Vanarama North club Peterborough Sports had just too much for the young Cooks team as a late goal flourish makes it tough on the night.
Tuesday 18th April 2023
NORTHANTS F.A HILLIER SENIOR CUP – FINAL
(at Sixfields Stadium)
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0 PETERBOROUGH SPORTS (1) 6
Maniche 15, 86
R. Jones 63
Purse (og) 82,
Cup final day had finally arrived, but unfortunately the nice weather of late had given way to a dull evening with wind-chill factor taking the temperature down even further, but that didn’t stop a healthy crowd from turning up to cheer on their relative teams. Quite a few made the trip over from Peterborough, while we saw plenty of familiar faces from around the area in the home Cooks half of the west stand, including the Cooks Reserves and Vets teams, plus Jamie Hall’s fan club from his Sunday side AFC Hackleton. However you looked at this, it was going to be a tough challenge for the Cooks against a Step 2 team who would surely be up for lifting the cup for the second season running after securing mid-table safety in the Vanarama National League North and their team sheet showed plenty of real talent and experience to highlight this. Biff was missing all his cup-tied players, but we still had a strong line-up out there with Ben Gough, Luca Purse, Paddy Cichosz, Pharrell Anderson, Jessi Obeng and Jamie Hall all returning to the starting line-up as we looked to cause a major upset at the home of Northampton Town.
As expected it was Sports who started the game on the attack and they won an early corner when Josh McCammon’s shot was blocked and then another corner sent in by Dan Lawlor lead to a bit of pinball in the area and Alex Parkes ended up having to clear the ball off his goal-line. A nice move from the Turbines saw Mark Jones play in Isiah Bazeley on the left and the full back played it back into the danger area, but Jones scuffed his shot from a great position. Bodycote had to race out to the edge of his box to beat Jordan Nicholson to the ball then the Cooks keeper got down to take a low Nicholson cross with McCammon looming The ever dangerous Nicholson floated over a good cross that Bodycote did really well to palm away under pressure from Mark Jones. The pressure finally paid off on 15 minutes when Nicholson hit a great low drive from outside the box that saw Bodycote dive to his left to make a fine save, but the alert Maniche Sani reacted the quickest to steer the ball home for just outside the 6-yard box with a true poachers finish.
Anderson whipped over a cross that Hall just failed to get his head to towards the back post, then when a long throw from Gough was headed out of the area, Obeng hit a low shot that deflected wide for a corner as Cogenhoe got themselves going forward. Nicholson did really well to get the better of Louie Barrett on the left edge of the box and he cut on to his right foot before sending a curling effort just over the top, then a corner for Sports saw Bodycote save from Kennedy at the near post and Purse did extremely well to block the follow-up on the line to save his team from falling further behind. Some backs-to-the-wall defending from the Cooks frustrated the Turbines as they had a spell of intense pleasure deep inside the Cooks area, then a great strike from a few yards outside the box from Nicholson flew just over the bar.
Anderson finally got to use his pace and was duly brought down by Bazeley who became the first person to be shown the yellow card by Shaun Barry with just under half-an-hour played. Hall went down after a challenge in the box with the Cooks shouting for a penalty but the play continued, then Kennedy nipped in to get a touch before Bodycote could get to the ball, but his angle was now very tight and support was lacking when he played the ball across the 6-yard box. Mark Jones went close before the Cooks broke with Dalton Leon playing the ball right for Anderson and when his cross was headed out, Leon met it on the volley from just outside the box, but his effort ended up closer to the corner flag than it did the goal before McCammon had the final chance of the first half as his shot was blocked by Gough
Half-time; Cooks 0 Turbines 1
Cogenhoe started the second half on the attack as Gough played a long ball up to Anderson inside the box on the right, but Bazeley defended the situation really well, then the Turbines defender was down the other end as he made a good run into the box before firing into the side netting. A quick break from Sports saw Maniche feed McCammon in the box, but he fired wide from a good position. A good run by Kayden Williamson saw him break into the box, only to be denied by a great challenge from Perry Ronayne and when the corner was swung in, Bodycote was strong at the near post and punched the ball away. Nicholson hit a good shot from the corner of the box that Leon blocked for another corner, but this time it was punished by the National League side. Dan Lawlor had already delivered some great corners and this one was another from that category as Richard Jones met it with a towering downward header beyond the far post to double the Turbines lead on 63 minutes.
Sports made the game’s first change before the restart with Dan Jarvis replacing Williamson, but they didn’t need much settling in time as Nicholson’s shot from the middle of the box took a wicked deflection off Cichosz to wrong foot Bodycote making it 3-0 with 65 minutes played. A run of changes followed with Cooks skipper Paddy Cichosz making way for Josh Jones and Hugh Alban-Jones replacing Kennedy on 66 minutes, with Hall coming off six minutes later with Tommy Curry entering his parent clubs pitch. Hall had worked extremely hard up top on his own for most of the time and had certainly earned his break. Lawlor hit a great effort on the turn from a tight angle that wasn’t too far over. Alban-Jones cut inside and fired over from the edge of the box, while a good run by Gough saw him advance deep into the Sports’ half before playing the ball into Obeng’s feet just inside the box and he steered it left for Curry, but his whipped cross was caught cleanly by Lewis Elsom.
The final change of the game saw Parkes make way for Kodi Briggs with 12 minutes left to play. Elsom had to come out of his box to beat Curry to a through ball, then the Sports keeper had to come to the edge of his 6-yard box to take a cross that Gough had whipped in. Things got worse for the Cooks on 82 minutes when Nicholson sent a low delivery across the box that Purse had to go for, but unfortunately he could only divert the ball into his one net. Anderson hit a decent shot from 25-yards out that Elsom took well on the bounce, then Turbines player-manager Michael Gash brought himself into the mix for the final few minutes replacing Mark Jones. What you don’t want to see is a player of his class coming on when you are four-nil down. Sports added a fifth on 86 minutes when a hard driven cross from the left side of the box was converted from close range by Maniche for his second of the evening, then a minute later we were opened up at the back when Lawlor played the ball through to McCammon who slotted home from deep inside the box.
The scoreline was made rather tough on the Cooks with the late flurry of goals, but Peterborough Sports had been thoroughly deserving winners on the night. The played some excellent football and were generally stronger all round against our young squad. Everybody at the Cooks are very proud of the achievement of reaching the final and even though the final score was disappointing, we were playing a far better team and had held them at bay for a lot of the game. The NFA man-of-the-match was Sports Jordan Nicholson which I thoroughly agree with, while my Cogenhoe man-of-the-match goes to Dalton Leon who we all agreed had given everything he had got for the cause tonight. Special mention to the officials tonight, Shaun Barry, Chris Walton and Rob Evans who were excellent and thoroughly deserving of their chance to officiate the county F.A’s showpiece competition, while Sam Lee took on the duties of holding up the subs board. Maybe a flag next time and who knows, the whistle in another 19 years.
Biff’s team have just one more game to go this season when they host Rothwell Corinthians on Saturday afternoon, whilst the Reserves are in action tonight at Desborough.
Cooks; 1. Ash Bodycote 2. Alex Parkes (sub 17. Kodi Briggs 78) 3. Ben Gough 4. Dalton Leon 5. Luca Purse 6. Perry Ronayne 7. Louie Barrett 8. Paddy Cichosz © (sub 15. Josh Jones 66) 9. Pharrell Anderson 10. Jamie Hall (sub 14. Tommy Curry 72) 11. Jessi Obeng. Subs not used; 16. Harley Mallard 17. Callum Farmer.
Turbines; 13. Lewis Elsom 2. Isiah Bazeley 6. Dan Lawlor 9. Mark Jones (sub 23. Michael Gash 84) 10. Maniche Sani 11. Jordan Nicholson 17. Connor Kennedy (sub 14. Hugh Alban-Jones 66) 20. Connor Johnson 22. Josh McCammon 27. Kayden Williams-Lowe (sub 16. Dan Jarvis 63). Sub not used; 1. Peter Crook.
Yellow card; Bazeley (29) Foul
Referee; Shaun Barry
Assts; Rob Evans & Chris Walton.
4th official; Sam Lee.