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Cottesmore AFC draw with Burbage & Huncote in the Leicestershire Senior League

Manager John Rawdon has challenged his Cottesmore side to start turning their draws into victories to ensure a strong finish to the season.

The Rutland side shared the spoils for the ninth time in the Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division this term in a 1-1 home draw with Burbage & Huncote on Saturday.

They hit back after conceding inside the opening 45 seconds with a stunning late strike from Brenden Parker ensuring the honours finished even.

Brenden Parker. Photo: Dan Allen
Brenden Parker. Photo: Dan Allen

It moved Cottesmore up into ninth place in what has been a transitional season in Rawdon's first campaign at the helm.

He said: "I will be putting a bit more pressure on the lads now to pick up more points.

"League tables don't lie but we've lost eight games this season and Aylestone Park in second have lost seven.

"We have drawn so many games so we are a long way off the pace. We are rebuilding the team but we're competing with everyone that we play.

"We've now got to go out and turn those draws into wins and finish the season strongly and it was a really positive and good performance on Saturday."

Cottesmore had conceded early on when Alex Mugglestone's shot from the edge of the area took a huge deflection and looped over goalkeeper Colton Cropper.

The goal hit the hosts who took time to find their feet before growing into the contest and creating some good chances as the first half wore on.

Mark Tinsley went close after being teed up by Ewan Simmons while a last-ditch thwarted Matt Pope.

Tom Caldicott also shot over while Aaron Ridout saw an effort blocked following Will Rawdon's delivery into the box from a free-kick.

Cottesmore continued to threaten after the break with Simmons shooting wide after a forceful run into the area.

The home side then brought on Parker, Toby Lee and Gabor Szucs to aid their push for an equaliser which arrived in style in the final throes of the contest.

Parker picked the ball up 30 yards out and beat four players on a terrific run before rifling home his finish into the bottom corner to secure a deserved draw for Cottesmore.

Rawdon added: "It was a good point and we were absolutely full value for it.

"The early goal did knock the stuffing out of us and we were really poor for the first 15 minutes.

"Luckily, we weren't punished and then got hold of the game. Hand on heart, we were the better team for the rest of the match.

"We didn't take some decent chances and should have been ahead by half-time.

"I thought we shaded the second half and looked a little bit more dangerous and then the raft of changes made us stronger.

"It took a wonder goal from Brenden for the equaliser which was really pleasing for him."

The club had observed a minute silence ahead of kick-off following the death of former first team coach Bruce Poynter.

Poynter - who also coached at Bourne Town - was with Cottesmore for a couple of seasons and worked alongside Rich Giblin in their club record-breaking FA Vase run.

A club statement said: "Bruce's enthusiasm, humour, honesty and love for the game made him popular with all who met him.

"His knowledge and hard work with the players were a key part of the successful League Cup and FA Vase runs and, although he had to move on due to starting his own business, he remained very much part of our club.

"Bruce passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones after a short illness. We send our thoughts and best wishes to his family at this difficult time. He will be missed by all who knew him."

Cottesmore have a home league match with Thurnby Rangers at Westray Park on Saturday.

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