Wellingborough take the points in front of a three figure crowd at Compton Park.
Friday 18th March 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUTNIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (1) 2 WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN (1) 3
Wakley 29, 81 (pen)
Iaciofano 57, 74 (pen)
A bumper crowd came to take advantage of the Friday night fixture as we entertained or close neighbours from Wellingborough Town. The hottest day of the year so far had become a chilly evening at Compton Park as former Cooks manager Jake Stone returned to his former home and he and assistant Jake Cayton brought the number of ex-Cooks on the teamsheet up to ten. Staring were Josh Melling, Séan McBride, Jack O’Connor, Carter Price, Jamie Mastropierro, Matt Long and Tom Iaciofano, whilst Dennis Nkrumah was named amongst the five subs. As for Darren Long, he still has a few injuries to contend with but keeper Craig Foxall, although still quite a way off being 100%, returned between the sticks, whilst Archie Culley and Josh Adams both played through illness. Francis Boateng returned to the team for his first game of the season, but was bound to rusty after such a long time without playing or training, good to see him back though. Under-18s Shad Reza and Luca Iaciofano were both included on the bench again with the latter getting the chance to play against his older brother as most of his family swelled the numbers in the stand, including Oxford City striker Joey.
The game got underway with the Cooks attacking the village end, but in truth there was little to write about in the opening stages with the game being played out mainly in the middle of the park. Iaciofano sent in a dangerous cross in from the left that Archie Culley stretched to get a toe to, with the ball spinning not too far wide of his own post, whilst McBride found a yard of space before going for goal from just outside the box, but Craig Foxall had it covered as he saw the ball go wide of the target.
In truth the opening goal came out of the blue even if Wellingborough were now enjoying the better of the scrappy start as Price picked up the ball around 25-yards out and found the space to hit an absolute beauty of a shot that gave Foxall no chance as it flew three feet off the ground all the way before hitting the back of the net just inside the keeper’s right-hand post. One of the best strikes I have seen so far this season as the Doughboys got their noses in front. Tom Wakley made a run into the box and won a corner off of keeper Lewi Patching, which Adams swung in. Wakley went for it in the air at the near post, but it dropped behind him where Paddy Cichosz stretched to get his foot to the ball, but it sliced up and over the bar.
A long ball from Patching looking for Iaciofano saw Boateng come across and win it in the air with the Doughboys player looking like he might be clear through, then the Cooks won a free-kick on the right that Culley stood behind. His delivery to the just beyond the far post was met by a spectacular volley from Will Bates that flew across the face of the goal and Tom Wakley got there in front of the defender to steer it at goal from point-blank range. Patching wasn’t able to get himself behind it before it crossed the line so the Cooks were level with 29 minutes played. A somewhat ‘ugly’ goal I guess. But it was now 1-1 and that is all that matters on the night.
McBride made one of his trademark challenges on Wakley, but didn’t time this one as he might and received a ticking-off from referee Harry Price and as the free-kick was played forward, Will Bates hit it on the turn from 25-yards out with a great effort, but it was straight at Patching who caught it comfortably as he took it into his chest. Louis Barrett broke through the centre and had the luck of two kind deflections to find the ball in front of his feet on the edge of the box and although he struck it hard and low, Foxall got down to his left to make a fantastic one-handed save. Moments later Barrett became the first player to be shown the yellow card by Mr Price for a foul on Cooks skipper Rico Alexander.
Iaciofano played a good ball inside to an unmarked Price in the box, but Foxall came off his line quickly to force him wide and when he fired the ball the ball back across Dan Mortimer headed it away from goal. Wakley’s flick on found Elmore on the edge of the box, but former Cooks captain Jamie Mastropierro challenged him before he could make space for a shot. Not the most memorable of first halves in reality, but Cogenhoe would be the happiest with the scoreline after a rather disjointed forty-five minutes which wasn’t too surprising given the lack of action they have seen over the last few weeks.
HT; COOKS 1 DOUGHBOYS 1
It was an even start to the second half with Alexander and Norman combining well at the back to stop a dangerous move from the visitors before Elmore gave chase to a Culley through ball, but was just beaten to it by Patching just inside the penalty area. A nice dinked cross from Adams was taken in the air by Patching, then Boateng became the second player to be shown the yellow card for a foul. The visitors retook the lead on 57 minutes and it was another former Cooks player doing the damage. Tom Iaciofano cut inside the box from the left before dancing past a couple of defenders and placing his shot across Foxall and into the far bottom corner. Nice footwork from Tom, but a soft goal to concede from a Cogenhoe angle.
Elmore made a strong run into the box on the right but fired his shot wide before Stone replace Damien O with Oli Anderson just after the hour. Price fired a shot the wrong side of the post from an angle and then Long dinked a throughball that played Barrett free but his shot was blocked and bounced back off him for a goal-kick. Mastropierro picked up a rather harsh looking booking for a foul, not the first of his career by any means though, before Boateng was forced off as his legs felt the fatigue of his first game in months on 68 minutes. Luca Iaciofano came on in his place to face up to his brother, although a reshuffle saw him go up top as Cichosz went into the back three, Bates moved to right wingback and Wakley dropped into the number ten role.
Alexander defended well as Long ran on to a McBride pass, but the Cooks skipper brought down Long just inside the corner of the box moments later to give the Doughboy’s a penalty. Tom Iaciofano was a legend from the penalty spot in his time at Compton Park and he hasn’t lost it one little bit as he placed it low to Foxall’s left and just inside the post for his second of the night with 74 minutes played. Bates had been receiving treatment but was forced to come off with Alex Vaughan taking his place.
Barrett beat Mortimer to a long ball to find himself clear with just the keeper to beat, but he hit it earlier than he needed to and smacked it against the crossbar in a let off for the Cooks, whilst down the other end Wellingborough defence made a hash of things and Patching miss-controlled the ball on the corner of the box allowing Wakley to nip the ball away and as a result the keeper tripped the Cooks player. It was right in front of me and the foul was actually outside the box, but the referee pointed to the spot. Cooks leading scorer Tom Wakley stepped up to the mark and struck his penalty well to Patching’s right and although the keeper guessed correctly, he couldn’t stop the Cooks striker netting his 16th goal of the season. 81 minutes played and it was game on once again.
Long was cautioned for hand-ball as he stopped a quickly taken free-kick deep in the Cogenhoe half, then McBride picked out Iaciofano on the left and he sent over a very dangerous cross that Adams did brilliantly to get his head to in the centre. Barrett went close as he fired a low shot across Foxall that the keeper got his hands to at the expense of a corner, then Price cut inside a little too easily but had to settle for a corner as well. Foxall came off his line bravely to dive at a Wellingborough player’s feet as the visitors threatened again, but that was it and the Doughboys deservedly took the points in the A45 derby.
Not a classic as far as games go, but five goals for the crowd to enjoy. The Cooks were clearly struggling to get their normal game together and all these long breaks between games isn’t doing us any favours at all. We now have another ten days before we play again which isn’t going to help with our fluency, but will give the likes of Foxall, Bates, Culley, Adams and Ryan Archer the chance to recover from injuries and illness before we entertain Bugbrooke a week on Tuesday. It is always nice to welcome back and chat to some former Cooks colleagues and Wellingborough have plenty of them, so I wish them well for the rest of the season. It is great to see Tom Iaciafano back playing in the area, it’s just a shame he isn’t wearing the blue this time though. He gave us some reminders of just how good he was after breaking through into the Cooks team at such a young age, but at least we still have Luca keeping the Iaciofano name alive as the U18s leading scorer is improving all the time and can look forward to a good career too if he continues to apply himself.
Man of the match today goes to Tom Wakley for his two goals and plenty of effort to back them up tonight, but it wasn’t Cogenhoe at their best by a long chalk.
The Reserves play at Daventry this afternoon, then head to Irchester on Wednesday night as they try again following last week’s postponement.
Cooks; 1. Craig Foxall 2. Paddy Cichosz 3. Josh Adams 4. Dan Mortimer 5. Francis Boateng (sub 14. Luca Iaciofano 68) 6. Rico Alexander © 7. Archie Culley 8. Jack Norman 9. Tom Wakley 10. Will Bates (sub 12. Alex Vaughan 74) 11. Archie Elmore. Sub not used; 15. Shad Reza.
Yellows; Alexander (56) Foul
Wellingborough; 1. Lewis Patching 2. Josh Melling © 3. Damien Osoimoekiokhian (sub 12. Oli Anderson 61) 4. Séan McBride 5. Jack O’Connor 6. Jarvis Wilson 7. Carter Price 8. Jamie Mastropierro 9. Matt Long 10. Louie Barrett 11. Tom Iaciofano. Subs not used; 14. Callam Traynor 15. Dennis Nkrumah 16. Lloyd Buckby 17. Kyle Ansell.
Yellows; Barrett (43) Foul. Mastropierro (61) Foul. 1. Patching (81) Foul. 9. Long (82) Handball.
Referee; Harry Price.
Assts; Stewart Glendenning & Trevor Martin.