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Jack Connor’s ninth goal of the season proved to be enough to earn the Cooks their first win for five games in a battling performance against a decent GNG side,

Saturday 24th February 2024





Connor 51

Att; 51



The Cooks returned to the village after a couple of away games with G.N.G Oadby Town our guests for the afternoon. The midweek deluge that had left a lot the area struggling with floodwater had drained away from the Compton Park surface leaving the pitch in pretty good nick all considering and it was game on. It was a beautiful springlike afternoon with the sun shining and the customary wind nowhere to be seen so the perfect afternoon for a game of football. Firstly, a mention to Brian and Ian, unsung heroes of the club, who had their workload doubled today due to illness and holidays and it must be said they played a blinder in difficult circumstances. Thanks guys.

On the field Scott Carlin was able to welcome back a number of players who had missed Tuesday nights game in Leicester with keeper John Meadows and Dom Wysocki both starting, while Luke Bullement, Josh Rayfield and Matty Ireland were all named on the bench. Bailey Weatherly and Brad Ilunga stepped back into the starting eleven in place of skipper Harley Mallard who is away this weekend, so Meadows took the armband, while Sharma Bako found himself back on the bench. GNG manager Sukh Malhi made a couple of changes to his team with keeper Elliot Lawson and left-back Mandeep Bains both starting as Taylor McMillan and Kyle Tott missed out.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off for former Cogenhoe committee member and long-time supporter Mick Russ who sadly passed away this week. RIP Mick and condolences to your family and close friends.

With no wind advantage today, the visitors kicked towards the village end for the first half, while the Cooks were putting a little bit of early pressure on their defence as Jamari Hart won a throw down by the corner flag through some persistence and Weatherly launched it into the box where Wysocki worked against three defenders to win a corner. Callum Farmer curled it into towards the far post, but Lawson pushed it away above his head. A great ball from Farah Abdi into the path of Jay Bruce down the right saw him play the ball inside to the feet of Lamar Parkes who turned sharply and despite slipping as he did so, hit a shot that Meadows did well to turn onto his crossbar with a fine save, A deep free-kick from Bains saw Tejan Thomas get the top of his head to the ball  and it fell to Suleiman Nassor on the far side of the box and he played it across the face of goal with nobody able to get themselves into a position to attack it. Parkes played in a low ball to the near post that Zaakir Bham got a touch to, but Thomas was with him and blocked it wide for a corner, then Meadows was again the saviour for the Cooks as he saved Rian Patel’s low shot from the left side of the box.

A long Weatherly throw from the left was headed out by a defender as far as Farmer who tried to dink it into the path of Hart, but he couldn’t reach it in the centre of the box and it went out for a goal-kick. A nice sequence of passes from the visitors created a chance for Rian Patel and his low shot was heading for the far corner when Meadows stretched out his left arm to get a glove to it and divert it wide of the far post, then down the other end a strong run from Weatherly saw him find Hart down the left with a fine pass with the outside of his right boot and the young Cobbler played an excellent low ball into the centre looking for Jack Connor, but Ayrton Patel did really well to get his boot to the ball first on the edge of the 6-yard box. Parkes used his experience well to get the better of Thomas before playing the ball to Bruce who slipped in Rian Patel, but Meadows narrowed the angle quickly and spread himself well to save his close range shot at the near post. Bruce hit a 25-yard free-kick straight at Meadows as the visitors continued to edge the attacking play in a high-tempo game, while Weatherly burst through the middle before shooting from 25-yards out, but Abdi blocked his effort.

Paddy Cichosz was caught late by Bham in a 50/50 and referee Matt Basterfield could have allowed the advantage as Wysocki ran through on the left, but that would be a rather harsh criticism of the official who had a very good game today. More battling from Hart won the Cooks a corner down the left that Farmer again swung into the back stick and when Lawson punched it away from his goal, his side broke quickly with Bham racing into the box only to be stopped by a vital challenge from Earl Atat who had tracked back brilliantly. Wysocki worked his man on the left and although a defender got a boot to the ball, it broke to Connor just outside the box and he worked it square to his right before hitting a low shot that went just wide of the keeper’s right-hand post as he stretched to try and get his fingers to it.

A strong run from Bains saw him slip it inside to Bham on the edge of the box and he took a touch before hitting a shot that Ilunga managed to get a block on and it looped safely into the arms of Meadows. The Cooks had a let off when Rian Patel did well before picking out the unmarked Bham in the centre, but he seemed surprised to find himself in such a great position and his first touch was pretty horrible in truth. (Thankfully for the Cooks it wasn’t the injured Mussa Bham who would surely have snapped up this chance and extend his impressive scoring record against us). Weatherly robbed Rian Patel with a great challenge before playing the ball down the line to Wysocki and after he had been closed down, he played it to Hart before Connor gave it back to Wysocki on the edge of the box, but his shot took a little deflection that took the ball straight to the keeper. Cichosz ran through the centre and with the defence backing off inviting him to shoot, he did just that from outside the box with his effort a foot too high, then Hart got past his man wide on the right before cutting back inside the box, but he was successfully closed down before he could pull the ball back to the waiting Connor in front of goal.

No goals in a half that saw GNG have the better chances and more of the play, but they found John Meadows in fine form in the sticks and the Cooks had had a few chances of their own too without really testing the keeper. One thing to note though is we saw more action in the opening ten minutes today that we had in the whole game on Tuesday night.


Half-Time; Cooks 0 GNG 0


Farmer became the first player to be shown the yellow card in this game on 48 minutes for pulling back Rian Patel who had done him for pace after the ref had quite rightly played the advantage as the Oadby number ten broke clear, but his pass was well off the mark as he looked for Nassor to his left, then after Weatherly had drawn a foul wide on the left, Farmer sent in a dangerous free-kick that Cichosz rose to meet with a good header that forced Lawson to reach up and tip over his bar. Weatherly played a good ball into the box that Cichosz got his head to and when it dropped Ilunga wasn’t able to get a touch, but Jack Connor was just behind him and he fired home his ninth goal of the season with a true strikers effort from just outside the 6-yard box. 1-0 to the Cooks with 51 minutes played and in this sort of game, the first goal is so often a vital one.

Weatherly made a good run only to be slowed down when Bruce got a vital foot in, but the Cooks man still has possession and he set up Cichosz just outside the box and he hit a low first time shot that was too close to Lawson to cause him any real trouble. It was just the paint on the woodwork that stopped the Cooks doubling their lead when Connor left the keeper a mere spectator as he lobbed the ball beyond him from just outside the box, only to see it clip the underside of the bar before hitting the post and agonisingly coming back into play. The first subs were to follow as Carlin brought on Ireland for Wysocki, with Malhi replacing veteran Bains with Ryan Dhami at the same time, then after Weatherly ball juggling skills had allowed Connor to find Hart inside the box with a clever flick, the Cooks were shouting for a penalty as the youngster went down under a challenge, but Basterfield quickly waved those appeals away.

Another double sub saw Weatherly make way for Bullement and Bruce replaced by Henry Langley and with the tempo of the game somewhat slowed by the changes, GNG replaced Rian Patel with Rizvan Hussain before Biff swapped Hart and Farmer for Dex Nkrumah and Rayfield respectively. GNG were still looking to get that vital equaliser, but Thomas (twice) and Ilunga both made vital challenges to frustrate them, then the Cobblers pair of Ireland and Rayfield were both involved down the other end as the former won a corner that the latter delivered and after receiving the ball back from Thomas, sent over a dangerous low cross that Ayrton Patel cut out. Bham was subbed off for Lotredge Muteera as we entered the final ten minutes with the visitor’s final throw of the dice, but the Cooks were next to show as Nkrumah did well down the right, only for his cross to be cut out.

Atat was cautioned for a foul on 85 minutes and was to be subbed off four minutes later as a precaution with Sharma Bako taking his place for the dying minutes of the game. In between the card and the substation, Nkrumah broke well through the centre, but his pass to Rayfield was just behind its intended target’s run, while Thomas won the ball at the back and Bako did well to hook it first time to Nkrumah, but the ball was a fraction behind him and he took too long to get it fully under control meaning the chance to break clear was gone. Rayfield played a lovely ball to Nkrumah on the left and he showed good strength to hold off Dhami, but his shot went the wrong side of the near post then it looked for a split-second that Parkes had equalised when he found himself in space deep inside the box, but Meadows managed to get a touch and the ball hit the side netting. The following corner was a very good one and Abdi steered his header at goal only for Meadows to touch it over the top and after Iliunga got his head to the next corner, it was clipped back towards the far post, but Abdi wasn’t able to steer it in with his head from close range and the Cooks picked up their first win in six games.


It may only have had one goal in it, but this was a very entertaining game of football. GNG certainly had the better of the first half and the Cooks must thank today’s man-of-the-match John Meadows for a superb performance as the club made it back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season, but after Jack Connor’s goal early in the second half, the game management was spot on today. It was a real battling performance from the Cooks to earn all three points against a very good GNG team who themselves played some very good football, especially in the first half, but the team spirit in the Compton Park boys played a vital part in the win today. All the best to GNG for the remainder of the season, but with three games in hand and just five points behind, they are now one of the teams the Cooks will be hoping to overtake if they are to claim a top ten finish this season.

Next up is another home game when March Town United pay us a visit on Saturday, with this game kicking-off at 3pm.


Cooks; 1. John Meadows © 2. Earl Atat (sub 16. Sharma Bako 89) 3. Keiron Mobbs 4. Callum Farmer (sub 14. Josh Rayfield 78) 5. Brad Ilunga 6. Tejan Thomas 7. Dom Wysocki (sub 15. Matty Ireland 65) 8. Paddy Cichosz 9. Jack Connor 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 12. Luke Bullement 68) 11. Jamari Hart (sub 17. Dex Nkrumah 78).

G.N.G. 1. Elliot Lawson 2. Simeon Okoro 3. Mandeep Bains (sub 14. Ryan Dhami 68) 4. Ayrton Patel 5. Farah Abdi 17. Jay Bruce (sub 12. Henry Langley 68) 7. Zaakir Bham (sub 16. Lotredge Muteera 82) 8. Camen Bhandal © 9. Lamar Parkes 10. Rian Patel (sub 15. Rizvan Hussain 73) 11. Suleiman Nassor.

Referee; Matt Basterfield Assts; Chris Coles & Stewart Glendenning




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