Battling Badgers deservedly take all three points for Dale Walton’s first win in the Bugbrooke hot seat.
Tuesday 3rd August 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0 BUGBROOKE ST MICHAELS (0) 1
Both teams had suffered opening day defeats so both would be keen to kick-start their seasons with a win on a balmy August evening at Compton Park. The wind had re-appeared and was blowing down the pitch towards the village end and the Cooks would have the advantage of it for the first forty-five minutes. Scott Carlin named an unchanged sixteen from Saturday, whilst Dale Walton made one change to his starting eleven with Emmanuel Mpambi replacing former Cooks player Josh Whaler at right-wing back.
The first real action of the game saw a half-chance for former Diamonds striker Will Jones with the ball falling to Trent Oakes on the edge of the box and he hit a low strike that Regan Saunt got down to save. The Cooks had an early corner when a less than ideal back pass saw Luke Reeeve fail to keep the ball in play. Alex Parkes initial flag-kick failed to beat the near post, but he lofted the second chance back across the box and it caught the wind to drift beyond the far post. Luca Purse delivered a free-kick from in front of the dug-outs into to box where Brad Marshall got up well to flick on with his head, but the next touch belonged to a defender and Bugbrooke cleared their lines. Josh Adams dinked a lovely ball over the head of Mpambi and into Archie Elmore’s run and he hooked the ball across the box from the by-line to find Louis Barrett who had time to control the ball with his first touch, but unfortunately he then steered his shot the wrong side of the upright.
Elmore was pretty isolated up top on his own and although he did well to hold up play, his options were very limited and his ball across the area might well have been dangerous had we seen a teammate attack it. Barrett picked up play wide on the right and drove inside before attempting a cross-shot that flew into the side-netting with Reeve having his near post fully covered. Ben Gough went into the book on 17 minutes for a foul, then Elmore battled hard inside the box with Will Glennon on his back. He was now battling against Glennon, Reeve and skipper Tom Walton at the near post, but he still managed to fend them off before laying the ball back to find Barrett who hit a powerful shot that Reeve had to turn over the bar with a good save. Purse made a timely tackle to deny Jones a run at goal, then the same Badgers forward could only steer a header straight at Saunt in the centre. Jake Webster dinked a good ball into the box to pick out the run of Mpambi at the far post, but Adams had tracked back well and swept up neatly.
Brandon Hallmark picked out Kev Shehi with a lovely ball and he got his header on target, but it didn’t cause any concerns for Saunt as he took the ball cleanly above his head at the far post. Bugbrooke were now having a lot more of the ball and a lovely move involving Jake Webster, Freddie King and Aiden Webster saw Kodi Briggs get his head to the ball at the vital moment and the latter Bugbrooke man sliced his shot wide as the ball ran loose. A sublime touch and turn from Oakes saw him pick out the free-running Mpambi down the right, but he opted to cross early and the ball drifted out of play behind the goal with three white shirts running into the box waiting for a cross.
A long throw by Shehi was headed at goal by Jones who couldn’t beat Saunt, then Barrett made a strong run down the right flank, but a defender just managed to get across to put his boot in front of the ball as he crossed and it ran safely through to Reeve. Glennon played in a cross from the right that Shehi touched down beautifully for King to strike first time and Saunt dived to his right to get a hand to it and turn it over the bar. Great save from the Cooks keeper as it looked like King was about to open the scoring. Jones set up King on the edge of the box but he drilled his shot wide just before Reeve’s fingertips denied Elmore who had taken Adams’ pass before cutting across the box and sending in a low curling effort that was heading just inside the far post. On the stroke of half time Marshall became the second Cooks player to be shown the yellow card by Scott Hanna for a foul and when Walton played the resulting free-kick across the box, Jones could only put his free-header wide.
Both keepers had made good saves during the goalless first half, but after a bright start from the Cooks, Bugbrooke were looking the more dangerous as the half went on even though the hard-working Elmore had so nearly snatched the lead late on.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Badgers 0.
The half-time teamtalk seemed to have got the Cooks going from the kick-off and Adams won a corner within the first few seconds of the half. Parkes sent it in and received it back via a defender, but his second delivery was much better as White met his looping cross with a towering header that hit the bar, then when it was played back in from the other side Purse won it in the air, but his header was wide of the target. Elmore battled hard again with two defenders on him and he played it back to White who whipped the ball across the face of the 6-yard box and wide of the far post. Good work from White down the right saw him win a corner off Shehi, then down the other end Jones fired wide after turning well on the edge of the Cogenhoe penalty area. A dangerous looking free-kick from Jake Webster curled just beyond the far post at bar height, but a massive turning point was to follow on 57 minutes when Jones ran on to a ball over the top heading towards the right corner flag and Marshall came across and charged into him needlessly. Having been already cautioned, referee Hanna no little option to brandish a second yellow quickly followed by a red card. We had started the half well and created a few chances, so to go down to ten-men at this stage was not what the doctor had ordered as far as Cogenhoe were concerned.
Jones was booked for Bugbrooke for jumping into Saunt after the keeper had caught the ball above his head, then the visitors were unlucky not to go in front when Glennon’s 25-yard free-kick moved viciously in the air and smacked against the crossbar with Saunt totally beaten. Elmore, who had been totally isolated for so much of the game, went into the book for kicking the ball away and his frustrations got the better of him, although even then it was rather harsh as the fouled Bugbrooke player was still on the ground and the ball only went a few yards away from where the kick would eventually be taken when he got up. Jones saw a shot blocked just inside the box, but the Badgers broke the deadlock with 67 minutes played through the impressive Kev Shehi. The number three picked the ball up just outside the box and was given way too much room as he moved forward and placed a low shot to Saunt’s left and into the back of the net.
White was cautioned for pulling his man back on the half-way line and if it hadn’t been for a covering defender would probably have joined Marshall back in the changing room, with Glennon winning the incoming free-kick, but Saunt caught his headed effort. White shot wide form 20-yards out with other options available, then he blazed well wide from just outside the box moments later. With the new rule to use five subs in the game, a plethora of changes followed over the next few minutes with the Cooks bringing on Pharell Anderson for the hard-working Elmore on 69 minutes Owen Brooks for Barrett on 74 and then Jessi Obeng for Adams on 76, while Bugbrooke replaced Mpambi with Kieran Spencer and Jake Webster with Cam Harrison during this period.
Anderson used his pace to make space for a low shot from the right that went across the face of the goal, then the Cooks missed a great chance level things up when Brooks found himself running into the box to go one on one with Reeve. He was nudged in the back so was a little off balance and Reeve was right in front of him when he tried to steer the ball home and the keeper got a hand to it. The loose ball ran out to Anderson 7-yards out and he hit it first time, only for Glennon to have got back and block it just in front of the goal line with his face. Had Anderson not met it so cleanly it may have gone wide of the Bugbrooke defender and into the net.
Anderson nearly broke through but for a very timely challenge by Hallmark, then straight down the other end where Saunt had to come out of his area to sweep up as Jones chased a ball over the top. Cooks final change saw Louis Martin replace the injured Cichosz with six minutes remaining, then Walton gave the last three subs a run out three minutes from time as Leon Dalton, Munashe Tichwona and Mac Coulson all came on with Aiden Webster, Oakes and King coming off. The last real action of the game came when Obeng made a positive run into the box, but Glennon was again on hand to get a foot in to take the ball away before he could shoot and with five minutes of stoppage time played, Hanna blew the final whistle.
Well played to Bugbrooke tonight, they were the better side and deserved the points, although we could so easily have grabbed an equaliser late on. Both teams defended well and when they were stretched both Saunt and Reeve made good saves, but that goal from Shehi proved to be the decisive one on the night.
Paul’s man-of-the-match today goes to Archie Elmore who ran and ran with very little support for much of the game and almost sneaked a goal for himself late in the first half, whilst setting up chances for others too. Plenty to work on, but Bugbrooke were dominant in midfield for much of the game and I have to say I was impressed with their team performance as well as a number of individuals. We do have a lot to offer too and were only narrowly beaten again, but we need to be stronger in the centre and get up to support the forward a lot more than we did today if we are going to beat teams like Bugbrooke.
Next up is something of the unknown as we host Stoke-on-Trent based club Stone Old Alleynians in the F.A Cup on Saturday, but after two straight defeats it would be really good for the club to progress in the world’s greatest cup competition.
Cooks; 1. Regan Saunt 2. Luca Purse 3. Kodi Briggs 4. Alex Parkes 5. Brad Marshall (sent off 57) 6. Ben Gough 7. Louis Barrett (sub 17. Owen Brooks 74) 8. Patryk Cichosz (sub 16. Louis Martin 84) 9. Archie Elmore (sub 12. Pharell Anderson 69) 10. Mitch White 11. Josh Adams (sub 15. Jessi Obeng 76). Sub not used; 14. Harley Mallard.
Red card; Marshall (57) Second yellow.
Yellow cards; Gough (17) Foul. Marshall (45) Foul. Marshall (57) Foul. Elmore (65) Kicked ball away. White (68) Foul.
Badgers; 1. Luke Reeve 2. Emmanuel Mpambi (sub 12. Kieran Spencer 76) 3. Kev Shehi 4. Brandon Hallmark 5. Will Glennon 6. Tom Walton © 7. Aiden Webster (sub 14. Leon Dalton 87) 8. Trent Oakes (sub 16. Munashe Tichwona 87) 9. Will Jones 10. Jake Webster (sub 15. Cam Harrison 76) 11. Freddie King (sub 17. Mac Coulson 87).
Yellow card; Jones (61) Foul
Referee; Scott Hanna
Assts; Gary Gurney & Tony Haynes.