The Cooks held National League side Kettering Town to a 0-0 draw, but they caused an upset with their 4-1 penalty shoot-out win.
Tuesday 7th February 2023
NORTHANTS F.A HILLIER SENIOR CUP – SEMI FINAL
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0 KETTERING TOWN (0) 0
Cogenhoe won 4-1 on pens.
The Cooks played host to Vanarama National League North side Kettering Town on Tuesday night with a place in the NFA Senior Cup final at stake. Scott Carlin was forced to make some changes from the team that beat Coventry United so convincingly on Saturday due to Bruce Tsinosis, Kyle Ansell and Bailey Weatherly all being cup-tied, whilst Harry Waple-Moors was selected by The Poppies, his parent club. In came Kodi Briggs, Ben Gough and new signing Dalton Leon who has joined from Bugbrooke, with Josh Adams, Luke Andrews and Lewis Green returning on the bench. Lee Glover named a strong team for the game and with the temperature hovering around the zero mark, the game got underway five minutes late with the Cooks attacking the village end.
Ash Bodycote was the first keeper called into action as he pushed a powerful strike from Keaton Ward over the bar and another shot was blocked in the box as the Poppies enjoyed the lion’s share of the play. Ethan Hill fired over from the left corner of the box, then the Cooks got the ball into the Poppies area through an Alex Parkes’ free kick and Louie Barrett went for goal, but his shot was blocked before it reached the target. Jessi Obeng played a good ball in to Barrett inside the box on the right and he hit a very good shot across Harrison Faulkes with the keeper stretching to palm the ball away from goal. Obeng nipped in quickly, but the keeper recovered to dive at his post and blocked his shot. Obeng did well to wrestle off a defender and get the ball back across the area but his cross was headed out. Jamie Hall did really well to get a touch and steer the ball into the path of Obeng who broke for the penalty area, but Frank Cooper tracked back to win the ball cleanly.
Ben Sault fired over from the left side of the box just before Bodycote saved from close range from Lewis White, but all-in-all it had been a pretty dour first half with one of the highlights being fourth official Harry Price holding up the three minutes added time on the electronic scoreboard, quite possibly a first for the Cooks.
Poppies had most of the first half as far as possession went, but didn’t really threaten that much and the closest the game had seen to a goal was Barrett’s effort that forced a good save out of Faulkes.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Poppies 0
The Poppies made a change at the break with in-form Frank Maguire replacing Decarrey Sheriff. A long ball from Maguire was met by Hill who set up Ward inside the box, but Luca Purse made a timely tackle to avert the danger. The Poppies were desperately close to opening the scoring when Sam Bennett turned in the box and placed his shot across Bodycote, only to see the ball hit the inside base of the post and come back into play, then the same player struck a low drive from the edge of the box that Bodycote got down to save.
Carlin’s first change saw Pharrell Anderson take over from Leon just after the hour just as the Cooks were starting to have the better of the play. A great pass by Parkes gave Barrett space inside the box, but he got under his shot too much and it sailed over the bar, then a good touch and shot by Maguire forced Bodycote to stretch to his left to push the ball away as it flew towards the top corner. Anderson laid a ball to Hall who hit it first time from well outside the box, but the result was the ball flying well over the bar, then Obeng played a ball into Barrett and although his cross was blocked, he received the ball back and Hall met his second effort at the near post with a decent header that Faulkes had to get down and turn round the post. Kodi Briggs made way for Lewis Green after 73 minutes, whilst Waple-Moors came on to face his usual teammates at the same time, Sault going the other way.
Hall fired over on the run from 25-yards out, then Hall headed the ball down to Obeng who met it first time forcing Faulkes to make another save as he dived to his left. Hall went close from deep inside the box, but Faulkes denied him and a piece of great defending by one of the Kettering centre-backs denied Anderson as the ball bounced inside the 6-yard box. Paddy Cichosz was yellow carded for a foul, the third in four matches for the combative midfielder, then Hall got goal side of his man to break into the box with a strong run, but the defender recovered well to get back with a very timely tackle.
Gough rose to meet a corner from the right with a powerful header that went just over the bar, whilst the Cooks defender was soon back in his own box heading out a cross from Ellis Myles. Faulkes made a good take from a deep Parkes free-kick, then Obeng laid the ball off to Anderson a few yards inside the box on the left and his shot deflected off a defender and wide of the goal. Purse ‘took one for the team’ as Kettering broke quickly down the left flank as he became the second player of the night to pick up a yellow card, but we were now into stoppage time and referee Martyn Gospel was soon to blow the final whistle and we were heading for penalties.
Cogenhoe went first and Luca Purse put the Cooks on their way, although it was a valiant attempt to keep it out by Faulkes who got his fingertips to the ball. Sam Bennett’s penalty was saved by Ash Bodycote and Pharrell Anderson fired home to make it 2-0. A good penalty from Frankie Maguire pulled one back, but Perry Ronayne kept his cool to restore the two-goal advantage. Former Cooks U18 player Gary Stohrer was up next and the Poppies skipper went straight down the middle, but Bodycote saved it with his leg. This meant that Ben Gough, who had been on the bench for AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday on dual registration, would put us through if he scored, and score he did. It seemed to take a second for the moment to sink in, but he was soon celebrating with penalty shoot-out hero Bodycote before the rest of the team joined in. The first final of the season booked with another chance still to come in the KO Cup, a great achievement for Biff and his team in their first season at Compton Park.
Tonight the lads did the club proud, they contained the step two side when they dominated possession in the first half and by the end they were looking far more likely to score in normal time. Plenty of calls for my man-of-the-match tonight which makes it very difficult to choose and I could give it to the team as a whole. Ash didn’t have too much to do in the 90 although he did make a couple of decent saves, but once again did all you could ask of him in shoot out with two more penalty saves. Paddy and Alex were class in midfield and helped their defence out, with Ben and Perry colossal in the centre of the defence. It was a difficult game for Dalton to join the team and he sat in a holding role tonight and looked a little short of match fitness, but that will come. Not many balls were delivered in from wide which shows how well Kodi and Luca did to keep them at arm’s length, especially during the first half when we spent a lot of time inside our own half. In the second half we grew and grew and looked a real threat going forward with Louie, Jamie Hall and Jessi all causing a real nuisance to the Poppies defence, with Pharrell adding to that threat after coming off the bench. Lewis looked good and matched anything Kettering had, whilst Jamie Shapes only had a couple of minutes at the end and unless he was to score the winning goal, didn’t really have long enough to make his mark. With all that said, most of you will probably have their own pick from tonight, but my nod goes to Ben Gough on his return to the Cooks team.
Hopefully the lads will have enjoyed the rest of their week, but its back down to business on Saturday with another home game, this time against a March Town United team with the focus on three more points in the league.
Cooks; 1. Ash Bodycote 2. Luca Purse 3. Kodi Briggs (sub 15. Lewis Green 73) 4. Alex Parkes 5. Perry Ronayne 6. Ben Gough 7. Louie Barrett 8. Paddy Cichosz 20. Jamie Hall (14. Jamie Snapes 90) 10. Dalton Leon (sub 9. Pharrell Anderson 62) 11. Jessi Obeng. Subs not used; 12. Josh Adams 16. Luke Andrews.
Yellow cards; Cichosz (80) Foul Purse (90) Foul.
Poppies; 1. Harrison Faulkes 4. Lewis White 7. Sam Bennett 8. Gary Stohrer © 10 Keaton Ward 12. Frank Cooper 14. Ethan Hill 15. Ellis Myles 17. Decarrey Sheriff (sub 2. Frank Maguire ht) 18. Harry Reilly 20. Ben Sault (sub 5. Harry Waple-Moors 73). Sub not used; 19. Harry Hogg.
Referee; Martyn Gospel
Assts; David Brennan & Jack Hobbs
4th Official; Harry Price