Goals from Weatherly and Mobbs gave the Cooks a two goal cushion at Bugbrooke with Panter pulling one back for the hosts, but it was the Cooks who took the three points in this local derby.
Saturday 16th December 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
BUGBROOKE ST MICHAELS (0) 1 COGENHOE UNITED (1) 2
The Cooks made the short trip to Bugbrooke (a long one for me thanks to twenty minutes sitting on the M1 between J15 and 15A) looking to continue their recent good form against our local rivals. Both sides had the usual sprinkling of ex-players to add a bit of spice to the afternoon if the local derby doesn’t already carry that. Dale Walton made four changes to his starting line-up with Dan Porter, Ed Panter, Levon Stewart and a rare start this season for Trent Oakes, while Scott Carlin’s only change was enforced as Luke Bullement had returned to his home city of Hull for the Christmas period meaning Dalton Leon was recalled in midfield. Callum Farmer returned from suspension on the bench where he was joined by Josh Jones who is making his way back after a spell on the sidelines through injury. The other player missing from last week was Charlie Pearson who missed out on a game against his old club through injury.
With the pitch showing the effects of the recent bad weather and a heavily sanded goalmouth at the carpark end, the two teams took a while to accustom themselves meaning a slow start to the action. Earl Atat defended well to get to a dangerous low Panter cross before Oakes could reach it in the first real threat of the game, while down the bottom end Ben Gough sent in a deep free-kick that Harley Mallard rose to meet with his head beyond the far post, but it was a stretch for him and he only managed to steer it at keeper Luke Reeve who caught it cleanly above his head at the post. Gough took another free-kick from virtually the same spot minutes later and this time Sonny Knights headed it on for Jack Connor deep inside the box and he managed to win a corner despite the close attention of Tom Walton and Joel Powell, but it was the next corner down the other end where we saw some goalmouth action as Calvin Green took it short to Panter who sent over a cross that was begging to be put away at the back post, but instead it was half cleared falling to Memoli just outside the box, but he fired his shot over the bar,
Another Green corner down the right was punched my John Meadows and when the ball was returned to the corner taker, he looked to pick out Powell, but the tall centre-back had been left offside as the Cooks defence pushed out. Weatherly, impressing against his former team, made a great run into the box on the right to win a corner which he took himself, but a slip as he took it saw him put the ball straight behind for a goal-kick. Oakes made a strong run to get inside the box just to the left and managed to hit a low shot that Meadows got down to get his glove to with a fine reflex save with the best chance of the game to date, while down the other end a long throw from Gough was helped on by Connor for Kieron Mobbs and he touched it past Reeve, but Walton swept up nicely at the expense of a corner. Gough saw a decent effort from 25-yards out with his sweet left-foot shot not too far over the bar, then Mobbs cut out a Powell clearance with Connor first to the loose ball and his low ball into the danger area was cut out for another corner. The Badgers quickly turned defence into attack from the set-piece with a long ball sending Panter racing down the right, but Mobbs ran with him and checked the Badgers wide man with what looked like a shoulder charge from where I stood, but the referee was a lot closer and gave a free-kick a couple of feet outside the area and few yards from the touchline. Referee Matt Basterfield also deemed this a cautionable offence and produced the games first yellow card with 28 minutes played. Unsurprisingly it was Green who took the free-kick with his drilled effort being blocked only to fall to Powell in the centre of the box, but he totally miscued his first time effort and the danger was gone.
Panter saw a cross cleared by Brad Ilunga and it was the Cooks who were to get their noses in front ten minutes before half-time. A nice first touch by Weatherly allowed him to run at the defence before turning square along the edge of the box looking to get a shot away, but he was tripped by Walton just before he could do so. The free-kick was maybe two-feet outside the box to the left of central and both Weatherly and Gough stood over it, leaving the wall and keeper guessing the angle of expected shot, but it was Bailey Weatherly who stepped up to hit a fantastic strike with his right boot, going over the wall and right into the far top corner with Reeve well beaten. A superb goal and I’m guessing even more special to the scorer coming against his old club.
Dan Porter was shown the yellow card for a late challenge on 39 minutes as he failed to share the same joy against his former club just before a Gough throw was headed across his own penalty area by Oakes, but Connor’s header in the centre went the wrong side of the post. Certainly not a classic forty-five minutes, but the Cooks went into the break the happier of the two however scrappy the game might have been.
Half-Time; Badgers 0 Cooks 1
The Cooks made a great start to the second half and doubled their advantage on 47 minutes as Kieron Mobbs netted his second goal of the season. Weatherly sent in a great ball from the right flank that Connor got the first touch to and despite the ball hitting the bar with Reeve unable to reach it, it dropped to Mobbs who had followed up and he volleyed home from no more than a couple of feet out. You often see chances like this go begging as nobody had got themselves into this sort of position, so well done to young Kieron for his foresight even if the finish was a simple one. Former Cooks man Carter Price hit a dangerous ball across the box from the left, but his low delivery was too far ahead of Panter and also the wrong side of the far post.
Connor made a good run through the centre which he followed up with a 25-yard shot that wasn’t too far over the top, whilst Oakes thought he had forced a save with his shot from the edge of the box, but Clinton Ormshaw already had his flag up to signify he was offside. A good first-time ball from Price almost sent Panter through, but Gough cooly swept up the danger before the first substitution of the game saw Dale Walton bring on Joe malkin for Oakes. Green fired wide from the edge of the box from a position I felt he would normally have a least forced a save from, then Porter was a bit lucky not to pick up his second booking of the game after catching his man late. Gough played the ensuing free-kick into the box to find Connor who turned nicely before steering a low ball across the face of goal, but it wasn’t attacked and even though Dimond kept in in to find Gough, the left-back’s cross was blocked and cleared.
Price saw a shot deflect into the waiting hands of Meadows, while a lovely ball from Leon picked out Weatherly on the right flank and he sent in an equally good cross that Reeve got down to take at the feet of Connor at the near post. Gough hung a high free-kick into the far post where Mallard headed it across the 6-yard box, but Knights was unable to get his head to it in front of goal, but the danger hadn’t gone as Leon picked up play on the edge of the box and stepped inside before shooting towards the far post, but his effort took a deflection off a defenders shin and went wide of the target. The ref gave a goal-kick, but they can’t get them all right.
With the Cooks looking like they might add that killer third goal, the game became very different on 71 minutes with as great goal from Ed Panter. A long ball (I think from Price) was controlled well by Panter inside the box on the right and he turned inside before picking his spot inside the far post as he rolled the ball home. The home side were already committed to making a change in the move up to the goal and continued with this as Tom Simmons made way for Kevin Shehi, a player who loves to score against us at Compton Park, but could he do this at The Sett?
Price fired just over with a powerful strike with Mr Basterfield then showing Dimond a yellow card for a late challenge on Malkin in the build up to the shot with 75 minutes played, then two minutes later he added two more names to his little black book as Panter was cautioned for a foul on Dimond and he was joined by Ilunga for a retaliatory push in the aftermath. Dimond had to be helped off by Piers Bodily giving Farmer his return to action for the final thirteen minutes. Mobbs set up a chance for Jones, but he ballooned his shot over the top, then Price needlessly went into a challenge on halfway with his studs showing and took the shin of Farmer leaving the ref little choice but to brandish the red card to the former Cooks player with 87 minutes on the clock. Walton made his last two changes at this point as Maurice Alhassan and Chris Mhkekera replaced Porter and Levon Stewart as a final throw of the dice and Mhkekera was quickly into the action as he met the ball on the volley on the edge of the box, but hammered his shot well over the top. Mobbs was fouled just outside the box on the left by Malkin a few yards from the touchline and Farmer went for goal but put it over the bar at the far post and with seven minutes of stoppage time played, the referee brought proceedings to an end.
Perhaps a typical local derby, certainly not a footballing classic, but plenty of endeavour from both side with five yellows and one red card, but it will be Biff and the boys who will enjoy their Saturday night as they made it back-to-back wins. Paul’s man-of-the-match today goes to Bailey Weatherly, superb goal, some great crosses ands bags of energy. Let’s not mention those two first half corners though. Good defensive display too with Meadows pulling off one great reflex save and Atat, Mallard, Ilunga and Gough all superb. Hoping too that Ben Dimond’s injury isn’t a bad one as once again he performed his new midfield role exceptionally well. All the best to Dale and Dan for the rest of the season and also good luck to Dan Porter and all the Hackleton boys as they carry on their bid to become the third Northants club to win the F.A Sunday Cup.
Next up is a home game against Lutterworth Town with a 2pm kick-off before we head into the Christmas period.
Badgers; 1. Luke Reeve 2. Dante Memoli 3. Tom Simmons (sub 12. Kevin Shehi 71) 4. Dan Porter (sub 15. Maurice Alhassan 87) 6. Tom Walton © 7. Calvin Green 8. Carter Price 9. Eddie Panter 10. Trent Oakes (sub 14. Joe Malkin 56) 11. Levon Stewart (sub 19. Chris Mhkekera 87).
Cooks; 1. John Meadows 2. Earl Atat 3. Ben Gough 4. Ben Dimond (sub 17. Callum Farmer 77) 5. Bradley Ilunga 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Kieron Mobbs 8. Dalton Leon 9. Jack Connor 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 12. Josh Jones 71) 11. Sonny Knights Subs not used 14 Dylan Wilson 15. Jai Newell-Hollely 16. Dennis Nkrumah.
Referee; Matt Basterfield
Assts; Clinton Ormshaw & Tony Haynes
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