A goal in each half from Brookes and Obeng were enough to seal a win in Wellingborough.
Saturday 23rd July 2022
WELLINGBOROUGH WHITWORTH (0) 0 COGENHOE UNITED (1) 2
The Cooks rounded off their pre-season with a short trip down the A45 to face Spartan South Midlands League Division One outfit Whitworth on a warm summer’s afternoon. The Flourmen featured a couple of former Cooks strikers in their starting line up in Ryan Lovell and Jack Daldy, with the latter playing the full ninety-minutes at centre back, whilst the Cooks were missing a few players that may well feature at Rugby next Saturday.
Whitworth had the breeze at their backs as they kicked away from the clubhouse end in the first half and had the game’s first chance, but an air-kick in the box worked in favour of the Cooks, then Dan Law lifted a free-kick into the area which Lovell got his head to, but he could only send it over the bar. The early stages had been pretty even, but it was the Cooks who drew first blood with 11 minutes played as Luke Andrews brought the ball forward before sending a measured pass through to Owen Brookes inside the box on the right and he coolly slotted his shot past Bartosz Wiciak in the Flourmen goal.
Good defending by Law denied Pharell Anderson inside the box but Cogenhoe were dealt a blow when Will Bates was forced off with just 22 minutes played, Lewis Green taking his place at right back. Louis Barrett sent over a looping cross that cleared everybody, but Jessi Obeng battled to gain possession beyond the far post off of Paddy Malawski before exchanging passes with Anderson to get inside the box where he struck his shot well, but it flew just beyond the far post. A lovely cross from Barrett saw Wiciak just manage to claw the ball away from the in-coming Obeng at the back stick and Brookes got to the loose ball first, but his volley was blocked by Daldy just in front of the line.
The Flourmen were just off target as a shot bobbled the wrong side of the post, then Lovell shot wide under pressure from Harley Mallard. Back down the stand end as Barrett made a great run that saw him cut inside the box, but he couldn’t squeeze his cut-back past Wiciak at the near post. Barrett wasn’t too far over with a 20-yard effort just before Anderson ran onto a pass inside the box, but hit his low shot straight at Wiciak. A lovely touch and turn by Anderson set up a shooting chance for Brookes and his powerful effort was held at chest height by the keeper, then a mistake at the back by the Cooks saw the home number eleven given a great chance, but he lifted the ball over Regan Saunt and also the crossbar as the Cooks held on to their lead into the break.
One change at half-time for Cogenhoe with Paddy Cichosz replacing Luke Andrews in midfield. The Cooks started the half in positive style with Barrett making a good run down the right before firing in a low shot, then Anderson hit a decent low effort, but both shots were dealt with well by Wiciak. Whitworth were also getting forward and Obeng was twice back in a defensive role making very good interceptions down the Cogenhoe left flank. Anderson nicked the ball from Malawski and made ground on the left before playing inside to recent sub Archie Elmore, but as he took it across the box looking for an opening, he was crowded out with the Flourmen breaking quickly and Lovell lifted a shot over the bar from the right-side of the Cooks penalty area.
Saunt got down well to save a shot from one of the Whitworth subs, then Elmore got the better of Ryan Baxter to create space for a run at goal, but Wiciak did brilliantly as he came off his line and dived at the striker’s feet and take the ball away. Green did well on the right to create a chance for Elmore to send over a cross that Milton Ncube headed wide for a corner, but it was Whitworth who had the next two chances as they twice fired shots wide from just outside the box. We were then caught out at the back with Mallard doing really well to send his man wide and deny him a shooting chance.
With the Cogenhoe goal still unruffled, they now had a good phase of play themselves with Luca Iaciofano breaking down the right before placing his shot across the keeper with the ball bouncing the wrong side of the far post, then the same player hit a low 20-yarder that was too close to Wiciak. Louis Martin went on a mazy run before shooting from 20-yards out, but again Wiciak caught it comfortably, but it was Whitworth who were next to show when Ncube drove into the box and sent over a low cross that Joe Morris had to put over his own bar for a corner. On 87 minutes the Cooks grabbed a vital second goal of the afternoon as Jessi Obeng broke through and held off the challenge from Hall before firing in a shot that the keeper managed to get something on to, but couldn’t prevent it from hitting the back of his net.
A good work out for the Cooks boys against a decent Whitworth team who certainly gave us a game today and we wish James Mallows and his team all the best in their SSML campaign. This was the first clean sheet of the season for the Cooks, but hopefully the first of many for Regan Saunt. Once again we defended solidly even though our central defensive pairing changed again and this highlights the fact that we have strength in depth at this early stage in proceedings. We created plenty too, but we just need to find that ruthless streak in front of the goal to capitalise on the chances, but hopefully this will come as the players get used to each other game by game.
Cooks; Saunt, Bates, Adams, Purse ©, Mallard, Barrett, Farmer, Andrews, Anderson, Brookes & Obeng. Sub used; Iaciofano, Green, Cichosz, Elmore, Martin, Morris, McDonald.
Next up for the Cooks is the real deal as we head to Rugby Town next Saturday for the UCL opener.
The Reserves were also in action today as they faced Harpole Reserves on the astroturf at Moulton College, but despite leading twice in the first half, Harpole hit back with two quick goals to steal the win 3-2. Kieran Mobbs and Isaac Redding had given the Cooks a 2-1 half-time lead in this game.