. Not used: Iron, Lomas.