Pharrell Anderson cancelled out Jack Friends opener to earn a point, but red cards to Bailey Weatherly and Tyler Knowles meant both teams ended up with ten men.
Saturday 11th February 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (1) 1 MARCH TOWN UNITED (1) 1
Cooks; Anderson 66
Hares; Friend 30
March Town United made their first trip to Compton Park on a dry but very dull day in Northamptonshire hoping to get something from an inform Cogenhoe United team. Scott Carlin made some changes from the heroic team that knocked the Poppies out of the county cup on Tuesday night with Kyle Ansell and Bailey Weatherly returning after missing that clash through being cup-tied, but Bruce Tsinosis and Harry Waple-Moors had to settle for a place on the bench, with the latter even missing out on that after picking up a leg injury during the warm-up. March manager Ash Taylor made one change from the team that had been beaten 4-2 at Eynesbury in midweek with Josh Burrows taking over from Tyler Knowles on the right side of the defence.
The Cooks kicked towards the clubhouse end in the first half, but March were first on the attack on an unusually still day on top of the hill. A decent move ended with Jack Saunders firing over the bar from the left side of the box. The Cooks first shot came from distance when Jamie Hall waited for the ball to drop some 30-yards from goal before hitting it on the volley, but Jonah Gill got behind it in the Hares goal. Louie Barrett made a good run down the right and won a corner that Ansell swung over. It came off an amber head, but dropped for Weatherly on the left of the box some 15-yards out and he had a touch before cracking a shot that flew just over the crossbar. A great first touch by Weatherly sent Jessi Obeng running into the box on the left before cutting inside and playing it across the 6-yard box, but Danny Emmington got to it first and cleared his lines, then a long throw into the Cogenhoe box saw Ben Gough head the ball away after Efraim Romanos had helped it across the box and the Cooks broke quickly with Weatherly winning a challenge and Alex Parkes sent Hall deep into enemy territory, but unfortunately his pass inside to Obeng just inside the box was behind its intended target.
Hall hit a volley from a few yards outside the box that Gill took comfortably, before we lived a little dangerously with a poor ball out from the back that went straight to Sam Murphy 35-yards out with Ash Bodycote out of position, but the big March midfielder’s first-time shot was drifting further away from goal the closer it got to the village. Luca Purse misjudged a high ball from Romanos allowing Jack Friend to get in behind him on the left side of the box and he hit a fierce shot that Bodycote had to dive to his right to keep out with a great save and before the ball went dead, the Cooks had launched another quick break that saw Hall put through the middle and he held off his man to get into the box, but placed his shot agonisingly just wide of the far post with the keeper beaten.
With 30 minutes played, Bodycote had one of those moments that only goalkeeper’s can suffer as he went to clear a backpass on the edge of his 6-yard box, but a bobble meant he sliced it badly and the ball ran straight to Jack Friend a few yards out with an open goal in front of him and he gratefully rolled the ball into the empty net for his 16th goal of the season, and probably his easiest. Barrett saw a cross headed away by Scott Callaghan (incidentally the visitors defender was wearing a scrum cap today and quite appropriately his first attempt to play the ball up the field had resulted in him finding touch). Weatherly left a foot in on Adam Brumby and earned himself a yellow card, while a long throw from Callaghan fell to Friend inside the box, but his low drive was saved by Bodycote. Perry Ronayne blocked Friend’s effort after the striker had turned well on the edge of the box just before Barrett was booked for a late challenge just inside his own half. The free-kick was launched into the box, but Bodycote came out quickly to punch the ball clear from a few yards inside his penalty area. Hall and Ansell battled to win a corner on the left that Parkes sent over deep to be met by a powerful downward header by Gough. Hall threw himself at it to try and get a touch, but the ball carried on and bounced just the wrong side of the far post.
The Cooks defence struggled to deal with another long throw from Callaghan, but we kept things tight denying March a sight of goal and when Callaghan dinked in a cross after receiving the ball back on the right, Bodycote caught it cleanly. An excellent tackle by Ronayne deep inside the box denied Sam Green after Friend had picked him out with a good pass and this proved to be the last action of the first half. It had been a tight affair with both sides creating a few chances, but that rather fortuitous goal from Jack Friend separated the teams as they headed in for the break.
HALF-TIME; COOKS 0 HARES 1
No changes for either team at the break and Cogenhoe were first to show as Barrett looked for Hall in the middle with his cross, but the ball drifted kindly into the arms of Gill, then Murphy appeared to catch Cichosz with his elbow in the middle of the park, but none of the officials saw any wrong doing out there. Emmington sent a throw into the box from the right that Callaghan rose to flick on, but Craig Gillies could only direct his header at Bodycote, whilst down the other end a dangerous Ansell corner was well defended at the near post. A decent effort on the turn by Murphy some 25-yards out curled just wide of the post just before Carlin made his first change of the game as Hall made way for Pharrell Anderson on 56 minutes. Perhaps a little unlucky on Hall who given his all in a decent performance, but Biff was looking to shake things up in the front line as we looked for a different approach to our attacking options.
A cross-field pass from Gillies picked out Friend on the left and he made ground before hitting a good shot that Bodycote got his hand too, but the keeper had to thank Gough for some excellent covering that saw him get back to head the ball off the line and into the thankful arms of his keeper. Barrett had a cross blocked and a second attempt taken by the keeper, then Ansell played a free-kick into the box to win a corner off the head of Emmington, but Parks failed to find a blue shirt with his delivery. Ash Taylor’s first change came on 61 minutes when he replaced Green with Tyler Knowles and it was his team who had a good spell with Ronayne (twice) and Gough both defending their box well with good challenges and interceptions. Bodycote had to be strong to claim a bouncing ball inside the box under pressure from Romanos, then the Cooks keeper did really well as Gillies had been sent clear inside the box on the right.
The Cooks drew level on 66 minutes and it was sub Anderson who pulled his side level. A Parkes free-kick found its way to Anderson and although he initially couldn’t get the ball down to shoot, he took it inside and teased the two defenders before slotting it past Gill from 4-yards out. Great tenacity from the young striker and a cool, cool finish to top it off. Having just got back on level terms, the game got a little harder for the Cooks sixty seconds later when they were reduced to ten men. Weatherly, already on a yellow card, went in hard in a tackle that saw him take the ball, but referee Jon Livingston saw things differently and brandished the yellow card, quickly followed by the red one. Biff was somewhat unhappy with the referee’s decision and unfortunately for the Cooks gaffer the referee was able to understand his Geordie accent and he was also shown the red card to conclude the minute of madness.
The powerful Gillies managed to get past Gough to make the box, but he was out-muscled by Ronayne before he could get any further, then Ronayne cut out a low Friend cross after Brumby had picked him out of the left. March took off Burrows in favour of Luis Cowie with fourteen minutes remaining, then after Obeng had won a corner that came to nothing, the Cooks took off Barrett in favour of Kodi Briggs. A debatable offside flag pulled back Anderson who looked at least two yards on before bursting past the static back line of the visitors and then The Hares made their third change of the afternoon as Jack Saunders made way for Kaylum Timberlake.
Purse was hesitating taking a throw in and continued to do so after the referee had told him to get on with it, so it was no surprise when the yellow card came back out, but it was the Cooks who were hungry for a winner now after defending well as March had upped their game since gaining the man advantage. An Anderson cross from the right was headed clear, then Briggs sent a rocket of a shot over the bar from the edge of the box after Obeng had held the ball up well. Anderson’s pace then saw him burst past two defenders to make a run at goal before being brought down by Knowles on the edge of the box. The referee instantly blew his whistle for the free kick and already had the red card in his hand before he reached the Hares sub. There was a call for advantage to be played as the ball had put Obeng completely clear inside the box, but a referee has to make a call in these situations and having deemed it a red card foul, he stopped play immediately. We had now reached 90 minutes as Ansell took the free-kick, but he hit the wall and was well off balance as it came back to him and he fired the rebound well over the bar.
The Cooks contingent had their hearts in their mouths as Friend was played clear through, but the offside flag was already up. Obeng sent Anderson into the box on the right and he cut inside before pulling it back to Obeng. The ball was a little behind his strike partner, but he stepped back and hit a shot that beat the keeper, but smacked against the crossbar. Stoppage time was extended as Gill had banged his head after trying to get near to Obeng’s cross, but he was OK to play out the final few minutes. An overhead kick from Obeng didn’t cause the keeper too much trouble, then Friend made a run, but Gough tracked with him and sent him square before bringing him down. Emmington went for goal from the free-kick some 25-yards out and his effort was a good one, but it was inches too high and Bodycote appeared to have it covered.
So 1-1 is how it finished and looking back it was probably a fair reflection of the ninety minutes I guess. The point lifts us above Lutterworth in the table on goal difference after they were beaten 0-3 at home by Histon. Both Rothwell Corinthians and Long Buckby picked up points from goalless draws today, whilst it was also a point for Desborough who held MK Irish 1-1 at Manor Fields. Easington are only three points ahead of us now after they were beaten 2-0 at improving Eynesbury and they are level on points with Godmanchester who were held at home by Corinthians. We are four points behind Bugbrooke with two games in hand after their 2-6 home reverse against runaway leaders Rugby who are now 17 points clear of Wellingborough Town, but third placed Coventry Sphinx, who went out of the F.A Vase today on penalties, remain their biggest rivals for the title given their games in hand. Staying with the Vase, holders Newport Pagnell are the only surviving UCL club this season after 990 people watched Ben Shepherd’s goal give them a 1-0 win at home to Jersey Bulls today.
Back to today’s game at Compton Park. We weren’t as good as we have been over the last few games, but did enough to win today had they taken their chances. Ash Bodycote can be forgiven his one mistake after making so many fine saves since he joined us on loan from Rugby. The keeper slices the ball and it often leads to a goal, everyone else does and it’s usually forgotten five minutes later. Not for the first time this season we let ourselves down a little in front of goal by not taking our chances today, although Jessi Obeng can consider himself very unlucky with his last minute shot that came back off the bar. Pharrell Anderson only came on as a sub early in the second half, but had a massive impact on the game, but he is just pipped to my man-of-the-match award by Perry Ronayne who is really making his mark at the back for the Cooks.
No midweek game for the Cooks this week, but we are back at home next Saturday for the fifth and final match of our run of home games when we entertain an Eynesbury Rovers team who have recently pulled themselves away from the bottom with the sort of run that the Cooks are looking for right now. All the best to March and their set of supporters who made the trip today. They probably made up just over a third of the attendance and it was good to see them in their amber and black scarves and hats.
Cooks; 1. Ash Bodycote 2. Luca Purse 12. Kyle Ansell 4. Alex Parkes 5. Perry Ronayne 6. Ben Gough 7. Louie Barrett (sub 3. Kodi Briggs 80) 8. Paddy Cichosz 20. Jamie Hall (sub 16. Pharrell Anderson 56) 10. Bailey Weatherly 11. Jessi Obeng. Subs no used; 9. Callum Farmer 14. Bruce Tsinosis 15. Dalton Leon.
Red card; Weatherly (67) Second yellow.
Yellow cards; Weatherly (33) Foul, Barrett (39) Foul, Weatherly (67) Foul. Purse (86) Time wasting.
Hares; 1. Jonah Gill 2. Josh Burrows (sub 14. Luis Cowie 76) 3. Adam Brumby 4. Scott Callaghan 5. Danny Emmington © 6. Efraim Romanus 7. Sam Green (sub 12. Tyler Knowles 61) 8. Sam Murphy 9. Craig Gillies 10. Jack Friend 11. Jack Saunders (sub 16. Kaylum Timberlake 82). Sub not used; Harry Edwards.
Red card; Knowles (90). Professional foul.
Yellow card; Gillies (65) Foul.
Referee; Jon Livingston
Assts; Simon Cheney & Stewart Glendenning
Apologies for the quality of photos of late, my lens has come to the end of its lifetime, but has done well considering the amount of times I have banged it on the rail round the pitch.