Cottesmore Amateurs have received a cash boost in their bid to combat vandalism at their Westray Park ground.
The Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division side have been awarded £2,000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.
The money will go towards overall ground maintenance with a view to installing security cameras and fencing off their pitch after a spate of vandalism at their ground.
During pre-season, vehicles were driven across their excellent playing surface leaving tyre marks that needed to be repaired.
Their stand was also damaged twice in different incidents at the start of last year which came after arsonists caused £70,000 worth of the damage following a fire in 2011.
Chairman Steve Duffy said: “We’re delighted to receive the money through the Tesco community grant scheme.
“It’s great that even though we’re outside of Oakham (where the Tesco store is) people were still prepared to support us.
“We’ve had a lot of problems with vandalism and this money will go towards the ground maintenance.
“We’re looking at getting security cameras installed and hopefully get the pitch fenced off because we’re trying to get the ground up to level six standard.”
Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork and sees grants raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year.
Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £43 million to over 10,000 local community projects.
Cottesmore returned to Leicestershire Senior League action for the first time in a month at the weekend and went down to a 5-1 home reversal against Allexton and New Parks.
Amateurs had started well with James North, Colton Cropper and Jordan Smith prominent during the early stages.
However, a lapse in concentration at the back allowed Allexton an easy finish from close range to open the scoring.
The goal seemed to disrupt Cottesmore rather than fire them on and Allexton soon doubled their lead with a replica of their opener.
Cottesmore responded with the efforts of Danny Seals and Andre Fontoura leading their charge as they looked dangerous at setpieces through Tom Spawton’s aerial prowess.
However, they were unable to peg Allexton back and, despite a stern half-time team talk, they made a lack-lustre start to the second half.
They were soon punished again when Allexton added a third before a change in system briefly brought Cottesmore to life.
The introduction of Chad Warman and Wilson Iron helped Cottesmore retain possession more and they soon reduced the arrears.
Luke Smith set the ball rolling with some good play at the back which teed up Cropper who played in Tom Pope.
Despite an acute angle, Pope rifled home the goal of the game with a right-footed volley over the goalkeeper into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Cottesmore pushed forward in search of a second goal, but they were hit on the counter-attack as Allexton added their fourth.
Jack Mellor then made his return to first team action from the bench and produced some dangerous breaks from full-back and delivered a couple of inviting crosses that were not converted.
It was Allexton though who completed the scoring with 10 minutes remaining as they again broke at pace to finish past keeper Ben Challis who had no chance with any of the goals.
It was a bad day at the office for Cottesmore who will be looking to improve their consistency when they visit Bardon Hill on Saturday.
Cottesmore: Challis, Spawton, L Smith, Dawson, North, J Smith, Fontoura, Seals, Cropper, Archer-Fern, Pope. Subs: Warman, Iron, Mellor.