Saturday 30th September 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED v DAVENTRY TOWN
We have somehow reached the end of September and to close the month off we have a home game against fellow Northamptonshire club Daventry Town. Our visitors currently sit one place above us in 8th with a four point advantage, but the Cooks have played two games fewer than Town at this stage. They have won three and lost three of their previous six outings with the reverses coming against teams at the top and are currently on a two-game winning streak following their comfortable 3-0 away win on Tuesday night at Leicester Nirvana. Leon Lobjoit (2) and Nabil Shariff were the men on target at Hamilton Park with their goals taking them to 14 and 8 respectively. Both of these are players of real pedigree and I suspect their services don’t come cheap which is a little bit of a surprise given the fact that Daventry’s relegation back to the UCL was largely due to the removal of a playing budget during last season that lead to the departure of manager Arron Parkinson and pretty much the whole playing squad. Then Reserve team manager Andy Emery stepped in to finish off the season and despite some heavy defeats at the beginning, his players did him and the club proud before their inevitable relegation at the end of April.
Daren Young, manager at Burton Park Wanderers last season, stepped up a level in the summer to fill the manager’s role and has brought his own budget with him which has allowed him to bring in the likes of the prolific Lobjoit and the vastly experienced Shariff, as well as a whole host of new faces, some returning, which has brought a fairly decent return so far, but they have also suffered some heavy defeats along the way. They recently crashed 0-5 at home to Racing Club Warwick, the team we knocked off the top of the pile a few weeks ago following our 3-2 win here, while quick exits from both F.A competitions came in the shape of a 1-8 home defeat to Burnham and a 7-3 reverse at Bewdley Town. To balance this off, they have hammered GNG 7-0 at Elderstubbs with Lobjoit bagging another hat-trick, backed up by a brace from Shariff. They have three ex-Cooks on their books at the moment, Kodi Briggs, Brad Marshall and Ashraf Masumbuko, but it may well be that none of them will included in their squad tomorrow looking at their recent selections.
The last time we met here in the league came back in their championship season 2018/19 and they won 4-2 that day on a February afternoon. Former Cooks striker Luke Emery bagged a hat-trick that day with Joe Merrill also on target, while Luke Stone and Montel Dore were on target in the second half for the Cooks.
Tomorrow will hopefully see the return of skipper Harley Mallard and Earl Atat to the squad with both having missed the midweek trip to Rugby. Mallard has been suffering from Covid, while Atat was stuck in London with his work after delays on the trains. We haven’t won a league game since beating Warwick here 3-2, after which we suffered narrow defeats at GNG and Rugby Borough, so this would be the ideal time to turn those fortunes around as we look to secure our fifth win of the campaign, but to put things into a little more perspective, we already have six more points than we did at this stage last season.