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Failing to take our chances and a couple of lapses at the back cost us dear in Meir Heath.

Tuesday 9th August 2022





Wilson 10

Thomas 62


White 49


Att; 101


Following Saturday’s draw, the Cooks made the long midweek trip to the leafy suburbs of Stoke-on-Trent for the replay with manager Scott Carlin forced to make one change to his line up as Will Bates was unable to get away due to his work commitments. Dylan Carlin and Luke Andrews were called up to the bench for the first time this season. Stone OA had two changes to their starting line-up with Mawgan Blight coming in for Andrew Walklate in goal and Sam Bradbury replacing Jayden Shepherd in midfield.

The home side started brightly and almost created a chance inside the first sixty seconds when Sam Wilson tried to wriggle his way in at the near post, but the Cooks were first to test the keeper when Blight got down well to save a powerful Josh Adams strike after Luca Purse had won the ball in the air from Ben Gough’s free-kick. Louis Barrett volleyed wide from a deep Adams corner and a strong run from Ben Gough opened up the home defence and after playing a one-two with Luke McDonald, his first cross was blocked before his follow up found Pharrell Anderson just inside the box, but he couldn’t make space for a shot.

Whilst the Cooks were having some decent spells in their opponent’s half, Stone were always looking dangerous on the break and on 10 minutes they took the lead. It came from a set piece deep inside their own half that was cut out and knocked long to find the energetic Sam Wilson who burst clear through before drawing Regan Saunt off his line and calmly slotting the ball past the keeper and into the net. Buoyed by the goal, an excellent 40-yard pass by Josh Sedgley picked out Oliver Boote’s run into the box and he took it down well, but Saunt was very quickly off his line to dive at his feet. Alex Cimino brought a long ball down beautifully inside the Cooks box, but he couldn’t find Wilson with his lay off, then Gough was just off target with a shot after losing his man just outside the box on the left as the game mirrored Saturday with its end-to-end action, but the long grass played a massive part in keeping the home side in front. A great pass from Jessi Obeng sent Anderson clear on the right and as the keeper came out, he steered it past him and it rolled happily on its way into the net. However, the pace of the ball slowed in the grass the closer it got to the goal allowing Ryan Goodwin to run back and make what was still an excellent goal line clearance.

Sam Bradbury and Oliver Davies both went close for the hosts, the former with a shot on the turn from just outside the box with the latter coming from a header following a corner, then Anderson rose well to get a header on target from beyond the far post, but Blight held it well on his line. Adams had a shot deflected wide just after Jessi Obeng had created the chance before Mitch White volleyed over the top from just outside the box. White had a great chance to equalise just before the break after Anderson had set him up, but he went for power over accuracy with his 16-yard shot and fired it over the bar, then the final chance of the first half saw Boote fire just too high with his shot from the right side of the box with a very decent effort at goal.


Half-time; Stone OA 1 Cooks 0


The Cooks showed a real sense of urgency right from the get-go as the game got back underway and they drew themselves level on 49 minutes with a great strike from Mitch White. The midfielder received the ball in the centre of the park, took it forward and fired in a low shot from 25-yards out that beat the dive of Blight to fly just inside the post. The good spell continued with Purse having his shot blocked after a good move involving Kodi Briggs, Adams and Barrett had created the opportunity, then in a quick breakaway, Matt Thomas drilled a great low ball across the 6-yard box, but his teammate couldn’t get a touch as he slid in at the back post and collided with the seats, but thankfully he was able to continue after treatment.

Blight got down to a Gough 30-yard effort that almost allowed Anderson to nip in and get as it slowed in the grass and as we kept up the pressure, Gough had a shot blocked just before White got a header on target from a long Gough throw as the Cooks continued to dominate. All this hard work was undone though on 62 minutes with a catalogue of errors by the Cooks. White’s poor pass started our downfall and when the ball was lifted high in to the air, Purse failed to get his head to the ball and Saunt misjudged the bounce as the ball went over his head to leave him stranded. Thomas ran on to the loose ball wide on the left and took a touch before rolling it into the unguarded net. Certainly against the run of play at the time but games are won and lost by taking your chances.

White cut inside and curled a shot just over from 15-yards out, while down the other end Briggs defended well to deny Boote a clean run at goal. The first changes of the game saw Archie Elmore and Owen Brooks come on in place of Barrett and Adams with 68 minutes played. Gough almost set-up sub Elmore inside the box, but he couldn’t get the ball down with his first touch of the game, then Stone made a couple of substitutions with Josh Watters replacing Cimino on 71 minutes and Boote making way for Saturday’s scorer Tom Harley three minutes later.

Saunt was forced to come outside his area and win a headed dual with Thomas and as the ball dropped for Wilson, he could only put his side-footed volley onto the roof of the cover behind the goal. Gough played a one-two with White before finding Briggs to his left. He sent over a cross that dropped for Parkes beyond the far post and his drilled effort saw Blight stretch out a hand to turn the ball away. Anderson did well to get his head to a cross and Brooks turned sweetly just inside the box before hitting a great effort that dipped just over the bar. Cogenhoe’s final change saw the return of both Lloyd Groves number 20 shirt and Luke Andrews who had scored for the reserves on Saturday after returning from holiday.

With their slender lead, Stone were now managing the game out and making it stop-start, thus taking the tempo away from the Cooks game. Saunt saved well from Wilson following a great ball from Will Bailey, whilst Gough fired a 20-yard effort well over the bar. Bradbury, who had been very lucky not have been cautioned for a couple of fouls early in the first half, finally saw the yellow card for time wasting at a free-kick, then with the game deep into stoppage time it became heated for the first time following a very poor challenge by White. The Cooks man was shown a straight red card and following the ensuing melee, Thomas and Bradbury were both shown the yellow version.

2-1 to Stone Old Alleynians is how it ended and the Cooks are still looking for their first win of the season with four games played, with any hopes of a money-spinning F.A Cup run having to wait until next season. If only we had taken advantage of our dominance early in the second half this could have been a different story and I feel we are missing Luca Iaciofano’s killer-instinct in front of goal while he is away on holiday. Paul’s man-of-the-match goes to Luke McDonald who linked and ran things in the middle and started a number of our attacks, whilst being there with a foot in when Stone had the ball.

Next up is G.N.G Oadby Town at Compton Park on Saturday and we need to find our scoring boots if we are to end this winless start to the season.

Wishing all the best to Stone Old Alleynians in the next round at Wolverhampton Casuals and in their league campaign, nice bunch of people running the club and friendly bunch of supporters.


Stone OA; 1. Mawgan Blight 2. Joe Baxter 3. Oliver Davies 4. Sam Bradbury 5. Ryan Goodwin 6. Josh Sedgley 7. Alex Cimino (sub 17. Josh Watters 71) 8. Will Bailey 9. Matt Thomas © 10. Sam Wilson 11. Oliver Boote (sub 14. Tom Harley 74). Subs not used; 12. Ben Wheaver 13. Jayden Shepherd 15. Morgan Russell 16. Dylan Young 18. Jack Bowater.

Cooks; 1. Regan Saunt 2. Alex Parkes 3. Kodi Briggs 4. Mitch White 5. Luca Purse 6. Ben Gough © 7. Louis Barrett (sub 17. Archie Elmore 68) 8. Luke McDonald 9. Pharrell Anderson 10. Jessi Obeng (sub 20. Luke Andrews 78) 11. Josh Adams (sub 16. Owen Brooks 68). Subs not used; 12. Harley Mallard 14. Dylan Carlin 15. Lewis Green.

Referee; Ben Stott

Assts; Adrian Hall & Ryan Grandison

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