Stoppage time equaliser costs Cooks two points in Rugby.
Tuesday 14th September 2021
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
RUGBY TOWN (1) 2 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 2
The heavy rains that had made this one very gloomy day had abated to just a light and thankfully occasional drizzle as he arrived at the magnificent Butlin Road ground of Rugby Town. This was to be Craig Adams final game in charge of the club before his move away from the area and he was joined in the dugout by the two people who will be taking the reins as from tomorrow. Darren Long steps up from the U18s to become our new manager with reserves gaffer Steve Ganley his new assistant. Bully’s final selection saw a rare start for Faris Rhaman, with Will Bates also moving back up from the bench.
The Cooks started the game really well with Jordan Orosz whipping in a cross from the right that was just in front of Dylan Wilson, then Josh Adams delivery from the opposite side was headed back across the goal by Chief Boateng, but Rhaman wasn’t able to get his head on to it in front of goal. Rugby’s first threat came when Danico Johnson played a one-two with Dylan Parker to get into the box, but Craig Foxall reacted quickly to narrow his angle and was able to block his shot. It had been a lively start to the game with chances at both ends, but it was the home side who struck first with nine minutes on the clock. Johnson’s deft back heel put Parker into space deep inside the Cooks’ area on the right and he clipped the ball past Foxall from the edge of the 6-yard box. Nice goal but a little disappointing after the start we had made.
Wilson made him himself some space before trying his luck from 30-yards out, but it was a couple of yards over the bar, then Jack Riley made a run from the back that took him into the Rugby half before playing the ball up into the box. It was a relatively easy win for Valley skipper Loyiso Recci, but Josh Adams picked up the pieces and took the ball inside before shooting, but his low effort was too close to Ben Newey in the home goal. Wilson collected a pass from Dan Mortimer and played it with the outside of his boot trying to play in Will Bates inside the box, but the ball zipped through on the wet surface and Newey slid out to claim.
Wilson made a strong run through the centre before being crowded out which allowed Rugby to break to through Johnson, but a very good challenge from Riley snuffed out the danger. Mortimer clipped the ball over the top for Wilson to chase inside the box on the left, but Liam Francis shielded the ball out for a goal-kick before Rico Alexander cut out a dangerous cross from the right down the other end. A great reverse pass from Jamie Mastropierro into the path of Orosz down the right saw the wing-back cut inside but run into a wall of sky blue and he couldn’t get the ball across to his waiting teammates.
Johnson whipped in a shot from the right that Foxall held on to, then the same player fired in a shot from the left edge of the box that forced a save out of the keeper. Johnson was in the thick of things and his far post header from a free kick was blocked by Alexander and the Cooks defender recovered quickly to put the ball behind for a corner. A lucky break put Kolodynski in the clear but he fired over, but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the flag had been raised for offside, then Parker had room for a shot from the edge of the box but pulled it wide.
Bates went for goal from a free-kick 25-yards out and although he got it over the wall and down, it dipped too late and went over the bar and then a very nice move involving Boateng, Mastropierro, Riley gave Rhaman the chance to cross from the right flank, but he struck it a little too well and nobody could get to it as it flew across the Rugby box.
The Cooks started and finished the half well, but they had defend strongly at times during a good spell of attacking play from the hosts. Advantage Valley at the break, but still all to play for.
Half-time; Rugby 1 Cogenhoe 0
Cogenhoe survived an early Rugby corner but were soon back up the other end as Boateng got the better of his marker on the right and cut into the box before pulling it back across to Wilson in the centre and his first time shot forced a very good save out of Newey. The chance hadn’t gone though as it rebounded out to Bates inside the box on the left, but his first time shot went the wrong side of the near post. Boateng had a shot blocked on the edge of the box and then Orosz played a great ball across the face of goal, but it was cut out and cleared before it reached Wilson. Mastropierro was tripped just beyond the right corner of the box by Jordan Hayward, with the defender hurting himself in the process and having to be replaced by Melu Mpande with 52 minutes played. Adams drilled a dangerous free-kick into the box where it came to Riley whose first time effort forced Newey to stretch and turn the ball over his own bar. Adams delivered another great corner that Newey punched away, then a slightly deeper corner by Adams went wide from Orosz’s header.
Mortimer made a good block on the edge of the area with the follow up struck with venom by Johnson, but not on target. Rugby replaced Caine Elliott with Max Johnson on 59 and a couple of minutes later the Cooks made their first changes as Tom Wakley and Archie Culley replaced Boateng and Faz Rhaman, with the latter having played his final game for the Cooks. Bates delivered a dangerous free-kick into the box that saw Alexander pressurise the defender into conceding a corner. Adams delivery from the right was superb and after Newey had failed to hold on to the ball, former Valley man Alexander fired home from inside the 6-yard box. 62 minutes played and our second-half pressure had finally paid off with an equaliser.
A dangerous Rugby corner went begging with nobody able to get a touch and when it was played back in from the other side Foxall made a clean take under pressure. Carl Adams brought on Edwin Ahenkorah in place of the unusually quiet Kolodynski on 73 minutes and two minutes later Cogenhoe took the lead in a game for the first time in six matches. Bates caught out a defender just inside the Rugby half with a great challenge and he burst forward before laying the ball to Wilson on his right. The forward’s pace saw him get away for his man and take the ball into the box before firing his shot across the keeper and high into the net. Superb stuff from the Cooks with Bates deserving plenty of credit and Wilson showing exactly what he does best when he gets the ball in front of him on the deck.
Wilson was immediately subbed off which seemed surprising at the time, but I later found out he had already asked to come off as he had felt a muscle cramping up. Paddy Cichosz took his place in what might well be his first appearance in that role. Wakley was booked for a foul as he chased and tried to win the ball back with ten minutes remaining. A low ball played in from the left by Jordan Hayward found its way into Foxall’s arms via two Rugby touches, then a little bit of controversy followed as Bates and Hancocks going in for a fair if determined challenge and as Hancocks was on top of the Cooks midfielder he struck him in the face. The referee spotted this and awarded Cogenhoe a free-kick and gave the Rugby no. 6 a yellow card after 86 minutes.
Adams set-pieces were superb tonight and his free-kick saw both Orosz and Alexander just unable to get that vital touch inside the 6-yard box. Foxall caught a Loyiso Recci cross smoothly and then the keeper had to save Danico Johnson’s shot for the right as times ticked away for the home side. With 90+4 minutes played on the clock, a cross from the left found its way to Max Johsnon and he fired it across the box where Josh Thomas turned it past Foxall for a heart-breaking equaliser.
It would have been great to have given Craig a winning send off and the boys gave everything tonight. We found ourselves under the cosh for a spell in the first half but we kept ourselves in the game and were the better side after the break and would have deserved the win. It has been a tough few games for the Cooks and hopefully this will be the turning point as we start to pick up points once again. To concede so late into stoppage time was totally gutting, but I feel we would have been happy with 2-2 before the game, so perhaps it is still a point gained from a difficult trip. It was a real team performance from everyone out on the pitch with a number of players in with a shout for my man-of-the-match. I have to mention Josh Adams who was outstanding, but the nod goes to Rico Alexander who was so often the man at the back getting to the ball first, plus a real threat from set pieces. (I would also add that this decision is in no way influenced by Debbie saying I had to give it to Rico on numerous occasions late on in the game).
So its farewell to Bully (and I wish him happiness and health for the future) and on to another new era. Darren is a very popular figure already at Compton Park and he inherits a great bunch of lads who showed what they can do on the park tonight. It’s Easington Sports next up on Saturday as we head to Banbury, but don’t forget Thursday night and the small matter of an F.A Youth Cup tie at home to Bugbrooke St Michaels U18 with a 7-45pm kick-off.
Rugby; 1. Ben Newey 2. Omar Recci 3. Jordan Hayward (sub 14. Melu Mpande 52) 4. Liam Francis 5. Loyiso Recci © 6.James Hancocks 7. Josh Thomas 8. Caine Elliott (sub 17. Max Johnson 59) 9. Dylan Parker 10. Danico Johnson 11. David Kolodynski (sub 16. Edwin Ahenkorah 73). Subs not used; 12. Justin Marsden. 15. Barry Fitzharris
Cooks; 1. Craig Foxall 2. Jordan Orosz 3. Josh Adams 4. Dan Mortimer 5. Jack Riley 6. Rico Alexander 7. Will Bates 8. Jamie Mastropierro © 9. Dylan Wilson (sub 12. Paddy Cichosz 75) 10. Chief Boateng (sub 15. Tom Wakley 61) 11. Faris Rhaman (sub 14. Archie Culley 61).
Referee; Richard Fullicks
Assts; Andrew Ewing & Robert Pettipher