Saturday 18th March 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED v NEWPORT PAGNELL TOWN
The Cooks face a tough challenge against F.A Vase holders and semi-finalists once again this season in Newport Pagnell Town. The Swans swim into the village on the crest of a wave after beating Atherstone Town on penalties last weekend in the Vase quarters after a 2-2 draw at Willen Road. Aible Hall converted two penalties in normal time (taking his goal tally to 29 for the saeason) before the UCL boys kept their nerve to go through 4-3 on pens in front of 1,501 spectators. They are now six games unbeaten in all competitions since losing 0-1 at home to Histon, with the only other defeat in their last nineteen games coming in the county cup at home to Bracknell, when they fielded a much changed eleven. They have only lost twice in the league to date, the other defeat coming at home to Bugbrooke St Michaels who won 2-1 at Willen Road back September, meaning they remain unbeaten away from home in the league, a record they share with leaders Rugby and third place Wellingborough Town going into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
The Swans, despite being fourth, have games in hand on all those above them, so still have a real chance of making the play-offs, but they must keep winning and will need Coventry Sphinx to slip up at least once along the way.
The trip to Willen Road earlier in the season wasn’t short of controversy, with The Swans being awarded three penalties in the game, scoring two of them after Ash Bodycote had saved the first one taken by Albie Hall. Hall netted the second, but Will Bates levelled things up with a stooping header before the break. A good finish by Ben Ford put the hosts back in front just shy of the hour and they then had Christian Smail red carded for a bad challenge on 64, but despite our best efforts we couldn’t make the extra man count and Keiran Barnes made it 3-1 from the spot deep into stoppage time.
The last time we met here, the Cooks completed a 3-1 double over the Swans. Danny Webb (now of Dunstable Town) gave the visitors a 4th minute lead, but a Tom Wakley double on 31 and 36 swung the game the way of the Cooks before the break. Ryan Archer netted the Cooks third eight minutes from time to ensure Darren Long’s team picked up all three points at Compton Park and kick 2022 off with a win. The Swans had won their previous four games and were in good form at the time, so not a million miles from the situation the two sides find themselves in going into tomorrow’s game.
The Cooks picked up a good point at Histon last Saturday, just a few days after losing 0-3 at home to the same opponents. It could have been even better though after goals from Ben Gough (a 25-yard free-kick) and Louie Barrett had given us a 2-0 half-time lead, but a second yellow card for skipper Paddy Cichosz and an immediate goal back for the Stutes made it a far trickier finish to the game and the home side found an equaliser in stoppage time to make the final score 2-2.
Cichosz and Bailey Weatherly are both suspended for tomorrow’s game, with Ash Bodycote and Josh Adams unavailable, but Scott Carlin has added one new face to his squad in the shape of former Northampton Town youth player Ethan Lack. Lack has joined on loan from Vanarama National League North club Kings Lynn Town until the end of the season and previously gained experienced in the Northern Premier League whilst on loan at Daventry Town when still a Cobblers player last season. Also added to the squad from the draw at Histon are keeper Ben Heath, Tommy Curry, Alex Parkes, Kodi Briggs and Jamie Hall.
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – RESERVE DIVISION
DESBOROUGH TOWN RESERVES v COGENHOE UNITED RESERVES
SG Pathway Academy Arena.
The Reserves will be hoping to build on the point they picked up at fourth placed Milton Keynes Irish on Tuesday night as they head to a Desborough Town Reserves team currently two places behind the Irish in the table. Ar Tarn have won two, drawn two and lost two in the previous six games with their match last Saturday ending in a 0-2 reverse at home to Newport Pagnell Town after they conceded a goal in each half. Featuring for the home team that day was Will Russell, a forward who did so well for the Cooks up top with Nat Ansu a couple of years ago, but his time here was hampered by injury which was a real shame as he looked to have so much to offer back then. The game at Compton Park in November ended 1-1 with Dan Webb giving us the lead after a quarter-of-an-hour, but Luca McIlvaney pounced to level eight minutes later and that is how it remained. Our previous trip to Waterworks Field at Reserve level came in the Junior Cup last season and Luca Iaciofano’s goal was scant reward from the day as Brian Farrell netted five himself in a 10-1 drubbing, so it would be nice to erase that memory with a positive result there tomorrow.
VETERANS TEAM UPDATE;
The scheduled home game against North Star Vets on Sunday had been cancelled as the visitors are unable to field a side meaning the Cooks will be awarded the three points, the fourth time this has happened this season in the league.