Cottesmore defeat Blaby and Whetstone in Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division clash
Cottesmore boss Rich Giblin praised the impact of his substitutes as they overturned a one-goal half-time deficit to maintain their place in the top five of Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division table with victory over Blaby and Whetstone on Saturday.
The Rutland side had found themselves trailing to Mason Smith's first half strike and then lost centre-back Darren Wilke to injury at the interval of the clash of Westray Park.
But James Waby came on and immediately slotted seamlessly into the back three before the further arrivals in the second half of Craig McJanet and Tom Atkins helped boost Cottesmore's cause.
McJanet set up Atkins to score Cottesmore's equaliser before supplying the cross which Harry Stannard converted to secure the home side's fifth league win of the season.
Giblin said: "I'm always keen to stress to the lads that it's about 14 players and not an 11-man game.
"The lads who came off the bench on Saturday deserve a lot of credit because they've had to wait for their chance over the last couple of weeks.
"They have just got on with it and have been happy to be part of it.
"It makes my life easier as a manager, but it does take a special sort of squad to do that.
"They are not all going to play every game, every week so it's great that they can come on and have an impact."
Cottesmore - who were missing the influential Danny Seals following his recent knee operation - were lack-lustre in the opening period.
They then conceded a poor goal when they failed to clear their lines and Smith hammered Blaby into the lead before half-time.
Wilke was then on the receiving end of a nasty late tackle which curtailed his involvement in the contest.
But this helped fire Cottesmore up for the second period and they dominated the contest with the introduction of McJanet and Atkins giving extra impetus.
The two substitutes combined for the equaliser as McJanet swung an inviting cross into the box which Atkins eased home past the impressive Blaby goalkeeper.
Cottesmore then piled forward in search of a winner and Tom Pope was thwarted by a fine save before Stannard went close from a McJanet cross.
Stannard then made sure from the next McJanet delivery as he left the Blaby goalkeeper with no chance from a fine finish.
Cottesmore goalkeeper Jonny Hotson, who had made a crucial save in a one-on-one moments before his side took the lead, then came to the fore in the dying throes as Blaby piled forward in search of an equaliser.
Hotson took command of his area with a series of strong catches to take the pressure off his side and secure victory for Cottesmore.
Giblin added: "Blaby have kicked on a bit and were a good side, but we didn't start very well.
"We made heavy work of it and wanted to hit long balls rather than play our short passing football.
"We addressed it at half-time and were a completely different team after the break. We held onto the ball and completely dominated.
"All three substitutes were superb while Jonny Hotson really settled us down late on by commanding his area."
Cottesmore travel to FC GNG on Saturday where they will be without both Colton Cropper and Luke Smith.
Cottesmore: Hotson, Wilke, L Smith, Bendle, Lomas, Robson, Sabberton, Cropper, J Smith, Stannard, Pope. Subs used: Waby, Atkins, McJanet.
More by this authorJames Bedford