Young Cooks squad come from three down to earn a draw at Nirvana.
Thursday 7th July 2022
LEICESTER NIRVANA (2) 3 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 3
#9 2, 59
Barrett 65, 81
The Cooks got to rekindle their old friendship with Leicester Nirvana, now in the Premier Division North, as we headed to Hamilton Park on an absolutely beautiful summer’s evening. Scott Carlin had named his squad and was already missing a few players, but a number of phone-calls and messages on the day left him even shorter as work commitments and illness added to his headache. He still managed a squad of seventeen though so it was game on, with the pitch looking in good shape, although the lack of rain of late was always going to make it hard and a little bobbly in places.
The game didn’t get off to the best of starts for Biff’s boys with the home side taking the lead after just two minutes. Their big centre forward wearing the number nine shirt was left unmarked in the middle of the box just a few yards out and when the ball was delivered from the right, he turned the ball past Regan Saunt, although it was a rather scuffed effort. Whilst a lot of the opening play was in the in the Cooks half, the visitors were just getting themselves going with a few attacks when we shipped a second goal after 21 minutes when a shot from number seven from the right of the box bobbled in front of the keeper and went in at the near post. The only real shot we had in the first half came when Kodi Briggs played a free-kick into the box from half-way, it was flicked on just inside the box and Louie Barrett hit it first time from an angle on the right, but he couldn’t get his foot around it and the ball flew wide of the near post. Barrett almost slipped Luca Iaciofano in late in the half, but two covering defenders made it impossible for the young striker to get into position for a shot.
Two-nil down at the break in what had been an uninspiring first forty-five minutes for those on the sideline.
Two changes at the break as we got first look at Lewis Green on the left and Paddy Cichosz, the only player from last season’s squad to feature, resumed his midfield role from last Friday night’s game. Right from the kick-off the Cooks looked a lot more fluent and the confidence grew quickly as they attacked the home defence with purpose. A decent run and cross down the left by Owen Brooks was just too far ahead of Iaciofano in the middle, then a great chance followed when Cichosz won the ball in midfield and Louie Martin picked out Brooks’ run into the box just to the left, but a bobble at the vital time saw him slice the ball wide with just the keeper to beat. Far more encouraging from the Cooks though.
Saunt made a very good save as he got his fingertips to a powerful shot to turn it onto the bar, with Michael Gough then calmly tidying things up from the rebound. Nirvana had a spell now with Saunt saving at his near post and then Gough making a great challenge inside the box to deny the home side a shooting opportunity. We were undone again a minute shy of the hour mark when a nice move saw the ball played low across the box from the far post and number nine smashed the ball high into the net from close range.
Three-nil down with two-thirds of the game gone and the Hamilton Park losing streak looked almost certain to continue its ugly run, but the Cooks were still hungry to get at least something back from this game. Their second half performance was rewarded with a goal on 65 minutes when an excellent free-kick sent in from the right by Iaciofano saw the towering figure of the impressive centre-back Brad Marshall get up above two defenders to head the ball down to Louie Barrett, who slotted the ball home from 6-yards out.
Brooks sent in a good cross from the left that just eluded his team mates and Nirvana broke quickly with their number seventeen firing over from the corner of the box, but the Cooks were now taking the game to the home side much more. Good work from Cichosz allowed Jessi Obeng to find Martin in the box and he won a corner, with White then winning another on the other side moments later. With eleven minutes of the game remaining the Cooks reduced the deficit to a single goal as Mitch White made a great run into the box on the right before slotting the ball low across the keeper from an angle and finding the far corner of the goal. Ben Morris had a shot on target that was too close to the keeper, but on 81 minutes it was 3-3 with Barrett bagging his second of the game. Barrett was now playing at right-back, but he burst forward before playing a one-two with White and placed a low shot across the keeper and into the far corner.
The last chance of the game fell to the home side’s left back and he hit his shot well, but Saunt threw himself across to make a great save and the game ended 3-3. Poor first half, but oh so much better in the second.
Thanks to Leicester Nirvana for their always warm welcome and we wish them well in their upcoming campaign.
Cooks; Saunt, Carlin, Briggs, Gough ©, Marshall, Mabrok, Martin, White, Barrett, Brooks, Iaciofano. Subs all used; Obeng, Cichosz, Farmer, Mallard, Morris, Green.