A battling performance saw the Reserves defeat both Yaxley and the weather for a hard earned three points against the Cuckoos.
Saturday 27th November 2021
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-RESERVE DIVISION
COGENHOE UNITED Reserves (2) 3 YAXLEY Reserves (1) 2
Mason 5, 62
Baughan 25, 83 (pen)
Damian McGrath took the manager’s role once again today with assistance from new ‘head of youth football’ Gary Harvey and as is the norm these days he was hit by late pull-outs and he was forced to tweak his line-up. The wind was blowing across the pitch from Brafield Road towards the hills and was gusting in what would be pretty difficult conditions for playing football in, but the pitch had stood up well so playing it on the deck would be the order of the day.
Cogenhoe started brightly, but Yaxley were soon down the other end with skipper Jake Walpole having to make two vital challenges in the course of one move. Cuckoos Zac Chaudhari had the game’s first shot from outside the box to the right, but Ben Smith caught it well, then a nice effort from Rajan Badiani had to be tipped over the bar by Smith. From the next move though, the Cooks took a 5th minute lead. Kelvin Gyamfi had done well to get inside the box on the left before striking a shot that Bailey Clifton could only parry back in his direction and this time the towering number eleven dinked it back across the box where Ben Mason rose to head home from a yard out at the back post.
A throughball deflected into the path of Ridley Nicholson-Barfoot inside the penalty area and he hit a powerful shot that forced Smith into another good save, while Michael Mensah did really well with a defensive header deep inside his own box from a dangerous cross. Mason won the ball in the centre and Luca Iaciofano took it too the edge of the box and slipped it to his right where Mason hit it first time from inside the box, but although he hit it well, it was straight at Clifton. Mensah again defended well inside his own box after Josh Wilson had released Lewis Baughan with a very good pass, then Sam Russell won the ball and played it through for Mason, but Clifton came out quickly to sweep up any danger.
Clifton kept calm and dealt with a horrible back-pass, then Mensah coolly headed the ball back to Smith from a dangerous ball into the box down the other end. Baughan made a strong run through the middle only for his shot from 20-yards out to bobble through to Smith, then Baughan tried a shot across Smith from the right, but it went well wide of the far post. Mensah cut out a Yaxley break allowing Isaac Appiah to find Iaciofano who cut in from the right before trying to play it through to Nick Fleming, but Clifton had read the situation well and managed to get his foot to the ball and clear. Iaciofano then found himself with a bit of space inside the box on the right after an exchange with Appiah and then Fleming, but he sliced his shot the wrong side of the near post. Mason found Iaciofano in a similar position moments later and this time he drilled his shot across the keeper looking for the far corner, but Clifton did really well to stop it with his right boot. Smith did well down the village end as he got his hand to a high ball amid the crowded area and then recovered lightning quick to dive on the loose ball. A bit of controversy followed as the Yaxley linesman flagged for a Cooks throw after the ball went out on the left, but referee Gary Capps waved play on thinking he was signalling for a free-kick and it resulted in Baughan finding himself chasing the ball at the far post and although Smith dived bravely at his feet to win the ball, it fell back for Baughan who rolled the ball home from close range to make it 1-1 with 25 minutes played.
Parity lasted for just five minutes though before Cogenhoe were celebrating for the second time in the afternoon. Mason held the ball up before slotting it through to Iaciofano to run on to and this time he took a touch before placing his shot past the keeper and it went in off the post. A bit of a flare up after Cooks reacted to a foul saw Ben Short and Yaxley’s Riaz Hansraj shown the game’s first yellow cards, but as with the first team we must stop reacting to being fouled and just concentrate on doing something positive from the free-kick. A minute later Mensah went into the book after sticking out a hand to stop the ball after it had been knocked past him as the Cuckoos tried to break just inside their own half. Appiah tried to play Iaciofano through but just put a little too much onto the ball and gave Clifton the opportunity to come out and clear the ball back down the park.
Half-time; Cooks 2 Cuckoos 1.
The Yaxley manager gave his team a real roasting at the break whilst the home dressing room was a much more sedate affair as the actions of the first forty-five minutes were discussed. Back on the pitch and good early link-up play from Cogenhoe saw Iaciofano, Mason and Appiah heavily involved but the final pass inside the box was cut-out, then Baughan made a run before hitting a low shot from the edge of the box that Smith was equal to. Iaciofano played the ball to Mason, but his lay-off to Appiah was cut out and when the ball came out to Fleming outside the box, his first time shot on the half-volley was getting further away from the goal as the wind took a hold of it. Mensah was penalised on the edge of his own box but Nicholson-Barfoot put the ensuing free-kick well over the bar as the game continued to go from end to end.
The next goal in these sort of games is so often vital and it was the Cooks who extended their lead as Mason grabbed his second of the game with 62 minutes played. Gyamfi had played in a ball from the right that was a little too deep for his teammates, but when it was played back inside, Mason stroked the ball wide of the wrong-footed keeper who could only stand and watch it roll into the right-hand corner of his goal.
An off-balance Baughan fired well over, then minutes later the same player got inside the box before hitting a powerful shot that forced a good save out of Smith, with the keeper then saving the follow up to further frustrate the Cuckoos striker. Baughan then saw Smith catch his well-struck free kick above his head as Yaxley took a grip on the game looking to pull themselves back into it, but we weren’t helping ourselves by giving away numerous free-kicks inside our own half. A good run by Mason down the right flank saw him brought down by Alfie Fryet, then down the other flank Iaciofano fed Gyamfi who sent over a great cross that we probably should have had somebody attacking at the far post.
With seven minutes left the visitors were handed a lifeline as Baughan drilled a low ball across the box that Russell slid in to try and block, but as he skidded on the wet surface the ball struck his trailing arm and Capps pointed to the spot. It was the right decision in my view, but sometimes you see these given and on other occasions not. Baughan slotted the penalty away to make it an exciting last seven minutes as the rain turned a little sleety. Fleming very nearly put Mason clear but the very tip of a defender’s toe changed the direction of the ball, whilst the Yaxley supporters in the stand (and there were a few of them) thought they had equalised when an orange shirted player got to the ball just beyond the far post, but thankfully for the Cooks it didn’t settle in the back of the net, but instead carried on rolling into the covered area behind the goal. It is two successive wins now for the Reserves as we start to find a little more stability in the team and although the young Yaxley side battled hard and tried to play football, I feel we deserved to take the points today.
I would like to say well done and thank you to all the players from both sides today who put on an entertaining game in difficult conditions, but also thank you to the 25 people who came out of the cold to support their team this afternoon, with a decent following from Yaxley which is unusual for a reserve team on the road in this league. Good luck to the young Yaxley team for the rest of the season, whilst it’s back on the road for the Cooks who make the short trip to Wellingborough Whitworth next Saturday where we will be looking to make it three on the bounce.
Cooks; 1. Ben Smith 17. Samuel Nyarko (sub 14. Mawuli Kisseih 25 – sub 17. Nyarko 75) 3. Ben Short 4. Nick Fleming 5. Jake Walpole © 6. Sam Russell 7. Luca Iaciofano 8. Issac Appiah (sub 15. Nat Allam 81) 9. Michael Mensah 10, Ben Mason 11. Kelvin Gyamfi. Subs not used; 12. Liam Isaac 16. Lorenco Soulollari.
Yellow cards; Short (33) Retaliation. Mensah (34) Deliberate hand-ball.
Yaxley; Bailey Clifton 2. Cemel Korkmaz 3. Josh Wilson © 4. Alfie Fryet 5. Josh Stimson 6. Luca Di Canio 7. Riaz Hansraj 8. Zac Chaudhari 9. Ridley Nicholson-Barfoot 10. Lewis Baughan 11. Rajan Badiana. Subs all used; Trafford Crane 14. Callum Dalladay 15. Liam Sanderson 16. Cameron Gow.
Yellow card; Hansraj (33) Foul.
Referee; Gary Capps.