Flying start for Clipstone with big away win at Asfordby

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A hat-trick from skipper Tim Gregory alongside a Ryan Ingram penalty and a Gareth Curtis strike ensured Clipstone’s second season in the United Counties League Division One got off to the best possible start with a 5-1 away win at Asfordby.

This is the home side's first season at this level after winning promotion from the Leicestershire Senior League in 2023.

However, a clinical performance from the Cobras made the home side pay for defensive errors as Ian Cotton’s side started well after a good pre-season campaign.

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Cotton has retained the majority of his squad from the 2022/23 season and brought defender Charlie Taylor and forward Gareth Curtis back to the club. Defender Brandon Shaw has also joined the Cobras from Ollerton Town and put in a strong performance on his debut.

Eden Homer launches a throw for Clipstone on Saturday.Eden Homer launches a throw for Clipstone on Saturday.
Eden Homer launches a throw for Clipstone on Saturday.

Coach Josh Parker said: “The most important thing when coming away to a side that we didn’t know that much about was the three points.

“The performance was a bit scrappy in parts and a bit rusty, but with it being the first game we are pleased.

“You always want a good start. In the first 15 minutes we looked quite lively, then we took our foot off the gas and they started to get back into the game.

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“Tim Gregory will run himself into the ground every game, he’s got qualities that enables him to get in goal scoring positions and he took his goals well.

“We’ve got a good squad and there were good performances all over the pitch today, and the players who came on also had an impact on the game. We’ve had a good pre-season and the players have looked after themselves.

“The lads look fit and there is a good atmosphere in the dressing room.

“Next week against Lutterworth is another game and we’ll do our research to see how they play.

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“We just need to concentrate on ourselves and if we put the performances in, nine times out of 10 we’ll get the result.

“With three home games in a eight days now we hope to get as many down to the Lido Ground as we can.”

Clipstone made the ideal start when in the second minute Lewis Bingham made progress down the left and the crossed to Tim Gregory, who had space to turn and fire his left foot shot past keeper Max Alford.

The lead was almost doubled in the sixth minute when a poor back pass by Asforby’s Aaron Carss put pressure on Alford who sliced his clearance.

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As the ball ran loose in front of the goal only a great challenge on Gareth Curtis by Caylem Hart prevented a second goal for the Cobras.

A second goal did come a minute later when defensive errors by the home side led to the ball not being cleared and, as it fell to Curtis, he was brought down by Alford. Ryan Ingram stepped up and converted the spot kick as he sent the keeper wrong way.

The home side tried to get into the game and winger Lloyd Tapper made several runs although not resulting in clear cut chances.

The next chance fell to the visitors in the 24th minute when Lewis Weaver's forward ball was not dealt with by a defender, who was dispossessed by Curtis. The latter’s shot then found the side netting.

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On the half hour mark, the Cobras won a corner, and when the ball came in it found Charlie Taylor whose shot was just over.

The third goal came in the 34th minute when Ingram’s excellent pass found Weaver, whose strong shot was only parried by Alford and Curtis was on hand to pounce and score from close range.

Clipstone were still occasionally tested at the back and five minutes before half-time Eden Homer put in a great challenge on Nathan Ball as he attempted to get a shot in from close range.

It took Clipstone some time to find their rhythm in the second period. but they were stunned into action when Asfordby grabbed a goal back in the 66th minute with a 25-yard effort from Lloyd Tapper that beat Josh Turton at his near post.

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The visitors restored their three-goal advantage within 60 seconds as Lewis Bingham found Gregory in the box and he fired home.

Gregory then completed his hat-trick when an attempted clearance bounced off his leg and rolled past the stranded Alford.

As the home side tired, the Cobras went in search of more goals and great work from Bingham created a chance for substitute Jack Gibb, who had space in the box. But he scuffed his shot and Alford gathered the ball.

The last real chance of the game fell to Clipstone as two other substitutes combined in a move that saw Jordan Roberts make progress down the right and his cross found Kieran Coupe unmarked at the far post. The latter’s firm header was well saved by Alford.

Clipstone now have three consecutive home games, beginning with a visit from Lutterworth Athletic on Saturday (3pm).