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Reserves pegged back but overall a good display in Oakley.

Wednesday 29th July 2021
Cooks scorers; Reza 21, Iaciofano 34
Att; 28

From a supporters point of view it was a pretty decent evening for football as the heavy rain that soaked the players during their warm-up relented just before the kick-off and was replaced by evening sunshine in Oakley. Chris Hewett was in charge of the team again tonight with Gary Fletcher assisting him in the dug-out. It was once again a very young side and not for the first time they lined-up against a far more experienced and physical team in their Bedfordshire League Premier Division hosts AFC Oakley.

The game started very evenly with Oakley going close with a good strike that went just wide before Connor Brunton saw a shot blocked from just inside the box. Nathan Adamson saved well at his near post whilst we replied through a JJ McCarthy shot that was blocked before it could trouble the home keeper. The Cooks took the lead on 21 minutes direct from a free-kick around 25-yards from goal in a central position, very similar position in fact to the one Archie Elmore had scored from the previous day. Shad Reza was given the responsibility for the Reserves and he struck it low and placed it just inside the post to the keeper’s left, but the Oakley custodian will be a little disappointed that the ball squirmed through his attempt to grasp it and went over the line.

The Cooks now had a good spell of pressure with McCarthy forcing a save from the keeper with a well-struck shot, then the Cooks lively striker headed over from a long Brunton throw from the right. McCarthy turned his man nicely on the edge of the box before curling a shot a foot over the bar, then he laid the ball off for Reza who beat two defenders and cut in along the byline, but unfortunately the ball ran away from him and through to the keeper waiting at the near post. A great cross from Isaac Liu was taken off McCarthy’s head on the edge of the 6-yard box, but we did double the lead with a well-made and equally well-taken goal on 34 minutes. Good play from Reza in the centre saw him slip an excellent ball into the path of Luca Iaciofano’s run into the box and cool as a cucumber the youngster slotted the ball past the out-coming keeper and into the net.

It was so nearly three for the Cooks a minute later when Brunton hit a superb strike from the right side of the Oakley box that left the keeper beaten all-ends up, but the ball smacked against the far post and back across the area. Six minutes before the break the home side pulled a goal back and it must be said it was a rather soft one to concede from our point of view. We weren’t tight enough deep inside our penalty area and although Adamson saved well, he couldn’t hold onto the ball and it was poked over the line from very close range by the forward.

Very good first half’s entertainment with both teams trying to play football and get forward at every opportunity, but it was the Cooks had held the interval lead 2-1.

Hewett brought all three subs on at the break, but it was Oakley who had the ball in the net very early in the second half only for it to be ruled out for a foul on Adamson, while McCarthy made a good run into the box form the right, but probably tried to do a little too much on this occasion and he was crowded out. Caleb Jones set up Brunton on the edge of the box and the skipper forced the keeper to dive to his left to save his well-struck shot and then McCarthy cut in from the right and curled a shot towards the far corner, but once again the keeper dived to push the ball away. McCarthy teed up Brunton on the edge of the box but his first time shot was the wrong side of the post whilst Oakley were far from happy with some of the decisions from the referee resulting in their number 14 being shown the yellow card for a foul and then sent to the sinbin sixty seconds later after he felt his team should have been awarded a free-kick.

The game was now end-to-end, but it was Oakley who struck next shortly after going back up to eleven. A break down the left saw them get into our box and a powerful finish saw Adamson given little chance of keeping it out and it was all-square at 2-2 with fourteen minutes left to play. McCarthy got his head to a Brunton throw but couldn’t find the power to trouble the keeper, whilst Oakley forced a couple of saves out of Adamson with low efforts, but they so nearly won it at the death when a thumping drive smacked against the crossbar and the rebound was put straight at the keeper.

Great workout for both teams tonight and our extremely young Reserve squad once again showed us the potential we have as a squad. We did lose our way in the last twenty minutes but it is a learning curve for the boys in these early days of senior football.


Cooks; Nathan Adamson, Curtis Green, Elijah Noel, Shad Reza, Nathan Jones, Jake Walpole, Isaac Liu, Connor Brunton, JJ McCarthy, Luca Iaciofano, Brad Burbidge. Subs all used; Oli Sliyvic, Caleb Jones & Andis Vigants.


The Reserves return to Compton Park on Saturday for their final friendly game as they entertain Ampthill Town Development with a 3pm kick -off.

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