Cotton pulls positives from defeat by ‘best side in the league’

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Clipstone boss Ian Cotton was delighted with his side’s effort in a 3-0 defeat by ‘the best side in the league.’

The Cobras were well beaten by NCEL Premier leaders Cleethorpes Town on Tuesday night.

But the way in which his players competed pleased Cotton.

“Clearly they were the better side, first half they gave us the runaround and showed us how to play football,” he said.

“But overall we came out for the second half and competed, kept it a lot closer.

“The third goal killed us.

“We wanted to get one back and hope that we’d get a bit of injection of pace but it never came.

“We’ve clearly played the best side in the league by a long way and I think over 90 minutes, from where we started as a side some weeks back, it was a good effort from the lads.

“They’re a different class from an different class from anything else we’ve played.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for my lads.”

Cotton says the 16th-placed Cobras can take plenty of positives from the fixture and things are looking bright for the future.

“Going back 10 games, the starting point for a lot of them only playing a couple of years of reserve football, so I think it was a great effort,” he said.

“There are plenty of positives for us to take out of the game.

“We’re a young side, we’ve got improvement in it.

“If we coach them right and learn from the 12 to 15 games we’ve had this season, we’ll be a lot better side next season.”

Cobras’ goalkeeper Gary Doncaster made an early point blank save to deny Andrew Taylor and denied the same player with 11 minutes gone.

The visitors took the lead with a somewhat fortunate goal when a corner from the left taken by visiting skipper Alex Flett got caught in the wind and evaded everyone in the area and went in off the back post.

Cleethorpes doubled their lead when Flett scored with an expertly taken free-kick near the edge of the area.

Clipstone picked up their game in the second period and restricted the visitors to very few clear cut chances.

They had two decent chances themselves.

A skilful 15-yard run by Harry Bircumshaw allowed the young midfielder a shooting opportunity but it was straight at Liam Histon in the Cleethorpes goal.

Histon also spilled a shot from Luke Walker but got back just in time to stop the ball rolling over the line.

The killer goal came in the 72nd minute when a through ball from Marc Cooper enabled Leigh Hutchinson to beat the offside trap and put his low shot past Doncaster.

Doncaster then denied the visitors a fourth when he pulled off a superb save to tip over a blistering shot from Cleethorpes full back Tim Lowe.

The Cobras now visit local rivals AFC Mansfield on Saturday 15 April, 3pm.