The Cooks remain unbeaten in the league following this afternoon’s goalless draw at Desborough Town.
Saturday 12th December 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
DESBOROUGH TOWN (0) 0 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0
Cooks boss Scott Carlin made two changes from Tuesday night as Nathan Bell-Toxtle started in place of the holidaying Callum Farmer in midfield and Jamie Hall got the nod over Jack Connor up top, while Jim Le Masurier made three changes to his starting line up as Tuesday night subs Kye Little, Gleb Mihalcov and former Cogenhoe striker Will Russell were all handed starts. Russell joined Adam Randall and Archie Elmore to bring the Cogenhoe old boys tally up to three for Ar Tarn. Both teams had endured 120 minutes of action in their respective F.A Cup replays in midweek before feeling the agony of penalty shoot-out defeats.
The Cooks had to wear the horrible grey kit today, but on arrival found out that half the socks were missing so a quick phone call saw Derek Wright bring the orange set, giving us at least a splash of colour. Harley Mallard won an early corner for the Cooks following a free-kick and Alex Parkes swung it in to the near post where Ben Dimond won it in the air, but couldn’t keep it below bar height, then Elmore’s clever flick sent Rico Duggan into the box on the left where he placed his low shot across Adam North, but the Cooks keeper had his positioning spot on and he was able to watch the ball roll beyond the far post with his goal covered. Good battling by Hall saw him keep the ball in the centre before spraying it out to the left looking for Dylan Wilson, but his pass was too far ahead of his teammate, then Hall tried to pick out Parkes’ run into the box, but the ball ran through to Adam Honour before the Cooks midfielder could reach it. Hall’s battling saw him brought down by Ollie Anderson just to the left of the edge of the box and Parkes sent over a great free-kick that Mallard won at the back post with a downward header that forced a great save out of Honour and before the home side could get the ball away, Mallard dinked it across the area to the left hand side where Wilson rose to meet it with his head, but couldn’t get enough power behind it to trouble the keeper.
Desborough were dealt an early blow when Duggan pulled up appearing to be holding his hamstring and he was forced off with just 11 minutes played as Faruq Usman made an appearance far earlier than he would have been expecting. Elmore worked across the edge of the box from the left before slipping the ball to veteran midfielder Liam Boath who hit a low first-time effort that North dealt with comfortably. Excellent defending by Liam Honour denied Stan Channell as he tried to burst past him down the right, then Dalton Leon did well in the middle of the park, but unfortunately put a little too much on his ball through to Channell. A bit of poor defensive play from the Cooks saw us give the ball away cheaply around our own area and we were very lucky that a low ball across the box from Russell was just behind the run of a totally unmarked Boath in the centre some 8-yards from goal.
A nice turn from Green down the right saw him play a low ball in behind the defence that keeper Honour collected, then the Cooks right back was busy down the other end as he headed a deep Anderson cross behind for a corner to the home side following a quick break. Mihalcov delivered the corner in very deep and Boath, by far the smallest man on the field, headed behind from beyond the far post. Desborough had a good chance, forcing North to make a brave save at his near post in amongst the boots from a close range shot from Russell and recovered quickly to take Liam Honours cross safely. North had to come out of his box quickly to beat Usman to a ball over the top, then Russell had a shot from 20-yards deflected wide for a corner. A great piece of play by Mihalcov saw him get the better of both Channell and Green to send Russell down the left, but Dimond was covering and put the ball behind for another corner. Channell did well down the right flank, but his ball into the danger area wasn’t attacked by a grey shirt and the two sides went into the break level and goalless.
The Cooks had made a decent start, but after that Desborough had the edge of the attacking play without ever overly working the Cooks back four.
Half-time; Ar Tarn 0 Cooks 0
Wilson, who had up to now scored in every game he has played since returning to the club, had limped off at the break and it was no surprise when he didn’t return for the second half with Damian Osoimoejiokhian the man chosen to take his place. A drilled cross from inside the box on the right was taken cleanly into his midriff by Cooks keeper North, while down the Water Tower end, the ball rolled nicely for Channell just inside the box, but Mihalcov just got back to get his foot to the Cooks winger’s shot and it looped up into the waiting arms of Honour. Elmore won a corner down the left than North caught cleanly in a spell that Desborough looked like they might get a grip on the game, with him and Russell looking particularly lively against their former club.
Channell did well on the right and pulled the ball across the box, but Hall couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to create the space he needed for a shot, while Russell did manage that down the other end before shooting just wide from the edge of the area. Carlin made a triple change on 59 minutes as Green, Hall and Bell-Toxtle all came off to be replaced by Bailey Weatherly, Jack Connor and Josh Jones respectively, with Parkes moving to right back. Connor very nearly played Channell in with his first touch of the ball just before a great delivery from Jones picked out Channell in the box and he forced Honour to tip his looping header over the bar with a very good save. Parkes sent a good corner into the 6-yard box, but Honour was strong as he punched the ball clear above the head of Leon. North took a deep cross from Anderson with relative ease, while both teams made changes as Kye Little was replaced by James Hamill just before the final change for the Cooks saw Charlie Pearson come on for Channell.
Weatherly had livened up the tired looking Cooks for a while and a couple of his throw-ins had the Desborough defence looking a little uncomfortable and from the second, a lovely flick from Mallard went across the box unchallenged. North bowled out the ball to Leon who sent Connor running into the box, but he perhaps took a touch too much, allowing the defender to get back to snuff out the danger. Osoimoejiokhiam cut back across the box from the left and tried to set up Jones on the edge, but Boath got across to block his shot as he hit it, while down the clubhouse end, Elmore could only fire over the top after Cogenhoe had struggled to get the ball away from the penalty area following a spell of pressure from Ar Tarn. Le Masurier made his last three subs during the final quarter of an hour with Russell surprisingly replaced by Ben White in a reshuffle, before Arjun Nondal and Jude Coates were given late runs for Anderson and Boath. Special mention to Liam Boath who despite having seemingly been around the UCL Prem for more years than I care to remember, went from box to box for the whole 85 minutes he was on the park. Mobbs sent over a good cross from the left that not for the first time this afternoon nobody attacked, although Weatherly came in to win the ball wide on the right, but his cross was blocked. Mallard defended well deep in his own box as Elmore threatened, while the games only yellow card came on 89 minutes as Hundal retaliated after Weatherly’s foul had rubbed him up the wrong way. A bit different to the 12 cards we had on Tuesday night. Elmore had a half-chance at the far post deep into stoppage time, but Leon managed to get a foot in on the ball and the game finished 0-0.
It really won’t linger long in the memory, but the Cooks remain unbeaten in the league as they sit in fourth spot. But only St Neots Town and March Town United are still able to boast 100% records with just three games played which does indicate this could be a really open league this time around. The Cooks did look tired after two epic cup ties in the previous seven days and this clearly affected their performance today, with one of two players seemingly below par, but it is a great sign that we didn’t lose this one as I think we may well of done last season if I’m brutally honest. The young defence were excellent once again and it has to be there that I look for my my-of-the-match as they protected Adam North’s goal giving him a fairly quiet game today and skipper Harley Mallard takes the honours for me. Five games in and yet to be beaten in normal time, I am more than happy with that as Biff rebuilds again with an even younger squad than last season.
Next up for the Cooks are two home games, starting against local rivals Bugbrooke St Michaels on Tuesday night and flowed by Histon next Saturday.
Desborough; 1. Adam Honour 2. Ollie Anderson (sub 12. Arjun Hundel 85) 3, Gleb Mihalcov 4. Adam Randall 5. Aaron Davies © 6. Liam Honour 7. Rico Duggan (sub 17. Faruq Usman 11) 8. Liam Boath (sub 16. Jude Coates 85) 9. Archie Elmore 10. Kye Little (sub 15. James Hamill 70) 11. Will Russell (sub 14. Ben White 76)
Cooks; 1. Adam North 2. Lewis Green (sub 16, Bailey Weatherly 59) 3. Kieron Mobbs 4. Alex Parkes 5. Ben Dimond 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Stan Channell (sub 14. Charlie Pearson 71) 8. Dalton Leon 9. Jamie Hall (sub 12. Jack Connor 59) 10. Nathan Bell-Toxtle (sub 15. Josh Jones 59) 11. Dylan Wilson (sub 17. Damien Osoimoejkhian ht)
Referee; John Ehilenboadiaye
Assts; Chris Coles & Clinton Ormshaw
Photos will follow on the Cogenhoe United Facebook page.