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No referee, a power cut, five goals and the woodwork hit three times. Just another night in the village!

Tuesday 5th March 2024





Knights 63


Bessadi 43

Preston 62

Mobbs (og) 77

Watts 83


Att; 58


This fixture had fallen foul to the weather twice already and we had a couple of scares again this evening, firstly with scheduled referee Jake Bloom not turning up or letting anybody know, then a local power cut that wiped out the village, but in the end we finally got the game played. Firstly, thanks to Ben Grundy who was scheduled to be the senior assistant, but he took control as soon as it came apparent the ref was going to be a no-show and did a superb job throughout.

On the field, Scott Carlin brought skipper Harley Mallard in for Tejan Thomas and Sonny Knights for the unavailable Dom Wysocki, while teenage pair Matty Ireland and Josh Rayfield were joined by Takula Chijota on the bench. Aylestone manager James Dodd made two changes to his starting line-up from the team that had thrashed Newport Pagnell at the weekend with Dominic Watts and Adam Bessadi coming in for Marshal Keenan and Jake Wormleighton who both dropped down to the bench.

The visitors started like a team sitting in second place as they looked for an early goal with Watts firing a shot across John Meadows from the left of the box but wide of the far post, then following a quick break, Corey Buccalossi did the same from a similar position after a good pass by Adam Bessadi had created the chance. Jake Duffy lifted the ball up into the box and it broke nicely to Sam Hollis who hit his shot sweetly only to see the ball crash back into play off the upright. Having been pegged back for the first ten minutes, Knights intercepted a poor square pass and broke deep into the Park half where he won a corner, but Callum Farmer’s delivery was headed clear from just outside the 6-yard box. The game took an unexpected twist in the 18th minute when a power cut left the village in sudden darkness. The electricity was restored after several minutes and once the floodlights had cooled down enough to be switched back on, play resumed some 18 minutes later.

Ryan Seal spurned a good chance from the centre of the box when he shot weakly at Meadows from a great position, then the Cooks keeper claimed the ball inside his 6-yard box after Hollis got his head to a Duffy free-kick. Farmer was pulled up for a foul just outside his own box with Duffy curling the free-kick just wide, although Meadows looked to have it covered. Earl Atat needed some treatment after copping the ball in his face, while down the other end a rare moment saw Jack Connor show some pace as he tried to outrun Sam Preston, but the defender did just enough to get his foot to the ball at the expense of a throw-in. All the Cooks defensive work was undone two minutes before the interval when Aylestone got their noses in front. Not sure who got to the cross from the right, but they were very unlucky to see their first time shot hit the bar, but the Cooks didn’t take advantage of this slice of luck as they failed to clear their lines and Bessadi was able to turn the ball over the line from close range. To be fair the visitors deserved to be in front at half-time considering their dominance of possession, but it was disappointing to have conceded a soft goal late in the half.


Half-Time; Cooks 0 Aylestone Park 1


Dodd made a change at the break with Hollis making way for the prolific Matt Langham while the Cooks were as you were. Bailey Weatherly got the better of Charley Kilburn a few yards inside the visitors half and his pace took him clear enough to make space for a shot 25-yards out and his effort had Josh Wormleighton scampering to his right and thankful to see the ball go inches wide of the post. The Cooks had started the second half well and they had a great chance to equalise after Mallard headed a Farmer free-kick towards the back post, but Brad Ilunga couldn’t get his feet right and failed to turn the ball home from close range. Aylestone’s Bessadi played a great ball in from the right that they perhaps should have tested Meadows with before the first change of the night from Biff saw Weatherly replaced by Ireland.

Farmer managed to get his foot to a well-struck Langham shot with the ball flying over the bar just before Kilburn picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ireland as the Cobblers youngster had beaten him to the ball. Meadows dived down to make a good save to deny Bessadi deep inside the box, but from the following corner the visitors grabbed their second goal of the night with 62 minutes played. Farmer had done really well to block an offensive header on the goal line, but Preston reacted quickest and nodded in from close range. This was a real blow to the Cooks who had probably been the better of the two teams since the break, but the two goal deficit was to last just sixty seconds as a great move saw Connor flick the ball into the path of Knights on the edge of the Aylestone penalty area and he took it in his stride before firing home from the centre of the box with a great finish.

With 63 minutes played it was game on again as Cogenhoe’s belief built up and they so nearly made it two with a great move down the left. Jamari Hart’s touch sent Keiron Mobbs racing down the left and he sent over a superb low cross, but Connor just failed to get the vital touch that would have seen him celebrating hitting double figures for the season. Very frustrating moment for him and the Cooks faithful. Hart then won the ball down the left and pulled it back across the box, but it was just behind Connor before we saw a spate of substitutions with 16-year old Rayfield replacing Knights and then Farmer making way for Chijota to make his Cooks debut and at the same time, Jake Wormleighton came on for Seal with the sub taking up his favoured right-back berth and Watts switching to the opposite flank. The latest Park sub was quickly to involved in the storyline as his corner picked out skipper Justin Peace beyond the far post and his header may well have been saved by Meadows had it not changed direction off Mobbs who had tried desperately to block it. Unfortunate own goal against the young left-back and a lot of work to do for the Cooks with thirteen minutes left of normal time.

Carlin made his last two changes as Sharma Bako and Dex Nkrumah came on in place of Atat and Hart in an attempt to claw themselves back into the game with three up top, but disaster struck on 81 minutes as we shipped a fourth goal on the night. Aylestone had been putting us under some real pressure at the back and when the Watts was set up 25-yards out, he unleashed a fierce drive that flew into the back of the net. From where I stood it looked like a clean strike, but I was later told that it took a deflection that gave Meadows no chance, but he still hit it well. Nkrumah was looking lively and sent in a couple of decent crosses that we couldn’t convert, while Park gave late run outs to Kai O’Keeffe, a recent signing from Newport Pagnell, and Ethan Hully who replaced Kee and Watts respectively. A great tackle inside the box by Peace denied Connor just before a great cut-back from Nkrumah inside the box on the right was cut out and cleared. It was so nearly five right at the death as Langham danced through before hitting the post, but it was still another three points for Aylestone Park who kept up the pressure on Wellingborough as the chase for the title reaches the most important part of the season.

I would have to say that Aylestone Park have a very good team who play some entertaining football and that overall they deserved their win, but 1-4 was a bit harsh on the young Cooks team who really came back into the game after the break. My Cooks man of the match today goes to Paddy Cichosz who worked really hard against a strong opposition midfield. Good luck to Aylestone in their promotion push and we will see them again when we head to Leicester for the penultimate game of the season next month.

We are back at home again both Saturday and the following Tuesday with Yaxley (3pm) being followed three days later by March Town.


Cooks; 1. John Meadows 2. Earl Atat (sub 15 Sharma Bako 80) 3. Keiron Mobbs 4. Callum Farmer (sub 16. Takula Chijota 73) 5. Brad Ilunga 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Jamari Hart (sub 17. Dex Nkrumah 80) 8. Paddy Cichosz 9. Jack Connor 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 12. Matty Ireland 53) 11. Sonny Knights (sub 14. Josh Rayfield 70).

Aylestone Park; 1. Josh Wormleighton 2. Charley Kilburn 3. Dominic Watts (sub 16. Ethan Hully 83) 4. Sam Preston 5. Justin Peace © 6. Jake Duffy 7. Sam Hollis (sub 9. Matt Langham HT) 8. Ryan Seal (sub 14. Jake Wormleighton 73) 10. Corey Buccalossi 11. Adam Bessadi (sub 12. Marshall Keenan 77) 29. Billy Kee (sub 15. Kai O’Keeffe 85).

Referee; Ben Grundy Assts; Bobby Cameron & Ben Dimon




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