Alexander on target at both ends before a penalty seals The Cooks fate.
Saturday 8th January 2022
(@ Hutchinson Hollow, Potton)
UHLPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
POTTON UNITED (0) 2 COGENHOE UNITED (1) 1
Alexander (og) 46
Dowridge 70 (pen)
Darren Long stuck with the starting eleven that had beaten Newport on Monday afternoon meaning the returning Dylan Wilson (covid) and Paddy Cichosz (injury) had to make do with a spot on the bench. With many games falling foul of the recent heavy rain, including our reserves, the Potton pitch was looking in excellent condition meaning the 11am inspection brought no new issues and it was game-on in central Bedfordshire.
The first shot of the game came from the hosts when Liam Andrews fired wide from just outside the box, then a great challenge on the slide from Josh Adams won the ball and he slipped it through for Archie Elmore to break into the box on the left, but support was slow for the striker and although he pulled it back across the box it was cleared by the Potton defence. Potton had a chance when a cross from the left found George Brinkman in space in the middle of the box and he tried to hit it on the volley, but it was an awkward height and he merely skimmed the ball rather than connect with it. Jack Thomas played a low ball into the box looking for Andrews but Foxall came off his line to get to it first.
The Cooks started to get some momentum after a slow start and a good run from Tom Wakley saw him get to the edge of the box before cutting back onto his right foot and clipping a shot at goal, but it was about a foot over the top of bar. Potton’s Cole Butler hammered a shot against Dan Mortimer to win a corner, then moments later Butler was allowed space just outside the area but pulled his shot wide of the far post. Wakley took a touch in the centre before playing a lovely ball through Elmore to run on too, but keeper Sam Irish slid out to claim the ball the moment it reached the Potton penalty area. Elmore was given offside wide on the right despite the ball being played by a defender as he won a tackle on the edge of the box, then on the opposite side of the pitch Elmore chased down a short back-pass from Dylan Manufor to get a touch to the ball, but the keeper did really well to block and save his defender’s blushes.
A low shot on the turn by Brinkman saw Craig Foxall get down to his right to make the save and he recovered quickly to dive on the ball before Sam Dowridge could get there. Potton were getting the ball into the Cooks area from the flanks when they could and Mortimer (twice) and Rico Alexander won headers as they protected their goal, then Mortimer did well to get across and block Dowridge’s shot after he had been allowed to make it through the centre unchallenged and get to the edge of our box. Mortimer volleyed Louis Octave’s corner down the field where Wakley rose to head it on and send Jack Norman clear through the middle. He had Elmore to his right but things opened up in front of him so he took it into the box and tried to place a low shot to Irish’s left, but the keeper saved his effort.
Wakley worked hard inside the box and when it fell to Elmore to the left of the post, he clipped it back into the danger-zone with the ball taking a deflection off a defender that saw it loop over for a corner. Adams sent in a dangerous delivery that Irish couldn’t get hold of as he jumped with a teammate and ball fell inside the 6-yard box towards the far post where Rico Alexander got a vital touch to steer the ball inside the post. May have been his shin, but all that mattered was the skipper had given the Cooks the lead with 27 minutes played.
We were allowing the Potton midfield a little too much space to run into as they headed for the box and a prime example saw Dowridge make good yards unchallenged, but he lacked conviction in all honesty and Mortimer got across to block his shot. A long throw from Thomas was flicked at the near post and Brinkman went for goal with an overhead scissor kick that he met with plenty of beef behind it, but it flew over the bar towards the Potton Ultras. A powerful and quick break through the centre by Octave opened us up as we seemed to back off and this allowed the full back to find Callum Wilson unmarked inside the box on the right and he hit his shot well, but Foxall got his hands to the ball and turned it over the bar with a very decent save.
Dowridge fired wide from 20-yards before Wakley was awarded a free-kick on the left after running into a corridor with no exit, allowing Archie Culley to curl in a free-kick that Alexander only needed to get a touch on in front of the keeper, but alas it was Irish who got the next touch as he caught the ball safely. The keeper quickly played the ball down the park and Wilson found himself with a shooting opportunity, but he blazed his shot well over the top. Jessi Obeng made an interception from a loose Potton pass and he played a lovely ball through for Wakley inside of the box on the left, but his first touch let him down and Octave was able to take the ball away from him. Obeng made a run into the box on the right and Elmore played it back to him on the edge of the 6-yard box, but his cheeky back-heel was a little too optimistic and although Wakley tried to get on the end of it, Octave robbed him and cleared the danger.
A decent first-half to watch with Potton having the edge possession-wise, but this wasn’t backed up by their shooting, whilst Cogenhoe looked dangerous on the break with the best chance so far falling to Norman, apart of course from the one that Alexander turned in to separate the teams into the break.
Half-time; Potton 0 Cooks 1
Managing our lead would be important as we kicked off the second half, but unfortunately we only managed to stay in front for 20 seconds. A cross-shot from the left by Jack Morell saw Alexander try to cut it out, but all he succeeded in doing was put it past the now wrong-footed Foxall and Potton were level. Unlucky on the Cooks skipper who now joins the ‘scored for both teams in a game’ club. Down the clubhouse end Cogenhoe won a corner that Adams swung in. It came off a blue player in the middle and fell to Culley on the edge of the box and he hit it on the volley, but couldn’t keep his effort on target. A great downward header in the centre by the unmarked Dowridge hit the inside of the post with Foxall well-beaten, but this time luck was shining down on the Cooks and the ball went back across the face of the goal before being cleared.
The Cooks made their first change with leading scorer Dylan Wilson replacing Norman with 51 minutes played. An Obeng cross slipped through the grasp of Irish, but there were no Cooks players behind him to turn the loose ball in, then Obeng chased his man down to win the ball, but Wakley’s touch was heavy and although Obeng got the ball back and went down under a challenge inside the box, there was little chance of Harry Price awarding him a penalty, despite his one-man appeal. A nice move carved a good chance for the Cooks as Culley found Adams on the left flank and he sent it down the line to Elmore. He had to turn back on himself before playing the ball across the box where Culley flicked the ball to Wakley inside the box in space on the right, but his first-time volley flew over the bar. A lovely move, a great piece of skill by Culley, but unfortunately Wakley couldn’t take the chance this time.
Dowridge ran through the centre and played the ball to his right for the totally unmarked Butler, but he struck it early from the edge of the box and fired it wide of the far post. He had time to take a touch and pick his spot, but he should at least have tested Foxall from that position with the ball at his feet so this must be regarded as a real let off for the Cooks. Ryan Archer and Adams worked the left and created a chance for Wakley to whip over a cross, but it took a flick off a defender and looped safely into the arms of Irish.
Culley made a challenge on Sam Willis on the corner of the Cooks penalty area and the Potton man was just too quick for him and he was sent sprawling in the box with Price pointing to the penalty spot. Willis required treatment and as a result he had to leave the field meaning he wasn’t able to take the penalty himself, but Dowridge calmly waited for Foxall to make a move and placed it high to the opposite side to give his side the lead with 70 minutes gone.
The Cooks made the final changes with Chief Boateng and Paddy Cichosz replacing Mortimer and Obeng as we went three up-top for the final 14 minutes, but our heads seemed to be down now and we didn’t really create much as Potton played the game in our half. The closest we came to a goal in the final minutes came down the cricket end when Foxall did well to save a rasping shot from Wilson and then caught the header that followed from sub Chisom Amadi, but overall it was a disappointing second half from the Cooks in a game that tailed off distinctively as it went on.
Congratulations to Potton on their win and good luck for the rest of the season. Always nice to see Bev and a warm welcome can always be found at The Hollow. We have two weeks now before we get back into the thick of things when we host Rugby Town, but the U18s are scheduled to host Northampton Town this Thursday with the Reserves at home to Kemspton Rovers two days later, weather permitting of course. Man-of-the-match today goes to Craig Foxall who made a couple of good saves whilst having little chance with either of the goals, whilst on the pitch it was a little bit of a mixed bag with nobody playing badly or really standing out today.
Potton; 1. Sam Irish 2. Loius Octave 3. Jack Morell 4. Sam Willis 5. Dylan Manufor 6. Jack Thomas 7. Cole Butler 8. Liam Andrews 9. George Brinkman © 10. Sam Dowridge 11. Callum Wilson, Subs; 12. Curtis Bloxham (gk) 14. Josh Howard-Dobson 15. Isaac Charles 17. Chisom Amadi
Cooks; 1. Craig Foxall 2. Jessi Obeng (SUB 16. Paddy Cichosz 76) 3. Josh Adams 4. Dan Mortimer (sub 14. Chief Boateng 76) 5. Jack Riley 6. Rico Alexander © 7. Archie Culley 8. Ryan Archer 9. Tom Wakley 10. Jack Norman (sub 12. Dylan Wilson 51) 11. Archie Elmore. Sub not used; 15. Alex Vaughan.
Referee; Harry Price
Assts; Aaron Revell & Pete Moore