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Jack Connor cancelled out Will Jones opener as it ends all-square at Compton Park.



The Cooks rounded off their pre-season with a 1-1 draw at home the AFC Rushden & Diamonds last night with a decent performance against opponents from a higher league. Diamonds had started well, but the first shot came down the clubhouse end when a poor defensive pass went straight to Bailey Weatherly who thumped in a shot from 25-yards that flew a foot over the bar. John Dean picked up a yellow card for a late tackle on Weatherly and a couple of minutes later we had a mini fracas after Diamonds skipper Jake Kerins had been upset by a Jamie Hall challenge. A quick break down the right saw Dylan Wilson get past his man inside the box and lift his shot over the reach of keeper George Rose, but the ball dropped just too late and skimmed the roof of the netting as it went over the top. Will Jones couldn’t get over a powerful header enough to stop it going a couple of yards over Adam North’s bar, while down the other end Hall got his head to a long Weatherly throw-in but couldn’t get the power behind it to trouble Rose. Moments later Hall did really well just inside the box to bring the ball down and away from his marker, but his shot was straight at the Diamonds keeper.

Ben Dimond picked up a yellow card late in the first half after clipping the heels of Ethan Johnston whose pacy run looked to be putting him through on goal, but Diamonds took the lead a minute before the break when we shut off on a set-piece down the right which was taken quickly and when Dean crossed the ball into our box, we saw Will Jones’ back-header loop over North and drop just under the bar at the far post, giving the step four team the lead into the break.

Biff, with the Coventry game at the front of his mind, made just one change at the break with Jack Connor replacing Hall in the centre-forward role. The first half had been a pretty even affair, but as the game progressed it was the Cooks who were looking the more likely to score as they chased an equaliser.  Channell played in a good ball that almost played Wilson in, but Rose got there first to claim the ball after it had bounced in his penalty area. Connor was real threat to the Diamonds defence, which surprisingly now included veteran Tom Lorraine who is usually found putting the ball in the net at the other end of the pitch. Connor was unlucky with a bounce a couple of yards out from goal after the visitor’s defence had been at sixes and sevens inside their own 6-yard box, then the former Cobblers youngster lost his marker to break into the box before placing a firm drive low to Rose’s right, but the keeper just got a hand to it and the ball flew narrowly wide of the post. Connor was not to be denied on 68 minutes though when some great work from Wilson found him in the box and his dummy sent both keeper and defender the wrong way before he calmly rolled the ball inside the Rose’s left-hand post.

Pharrell Anderson had a chance to show us his pace, but his former team-mate Harley Mallard stuck with him and won the ball back, but with both teams looking for a winner, neither created any clear cut chances and the game remained locked at 1-1 up until the final whistle. Overall, a good performance from the Cooks in which they never looked a league below their opponents tonight and a significant boost after the 5-2 defeat we suffered at Melton three days earlier.

The next time we take the field it will in the first league game of the new season when we entertain Coventry United and for the first time, results will take centre stage over performances as we look to get off on a high.


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