Cotgrave Blue 2 - AFC Kirk Hallam 1
Harsh result after leading for most of the game
After a cancelled home fixture, and two weeks of trying to get a pitch at Gallows, Kirk Hallam lost their home advantage as the match had to be moved to Cotgrave after again being let down by the home pitch. This was added to by having five players unavailable for the match.
This was a match between the winners of Division three red vs the winners of division three blue, which suggested we were in for a good match. On a pitch that had held up for a game before, the depleted Kirk Hallam started the stronger, having carried on their recent playing style of fast, passing football and went at the Cotgrave, creating many early chances before Harris Khan made it 1-0 with a long range shot that was misjudged by the home goalkeeper. Cotgrave were visibly shaken by this and Kirk Hallam continued to press on and should really have capitalised on this. They didn't, and Cotgrave grew into the game and created a number of chances themselves. The first half ended 1-0 and could have been 3-3, it was that even.
The second half saw both sides having to battle against a rapidly deteriorating pitch, with Kirk Hallam now having to play slightly uphill. Again, both sides created chances, with Cotgrave possibly applying more pressure, but Kirk Hallam defending brilliantly and hitting back in an end to end game.
Cotgrave finally broke through the Kirk Hallam defence following a long ball over the top, which the striker ran onto and equalised. Kirk Hallam continued to play their passing football and tried working the ball up the other end in search of the winner. Cotgrave hit back with a sucker punch in the last couple of minutes with another long ball over the top for the striker to run onto and score. Kirk Hallam then push, but with Cotgrave parking the bus and clearing out of touch on every opportunity as any team would with a minute to go, couldn't get a breakthrough.
A fantastic game of football in tough conditions saw the Kirk Hallam boys come off the pitch in tears after what was their first defeat since September. Cotgrave showed a fantastic gesture by giving the Kirk Hallam lads a medal each after the match in recognition of the quality of the match.
Kirk Hallam will hope for revenge the following week when they return for a league match and hopefully a full squad.