The Cooks put their recent miserable form behind them to stun the Swifts 4-1.
Sat 23rd April 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
LUTTERWORTH TOWN (1) 1 COGENHOE UNITED (1) 4
Wakley 38, 55
The Cooks made the trip to Dunley Way in Lutterworth to finish off their season, hoping to put their recent poor run of results behind them and finish on a high note. Darren Long gave Luke Andrews his full-debut, but he had to make a late change to his starting line-up with Archie Culley feeling unwell, so Paddy Cichosz started in the holding midfield role. Jack Norman (ankle injury) and Alex Vaughan (covid) both returned to the squad on the bench after missing a few games between them.
It had felt decisively chilly on arrival at the ground, but once kick-off had arrived the sun had taken over to make it a very pleasant spring afternoon. There was a stiff breeze blowing from the clubhouse end down the pitch and it was the Swifts who would have it at their backs for the first half. Louis Samuels got the better of Cichosz just outside the box and took the ball on, but Craig Foxall was as alert to the danger as he always is and had come off his line to block his shot. Luca Iaciofano was unlucky when he took a touch before hitting a very good volley from 16-yards out that Warren Butlin tipped over the bar for the game’s first corner.
Nice football from the Cooks saw Cichosz find Archie Elmore who exchanged passes with Tom Wakley before playing it across the box where Iaciofano touched it back to Andrews just outside the box, but his pass back was just too hard and it ran through to Butlin. Marshal Keenan cut in and sent a curling effort over the top from 25-yards out, then the Swifts captain made a good run down the right before sending the ball low across the box, but Jack Riley was on hand to cut it out. Ryan Archer played a good ball through to Wakley and he broke through, staying just ahead of the chasing defender, before firing a lot shot from the right of the box past Butlin, but it also went agonisingly just the wrong side of the far post.
Another good move saw Will Bates and Iaciofano combine to find Wakley on the right and his cross took a deflection behind for a corner, but we went down the other on 37 minutes as Lutterworth drew first blood. Ryan Hodkinson played a ball up over the top for Keenan and he got goal side to break into the box before calmly steering his shot across Foxall and into the net to give the home the lead. The Cooks were only behind for sixty seconds though as Bates did well in the centre before finding Tom Wakley who held off Kade Lewis before hammering in a shot that deflected off Justin Peace and looped high into the air and over the head of Butlin before coming to rest in the back of the Lutterworth net. We haven’t had a lot of luck on our side in recent games so we will gratefully accept this today. Elmore played a good ball into the box that Lewis got too first and cleared up field and referee Edgar Brown brought the first half to an end. I think 1-1 was pretty fair at this point as it had been a close forty-five minutes with both teams playing well.
Half-time; Swifts 1 Cooks 1
Lutterworth had the first shot of the second half when Samuels went for goal from wide on the left, but his effort was well off target much to the frustration of the four orange shirts waiting in the box for a cross. It was still even-stevens as we reached the 55th minute when Elmore played the ball into the box from the left and as it sat up, Tom Wakley hooked the ball over his own shoulder and beyond Butlin’s reach to find the far corner. Excellent finish from Wakley and his 20th goal of the season which for a team in the bottom half of the table, is a superb achievement.
Dan Tuck hit a decent effort from the edge of the box that Rico Alexander blocked, then down the bottom end Dan Mortimer played a free-kick into the box that Wakley rose to head goalwards with the ball squirming through the hands of the keeper for a corner. Elmore held the ball up nicely before playing it to Mortimer who whipped in a cross that went just over Wakley’s head and the covering Lewis chested it back to his keeper before it could reach Iaciofano. Keenan did really well as he swivelled to make space for a shot on the edge of the box, but his low drive was straight at Foxall, then Butlin beat Elmore to a through ball before hitting the Cooks man in the chest with his forearm when there was no need for any contact. Elmore was winded and needed some treatment from Seve Ganley, but thankfully he was able to continue.
The recovered Elmore worked across the box before laying it back to Bates, but his first time shot went well over the top, then Iaciofano played a good ball in from the right that Elmore steered on target, but Butlin made a great save as he pushed the shot over the bar. Iaciofano sent the corner in deep and Andrews headed it back across goal, but Elmore had the ball whipped off his toes at the back post. Andrews touched the ball on to Wakley just beyond the left corner of the box and he cut inside before hitting a decent curling effort that went just over the bar as the Cooks continued to enjoy the better of the play.
The third Cooks goal did appear to be coming and it arrived on 72 minutes as Luca Iaciofano netted his second for the first team. Elmore held the ball up nicely inside the box before laying it into the path of the U18s leading scorer and he and he finished things off with a low shot across the keeper that went into the far corner. Not a million miles from his winning goal against Bugbrooke on Thursday night.
The subs followed as Lutterworth brought on Callum Riley and Zak Adams for Reece Lefley and Samuels before the restart, soon to be followed by Craig Maisiri who took over from Tuck and the Cook first change as Bates made way for Vaughan. A great win in the centre by Cichosz saw him find Wakley who in turn fed Iaciofano to his right, but his balance was off as he hit his shot and it flew wide of the near post. Lewis became the first (and only) player to be shown the yellow card after going in late on Iaciofano some 25-yards out in a central position and Elmore went for goal, but his effort was gathered safely by Butlin.
Butlin then got up high to catch a Vaughan cross cleanly, but he was picking the ball out of his net again on 82 minutes. Mortimer played a quick free-kick to Elmore on the left and he sent over the perfect cross to pick out Ryan Archer’s run and he buried a powerful header from seven yards out.
Norman returned to Cooks action on 83 minutes as he replaced Iaciofano. The Cooks could easily have had a fifth goal when a very good Mortimer free-kick picked out an unmarked Alexander inside the box, but he couldn’t get any power behind his header and Butlin gathered, whilst down the other end Mark Warren drilled in a shot from 25 yards that went wide of Foxall’s left-hand post. The final sub of the season for the first team saw Archie Culley replace Andrews with just over a minute left and with the clock having just ticked over ninety, the referee called things to an end.
Before I sum up the afternoon, I would like to reiterate what a great job Josh Dixon has done at Lutterworth and he thoroughly deserved the round of applause he received as he left the field for the final time as manager of the Swifts. Good luck for the future Josh.
As for the Cooks, we thoroughly deserved to end the season with three points with the second half being one of the best I have seen this season from the lads. After looking flat over the last few games, we were full of energy for the whole ninety minutes with each and every one of them deserving praise tonight. Over the last few games, I have struggled to find somebody worthy of my man-of-the-match accolade, but today I have many worthy candidates. Luca Iaciofano was again superb and looks a massive prospect for next season and Tom Wakley struck twice to take his seasonal tally to 20. Remember that in a lot of those games he wasn’t actually playing as a striker too. The defence was solid and unsually Craig Foxall was allowed a quiet afternoon, Luke Andrews looked composed in midfield, but my m-o-m today goes to Archie Elmore who was so full of running, held the ball up really well and picked out the right passes almost every time he got in possession. It was nice to see Daz not shaking his head at the end of the game and I swear we almost saw Steve smile at one point.
The end of a season usually means we have seen the last of some players for now and we will be getting to know some fresh faces in the summer, but hopefully we can keep the core of this very young squad together as they learn and grow. They showed today, just as they had done in Hinckley, exactly what they can achieve when they all pull together, they just need to find the consistency required and hopefully with the addition of a few more experienced players in the squad next year, we can continue to grow as a team. Onwards and upwards as they say.
Not my last report of the season as the U18s travel to Whitworth Red this coming Thursday and all being well I will also be at the Reserves final game at Huntingdon next Saturday. For those who only follow the first team, hope you have enjoyed my reports and I hope to see most of you again next July when the friendlies start. Met some really nice people who have been cheering on their sons, many of whom are just starting out in the men’s game and I hope to see many of you again next season. If not, good luck wherever you may end up and I wish you all success in the future.
Lutterworth; 1. Warren Butlin 2. Reece Lefley (sub 12. Callum Riley 72) 3. Ryan Hodkinson 4. Mark Warren 5. Justin Peace 6. Kade Lewis 7. Louis Samuels (sub 14. Zak Adams 72) 8. Jamie Cooper 9. Marshal Keenan © 10. Abdul Rahman Sunmonu 11. Dan Tuck (sub 19. Craig Maisiri 74). Unused subs; 15. Dylan Parish 16. Fin Thomas.
Cogenhoe; 1. Craig Foxall 2. Will Bates (sub 15. Alex Vaughan 75) 3. Dan Mortimer 4. Paddy Cichosz 5. Jack Riley 6. Rico Alexander © 7. Luca Iaciofano (sub 14. Jack Norman 83) 8. Ryan Archer 9. Tom Wakley 10. Luke Andrews (sub 12. Archie Culley 88) 11. Archie Elmore.
Referee; Edgar Brown
Assts; Nicholas Marriott & Kayden Geary