Cotgrave FC 0 vs 1 AOFC
A great performance earns victory in NSL season opener for AOFC.
AOFC were eager to get their NSL season underway after two games had been postponed due to a cracked pitch at Orston. The Cotgrave pitch was in a great condition considering the dry weather. The Cranmers knew they would be up against it as Cotgrave had won both of their opening fixtures, scoring 9 goals in the process. However the away side had a strong squad available and were full of confidence after an unbeaten pre season.
It was certainly the home side in royal blue who started the brighter. They had the majority of the possession through the defence and midfield however this rarely led to a threat towards Aslockton & Orston's goal. It took a good 15 minutes of soaking up pressure and some solid defending for the away side, in their alternative pink strip, to get going and work their way in to the game. It was Matt James down the right who caused the most trouble for the home side, with his pace and direct play. The away side should have taken the lead as fine build up play between Matt James, Julian and Joachim and Rob Lakin saw the latter clean through on goal and would have put the Cranmers ahead had it not been for a fantastic save by the Cotgrave keeper. Cotgrave continued to see a lot of the ball in the middle of midfield, but Freddie Daws and Cole Maule ensured that this didn't lead to chances created. Lee Potts looked bright up front for the home side, after scoring a hat-trick in the previous fixture, however he was very well marshalled by Alex Purkis and James Hallam at centre-half.
Rob Lakin was causing all sorts of issues with his height and power up front for Aslockton and it was solo play from him who put them ahead on the half hour mark. The ball was kept in at the corner flag by a Cotgrave player and Lakin was there to collect and drive along the touchline towards goal. He evaded a couple of strong challenges before reaching the six yard box and smashing the ball in to the roof of the net. Despite Cotgrave's possession it seemed a deserved goal for AOFC after frustrating the home side for the first part of the game. The away side stayed very well organised and Cotgrave continued to struggle to break them down. The home side did forge a couple of long range efforts which were well dealt with by Nick Eatough in the Cranmers' net.
0 - 1 the half time score.
Cotgrave had clearly had a stern talking to at half time and came out very strong in the second half. They began to go more direct with the ball rather than playing through the midfield, and tried to put the ball in wider areas. Ben Maule and Nico Devivo were solid at full back for the away side, not allowing any creativity down the flanks. Cotgrave became more frustrated but continued to pile on the pressure. Eatough again was called in to action from long range efforts, while Lakin's height was required to defend several set pieces. AOFC played on the counter and looked dangerous whenever the ball was played forward quickly. Matt James thought he had earned a penalty when he felt a push in the penalty area and the referee put his whistle to his mouth but rightly adjudged that there was no foul. Oliver Warner won the ball back in dangerous area down the left for Aslockton and his effort to lob the keeper from distance went wide.
Cotgrave were throwing everything at Aslockton & Orston to get back in to the game, however the away side stood strong. Eatough made a couple of excellent saves whilst the players in pink put their bodies on the line to block other efforts on goal. Probably the best chance for Cotgrave was when Eatough saved a fierce effort but was only able to parry back in to the area. A Cotgrave player got their first and looked like he had a tap in, however Matt James through himself in the way with a goal saving tackle. He injured himself in the process and was replaced by Kieran Ellis. Kieran added some energy and helped the away side see the game out.
A fine win after an excellent team performance by AOFC who will look to build on their first victory on Tuesday night against Keyworth, The fixture will be played at Platt Lane, Keyworth, 7:30pm kick off.
Goal from Rob Lakin.
MOTM Nick Eatough.
Thanks to everyone who has shown their support for the club!