Boxing Day Tuesday 26th December 2023
NEWPORT PAGNELL TOWN v COGENHOE UNITED
The Cooks are back in festive action on Boxing Day when they make the short trip over the border into Buckinghamshire to face Newport Pagnell Town with the match kick-off at 1 pm.
The two clubs had contrasting weekends with the Cooks beating Lutterworth Town 2-1 with a last-minute winner, while the Swans slipped out of the play-off places following a surprise 1-3 home reverse to Histon, a team who had failed to win any of their previous five games. Kai O’Keeffe scored the Swans goal, while Matty Harriott had netted their winning goal the week before as they edged past strugglers Desborough Town 1-0 at Willen Road. They recently played the team we beat on Saturday away from home and surprisingly went down 4-3 on the day so they are perhaps a little vulnerable right now, but it must be said that they are still in a great position to secure a play-off place if they can restore the consistency they had maintained earlier in the season. They may well have a few injury problems of late looking at their changes to the team over the last few games and they have been without 16-goal former Cooks striker Jack Bowen, but they do have probably their best-known player in Dan Walker on the teamsheet and he has already amassed 17 goals this season since joining from Real Bedford. Walker has certainly been around the game a fair bit with the 33-year-old front man having also played for Luton Town, Eastbourne Borough, Cambridge United, Southport, Braintree Town, Hereford United, Eastleigh, Aldershot Town, Hemel Hempstead Town, Welling United, Billericay Town, Bedford Town and Biggleswade Town in his distinguished career.
The Cooks had skipper Harley Mallard to thank for his last-minute winner on Saturday as they made it three wins on the spin at Lutterworth, even though they fell behind in only the third minute. Jack Connor had levelled things up four minutes later, but it looked like ending all-square until the third minute of stoppage time at Compton Park. Scott Carlin will have Bailey Weatherly back after missing through work on Saturday, while Jai Hollely and Josh Jones are also added to the squad for Boxing Day.
Last time we travelled to Willen Road was thirteen months ago and turned out to be a fairly miserable afternoon for the Cooks. The home side were awarded three penalties that day, although Ash Bodycote saved the first one. Albie Hall and Kieran Barnes were both successful from the spot, sandwiching a good finish from Ben Ford with Will Bates stooping to head the Cooks equaliser late in the first half.
Bailey Weatherly is back in contention after missing Saturday’s game through injury,
a young Dan Walker in action for Luton Town. (picture courtesy of Hatters Heritage)
Will Bates turns to celebrate his equaliser at Willen Road in our last trip there 13 months ago.