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Cottesmore AFC are top of the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division after victory over FC GNG at Westray Park

Cottesmore’s continued progress was highlighted as they extended their winning start to the new Leicestershire Senior League campaign on Tuesday night.

Goals from Jake Robson and Tom Atkins secured a fourth successive Premier Division victory against visiting FC GNG at Westray Park.

The victory keeps Cottesmore at the top of the early season standings and means they are one of only two sides with 100 per cent records in the division.

Jake Robson was on target for Cottesmore.
Jake Robson was on target for Cottesmore.

However, they were pushed close by a GNG side bolstered by some new additions and had to safely negotiate some late pressure from their visitors to secure the win.

Manager Rich Giblin said: “The good thing was that again we dug it out when we needed to.

“We would have folded in those last 10 minutes in recent years and probably conceded a couple. Hopefully we have learned a couple of lessons here and there from past seasons.

“We started well last season but we just didn’t get out of the blocks and lost two of the first four games.

“We then went on a little bit of a run and we’ve started well again so I need to give the lads a bit more credit because they are managing games better than they used to.

“We have got the desire and we are getting better at managing it. The boys do deserve credit because it isn’t easy playing Saturday and then Tuesday every week.”

The match was Cottesmore’s sixth game in 23 days and they made a promising start by enjoying plenty of early possession.

However, GNG rocked the hosts by taking a 10th minute lead when Cottesmore conceded a soft free-kick which was whipped into the area and turned home.

The lead lasted just five minutes though as Cottesmore restored parity with a carbon-copy equaliser as Robson’s free kick from out wide evaded everybody and curled into the far corner of the GNG net.

Goalkeeper Alex Brown made a couple of tidy saves to keep Cottesmore on level terms before they hit the front for the first time.

A good move by the home side saw the ball pulled back into the path of the incoming Atkins who rifled home a fine finish into the top corner.

Cottesmore then thought they had a third goal when Harry Stannard’s header from a corner hit the underside of the crossbar and appeared to bounce down over the line.

However, the ball hit the GNG goalkeeper’s water bottle that was nestled inside the post and rebounded out with both the referee and his assistant ruling that the effort hadn’t crossed the line.

Cottesmore continued to push for a third goal after the break and created the better chances.

However, as the contest wore on, GNG sensed there could be an equaliser for them but they struggled to create clear-cut chances against a well-organised Cottesmore rearguard.

Their shots were restricted to being from distance and Cottesmore came nearest to adding to their tally with Robson going close with a late effort.

Boss Giblin added: “We started the game very well and dictated the early play. It was the best we had started all season and we were looking comfortable with the ball.

“We shot ourselves in the foot by conceding a soft free-kick for their first goal which briefly rocked us but we got ourselves back level and then took the lead.

“The decision then not to award the goal from Harry Stannard’s header was frustrating because at 3-1 it’s a different game.

“We needed to continue what we were doing in the second half and find the next goal. We kept putting ourselves in the right positions but waiting to pull the trigger which was frustrating.

“We were maybe waiting for the perfect opportunity instead of just smashing it and seeing what happens.

“GNG felt there was something in the game for them the longer second half went on, but we marshalled our defence well and it was pleasing to get another three points.

“We’re not too worried about looking at where we are in the league at the moment. We don’t want to put the players under any pressure because it’s way too early in the season to be doing that and we have got to remember the enjoyment element of it.”

Cottesmore are back in action at Westray Park on Saturday when they host Ellistown before making the trip to Thurnby Rangers on Tuesday night.

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