The young Cooks team fell to their first defeat of the season as local rivals dictate the game at Compton Park.
Tuesday 15th August 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0 BUGBROOKE ST MICHAELS (3) 4
Scott Carlin made just one change from Saturday and that was a late one as Lewis Green had been caught in traffic on the way back from working in Lincoln, so he had to settle for a place on the bench with Alex Parkes moving into the right-back berth. Bailey Weatherly returned to the starting line-up as he continues to recover from the injury that has kept him out recently and he lined-up against his former club, as did Ben Dimond, Leon Dalton, Jamie Hall and sub Charlie Pearson. Badgers boss Dale Walton made three changes with starts for Saturday’s subs Kev Shehi, Aiden Webster and Tom Binder. There was no place for former Cooks starlet Shad Reza who took on a spectators role, but we did see Joe Malkin, Dan Porter and Matt Bazeley all return to the place they once called home.
The Badgers were first to show, but Dylan Wilson sent over a decent cross from the left looking for Hall without success, then Malkin sent Ed Panter through on the right, but he opted to shoot early from an angle and didn’t cause Adam North any real issues in saving his effort. Calvin Green has built himself a great reputation as a free-kick specialist over the years and he was handed his opportunity 25-yards out in a central position and he didn’t disappoint, forcing North to tip his well struck effort over the bar. The ensuing corner was also a good one, but the Badgers man could only steer his near post header into the side-netting. The visitors were dealt a blow on 12 minutes when striker Ed Panter was forced off with a thigh injury, meaning an early chance for Dylan Surace, a summer signing who scored 23 goals in 23 games for AFC Rushden & Diamonds U23 in the Northants Combination last season.
The sub didn’t appear to hurt them too much as Bugbrooke took the lead seconds later when North did well to get his fingertips to push a corner away from the centre, but it fell to skipper Tom Walton who took a touch before firing home at the near post with Stan Channell on the line getting a touch, but unable to keep it out of the net. Dalton was booked for a foul on Green after 17 minutes, while Channell did well down the right with a smart turn followed up with a burst of pace to get to the edge of the box before hitting a low shot across Luke Reeve, but the keeper got down well and got his hand to the ball at full stretch. The Badgers were looking quicker and hungrier than the Cooks meaning most of the action was in the Cooks half, but they did have some defending to do as the Cooks had a brief spell of the attacking play. Walton defended well as Wilson played the ball over the top for Channell, Leon won a corner from an aerial dual in the box from a long Weatherly throw and then Dimond headed just over when Hall sent over a good cross from the right, but the Badgers still had the one-goal advantage. Hall found Wilson on the left and he sent over a cross that was won in the air by a defender, but the ball dropped for Leon 20-yards out and although his shot was wide of the target, he was caught late earning the Cooks a free-kick. With no Cal Farmer on the field, Hall took over the honours, but his free-kick was straight at Reeve who caught after it bounced.
A great effort on the volley by Shehi from wide on the left wasn’t far off target while Green’s low strike was an easy one for North to take. The Cooks keeper was picking the ball out of his net again though on 32 minutes when Surace received the ball totally unmarked inside the box to the right and had plenty of time to balance himself before placing a low shot just inside the far post. Two minutes later things got even worse for the Cooks as Webster had acres of space on the right and sent over a cross that Surace met with a header that smacked against the crossbar. The ball then fell for Green on the edge of the box and hit an absolute rocket into the top corner with a fantastic finish to make the score 0-3 with just 34 minutes played.
A Weatherly throw was cut out but fell for Bell-Toxtle inside the box, but his first-time shot was heading wide when it hit Hall in front of him, then Tom Smyth was cautioned for the visitors after charging North down as he kicked the ball down field. Hall headed over from a Parkes corner, while Porter did the same down the other end moments late. Channell clipped a ball over the top for Hall who went down under the challenge of Walton with referee Paul Mihalache awarding the Cooks a free-kick and booking the Badgers skipper, but with the free-kick coming to nothing, the two teams went in for what would be very different half-time team talks.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Badgers 3
No changes at the break for either team, or for the game as the Badgers went four-up within a minute of the restart. Some great work from Porter set up Shehi on the left and he had time and space to step inside and pick his spot past North at the near post. North quickly made a good save to deny a powerful Surace shot from the right, while the Cooks went close to pulling one back when Mallard got a touch to a Parkes free-kick, but the ball rolled the wrong side of the upright. Green played in Shehi with a great pass, but he didn’t utilise the space he had and pulled his shot wide of the mark before the first change of the game saw Biff replace Bell-Toxtle with Green. Webster caused the Cooks a few headaches down the left as he sent a dangerous ball across the box, then a minute later forced a good near post save out of North. A double change just before the hour saw Hall and Channell replaced by the returning Tommy Curry and Jack Connor and the next time the ball went out of play, Bugbrooke brought on Maurice Alhassan for the injured Porter up top.
Curry was straight into the action with a ball up to Connor who sent it low across the box with, then Biff made his final two changes with Charlie Pearson and Damian Osoimoejiokhian coming on for Weatherly and Mobbs respectively. A floodlight flicker had the Cooks wondering whether a power failure would save them, but not even the electricity board were going to help us get out of the mess we found ourselves in tonight. Shehi made way for Bazeley with the sub soon to be playing a good ball to find Alhassan inside the box on the left and he forced a good save out of North with his powerful shot. Leon played the ball up to Curry who checked back on the edge of the box before laying it into the path of Connor’s run, but it was fractionally behind it’s intended target this time. Leon then beat his man before firing over from 25-yards out before another change saw Binder make way for Archie May. Connor hooked over a Pearson free-kick from close range, but it didn’t matter as he had been flagged offside, while Connor picked up his second yellow card of the season for a foul.
Great play down the left by Curry saw him whip in a dangerous cross that took a deflection off a defender and just elude Leon at the far post, whilst the tenth sub of the night saw Johnny Carey come on for Calvin Green with 76 minutes on the clock. Green, the kind of experienced player we perhaps lack right now, ran the show from midfield and would surely be any neutral watching’s man-of-the-match this evening. Another good cross from Curry almost found Connor in the centre, while Bazeley turned nicely on the edge of the box down the other end, but fired his shot the wrong side of the post. Alhassan fired over the top from outside the box, then Curry’s pace again caused the home defence a few problems before he was pushed to the ground by Malkin. Pearson took this free-kick from wide on the left, but it was far too deep for anybody to convert. Good battling by Leon allowed Pearson to look for Curry’s run, but Reeve was very quickly out of his box to sweep things up. A nice touch by Parkes set up a chance for Pearson just inside the box, but his first touch didn’t bring the ball under control and his hurried shot was blocked.
The Badgers thoroughly deserved their first win of the season tonight and had killed the game off with a high-tempo first half performance that we struggled to live with if truth be told. The Cooks defence has been superb up to this match so I won’t be too hard on them, but today saw a number of player’s fail to live up to the standard that they have set themselves this season. Well done to Dale and his team and good luck until we meet again, while the Cooks have the chance to put things right on Saturday when they entertain Histon and I have to say that the players owe Biff and Batts a big performance after tonight. Paul’s player of the match goes to Tommy Curry. He and Jack Connor certainly brought the team to life after coming off the bench, with Curry taking the nod for his exciting wing-play and eagerness to make things happen. Mentions also to Adam North and Dalton Leon who didn’t let anybody down today.
Cooks; 1. Adam North 2. Alex Parkes 3. Kieron Mobbs (sub 17. Damian Osoimoejiokhian 61) 4. Nathan Bell-Toxtle (sub 16. Lewis Green 54) 5. Ben Dimond 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Stan Channell (sub 14. Tommy Curry 58) 8. Dalton Leon 9. Jamie Hall (sub 12. Jack Connor 58) 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 15. Charlie Pearson 61) 11. Dylan Wilson
Badgers; 1. Luke Reeve 2. Joe Malkin 3. Kev Shehi (sub 12. Matt Bazeley 64) 4. Joel Powell 5. Tom Smith 6. Tom Walton 7, Aiden Webster 8. Calvin Green (sub 18. Johnny Carey 74) 9. Ed Panter (sub 17. Dylan Surace 11) Dan Porter (sub 14. Maurice Alhassan 59) 11. Tom Binder (sub 15. Archie May 71).
Referee; Paul Mihalache
Assts; Ben Bright & Luke Pilley
Photos will follow on the Cogenhoe United Facebook page.