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It was all change in the summer at Compton Park as Chairman Nigel Wagstaff opted to part with last season’s manager Darren Long and bring in Scott ‘Biffa’ Carlin, a vastly experienced coach and former local player who had begun his playing career at Northampton after being spotted player youth football in his home city of Newcastle. Biff had spent the previous ten seasons as part of the AFC Rushden & Diamonds coaching team but has plenty of experience of the UCL as a player and manager. He brought Andy Batty with him as his assistant and Ryan Farmer as coach, the latter originally working alongside Long’s assistant manager Steve Ganley, but he was to depart before pre-season had ended and joined Mitch Austin’s Harborough Town as a coach.

Biff retained the services of a few of last season’s squad, but most opted to look for pastures new meaning a major rebuild on the field. Paddy Cichosz was named club captain, joining Will Bates, Jessi Obeng, Luca Iaciofano, Josh Adams and Archie Elmore on the ‘retained’ list, but players from the AFC Rushden & Diamonds U23 squad based at Moulton College would make up the backbone of the new squad. The college boys originally included Regan Saunt, Kodi Briggs, Alex Parkes, Ben Gough, Mitch White, Pharrell Anderson, Callum Farmer, Harley Mallard, Owen Brooks, Lewis Green and Dylan Carlin. There were other signings too with Louis Barrett moving across from Wellingborough Town, while three players moved up from the Northants Combination to try their luck at a higher grade. Luke McDonald joined after a successful season for Roade in the Premier, while powerful centre-half Brad Marshall came from Division One side Corby Strip Mills and Louis Martin from David Green United who played even further down the pyramid.

New signings in place and settling in, the first competitive game of the new era saw Biff’s former club AFC Rushden & Diamonds come to Compton Park in the first round of the Northants F.A Hillier Senior Cup as the competition began before the league season started for the first time. The Cooks fell behind in the game, but Parkes fired home the first goal of the season to take the tie to penalties which saw both teams net their first five kicks, but it was the Step 3 club who held their nerve when the game went to sudden death and it was Diamonds who won 6-5 on penalties, However, this wasn’t to prove the end of matters as the visitors had played a player who hadn’t received international clearance after playing in Portugal and the Cooks would later be reinstated in the competition.

Elmore scored the Cooks first goal of the league season when he converted from the penalty spot at Rugby Town, but the home side eventually ran out 2-1 winners, then a tight affair at home to Bugbrooke St Michaels ended in a narrow defeat with the goal coming after the Cooks had been reduced to ten men following a second yellow card for Marshall. The F.A Cup brought Stone Old Alleynians to the village and Obeng opened his seasonal account, but a 1-1 draw meant a long trip to Stoke-on-Trent for the replay on Tuesday night. Stone netted early on, but the Cooks had much the better of the rest of the game with Anderson only denied a goal by the fact that the home side hadn’t mowed the grass for quite a while, but White smashed home an equaliser from outside the box, A mistake at the back saw Stone OA retake the lead late on, very much against the run of play, before a late red card for goalscorer White meant it was a long trip back home for the Cooks.

GNG Oadby Town were next up in the league and the Cooks picked up their first point of the season in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Compton Park. Bates netted twice in the game and Obeng netting the other, with the latest signing Ashraf Masumbuko coming off the bench to make his debut after signing from MK Irish, but was only to stick around for a few weeks as he failed to nail down a starting place and was to move to Desborough Town for another brief stint before finally settling in at Rushden & Higham United. Going the other way was Elmore who played his final game for the Cooks after coming off the bench as he signed for Wellingborough Town, but his stay there was another short one and we were to see him later in the season lining up for Desborough.

The first win under Biff’s reign came at Rothwell Corinthians with second half goals from Obeng and Anderson earning the points, then the two teams met again the following Saturday as Cogenhoe played hosts in the F.A Vase. This one ended 3-2 in the Cooks favour, although that probably flattered the visitors somewhat as Cooks found their stride. An own goal, Obeng and a debut goal from another Diamonds U23 player Josh Jones enough to put us into the draw for the next round. An Anderson penalty put us in front at Eynesbury, but we were pegged back from a free-kick before the break and had to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw, then we grabbed our second league win with an excellent 2-1 victory in a tough game at Coventry United. Gough’s looping header set us on the way and Obeng doubled our advantage late on. The home side pulled one back in stoppage time, but an excellent defensive display had earned the Cooks all three points on the road.

A rainy night in Fenny Stratford followed and we were treated to an incredible first 45 minutes that produced seven goals. But it was MK Irish who were celebrating at the end as they triumphed 5-4. Obeng (2), McDonald and Jones were the men on target for the Cooks as the game went 0-1.2-1, 2-3, 4-3 before the break. The Cooks pulled themselves level again midway through the second half, but a late penalty meant the home side took all three points from the game. This was Iaciofano’s last game for Cogenhoe as the youngster opted to join his old gaffer Long at Moulton, whilst we had also lost the services of Brooks as he decided to spend his Saturday’s away from a football pitch. After the defensive nightmare in MK, the Cooks had the perfect chance to right those wrongs when they hosted Long Buckby, one of only two teams below us in the table at the time, but it wasn’t to be as the visitors won 2-0 with both goals coming late in the first half. Harry Waple-Moors scored the second goal and he and teammate Bruce Tsinosis were to play a much bigger part in this review, but not for a few months yet.

The Cooks were able to take a break from their poor league form with a home tie in the F.A Vase against Raunds Town, the team bottom of the SSML D1 who had been hammered 9-1 at Real Bedford the previous Tuesday night. The Shopmates were under new management now though and put up a spirited fight, but they fell short as goals from Will Bates and a Pharrell Anderson penalty in each half put the Cooks into the hat for the next round. A trip to Easington Sports saw two players make their Cooks debuts after signing on in midweek. Former Long Buckby keeper Ash Bodycote joined on loan from Rugby Town, while striker Jamie Hall made the move from Bugbrooke and both started. The Cooks totally dominated the first half but just couldn’t emphasise that with a goal and in the perfect example of a game of two halves, Sports were much the better team after the break with the only difference being they managed to net twice in quick succession to take the game 2-0. Rainworth MW came to Compton Park as we kicked off our KO Cup campaign against a team struggling in the division below and this time we made the perfect start as Hall netted his first goal for the club in the 2nd minute. It wasn’t until the second half until we made our superiority show though as Obeng took the edge off the nerves two minutes after the break, with Purse and Jones sealing a 4-0 victory. Konnor Dixon, another Diamonds U23 player, made his debut from the bench, but this was the first game we had played without Brad Marshall and Louis Martin after they both joined Daren Young at Burton Park Wanderers.

Diamonds clerical error in the first round meant Cogenhoe would face Desborough Town in the quarter-final of the county cup and it looked like we may be going out again when former Cooks player Dennis Nkrumah came off the bench to put the visitors ahead late on, but fellow sub Anderson took the tie to penalties with just four minutes remaining. Bodycote was the hero of the shoot-out saving no fewer than three spot-kicks to help his team progress 4-3 on pens. It was home again the following Saturday with a game against Lutterworth Town, another team to find things difficult in the league this season and the Cooks made good advantage of a strong wind to lead 3-1 at the break. Anderson opened the scoring and despite being pegged back, Obeng hit a late first-half brace to put the Cooks in control. The Swifts reduced the arrears nine minutes after the restart, but resilient defending looked to have earned the Cooks their first home win of the season, but their hopes were dashed when Jordan Small netted from a corner deep into stoppage time.

The Cooks had to put this disappointment behind them quickly as they travelled north to Hinckley AFC (or Barwell to be exact as our hosts don’t have their own ground) for a very tricky Vase tie against an inform team. Bodycote wasn’t available as a loan player, so Saunt returned between the sticks for what proved to be a controversial and unfortunate afternoon for the Cooks. An own goal gave Hinckley an early lead, but McDonald soon put us back level. The home side struck again, but Cogenhoe came back at them and should have equalised when the ball clearly hit the wheel behind the goal-line and came back into play, but neither the seemingly perfectly positioned assistant or the referee himself saw this and play was allowed to continue. As is often the case in these sorts of situations, Hinckley broke quickly and went 3-1 up with a miscued cross leaving the Cooks with a big hill to climb in the second half. Fair play to Hinckley though as they managed the game superbly after the break and even added a fourth late on with a break through the middle that saw a shot loop over Saunt after taking a heavy deflection off of a defender.

Another cup tie followed with West Bridgford heading to the village looking to cause an upset, but the Cooks were in no mood to show any mercy after recent events and stormed into a 3-0 lead with just 14 played. Hall set the ball rolling before both Briggs and Barrett opened their accounts for the Cooks. Aboubacar Sylla pulled one back before the break, but sub Adams finally sealed the tie with a stoppage time goal after coming on as a half-time sub. With just one defeat in four, the Cooks were looking like turning the corner and they finally ended their home duck with a 2-1 win over Godmanchester in a hard-fought game. Rovers centre-back Jon Hall headed into his own net to give the Cooks the lead, but he joined the band of merry players to score at both ends with an equaliser late on in the first-half. Purse’s powerful header from a corner put the Cooks back in front and this time they held firm to claim their first home win of the season in the league. Another plus from the game was the second half appearance of skipper Cichosz after a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.

A trip to our old friends Boston Town followed in the KO Cup and Biff had used his pull to bring in Paddy Casey who had recently opted to leave the Diamonds, while Reserve team keeper Ciaran Wells stepped up to make his first team debut. On the bench was former Stevenage youth teamer Jamie Snapes, another of Biff’s college boys. Obeng netted the only goal of the game with a cool finish 12 minutes from the end as we continued our upward trend in form. Carlin made two new signings before the trip to Newport Pagnell in defenders Tsinosis (mentioned previously in the Buckby defeat) and Kyle Ansell, a former Cobblers trainee who had been playing for Wellingborough Town for the last couple of seasons. Whether it was the large crowd that swayed things I don’t know, but the official didn’t have his greatest game if truth be told with the home side being awarded three penalties along with a number of dubious calls. Bodycote saved the first from Albie Hall, but was beaten by the same player from the spot shortly afterwards. Bates stooped low to net a great header three minutes later and that is how it stayed into the break. Ben Ford netted a good goal to put the home side back in front and despite the fact that they were reduced to ten men, they managed to thwart the Cooks attack and added a third four minutes into stoppage time when Kieron Barnes converted the Swans third penalty of the game. It had been an excellent effort from the Cooks who had been without ALL the College boys who had played the day before and it was good to see young Reserve team player Kieron Mobbs coming off the bench to make his first team debut for the final quarter-of-an-hour. Sadly it was to be the last game for Casey as he moved back up a division to join St Ives Town after just two appearances for the Cooks.

Following on from the trip to third placed Newport came a home game against second from top Coventry Sphinx and despite a good performance from the Cooks that had seen them lead 2-0 at the break, it was the visitors who headed back up the M1 with the points. Goals from Bates and Anderson had seen the Cooks go into half-time feeling good and despite being pegged back to 2-2 a screamer from Bates had restored our advantage. Unfortunately, the lead only lasted for three minutes and when Louis Guest fired home late on it was a heartbreak moment for the young Cooks squad. The Cooks headed to GNG Oadby Town next for their first visit to the Riverside Football Ground in Leicester and with new signing from Wellingborough Town Kyle Ansell making his debut. It started really well for the Cooks who totally dominated the opening eight minutes before taking the lead through Obeng, but sadly the next 82 minutes were pretty poor from a Cooks point of view as the home side went on to win 3-1. This was also the first game for new coach Nathan Gaunt as he stepped in initially as cover for Andy Batty who was away on holiday but was too become a vital part of Biff’s backroom team, while substitute McDonald was making his final appearance for the Cooks as he opted to drop back down a couple of divisions to sign for Northants Combination Premier Division championship chasers Blisworth.

The weather now took over with frozen, snow covered and waterlogged pitches frustrating most of the teams in the league, but all was good by the time the Boxing Day clash with Wellingborough Town came around and a crowd of 148 watched on as The Doughboys snatched a last-minute equaliser. Bates was again on target with another great goal from outside the box in the first minute of the second half before both sides were reduced to ten men after Brett Solkhon had been dismissed, but the numbers were squared up again when Andrews saw red in the incident that led to the visitor’s goal. The Cooks had another debutant that day as Harry Waple-Moors came on in the second half. The Kettering Town U18s striker had made his mark at Compton Park earlier in the season when he netted for Long Buckby.

The bad weather returned meaning a three-week gap before we returned to action with our first ever trip to March Town United with three more debutants in defenders Bruce Tsinosis (another former Buckby player) and Perry Ronayne (from Kempston Rovers) who were joined by former Bugbrooke forward player Bailey Weatherly. The game was a tight one, but a single goal scored midway through the second half was enough to steal the points for the Hares. We were looking at another postponement, but Godmanchester took the wise decision to move their home game to St Ives Town and their 3G surface meaning game on. This was to be Will Bates final game for the Cooks as Wellingborough Town snapped him up the following week, but it started well for the Cooks with Anderson giving us an early lead, but Matty Allan levelled things up for the home side. Ansell twice hit the bar with free-kicks in the second half, but it ended 1-1. A solid performance at home to leaders Rugby Town earned us nothing as the visitors took the points 2-1, Hall having equalised for the Cooks just before the break, but for once finishing wasn’t a problem as completed the double over Coventry United with a superb 4-1 win at Compton Park. Obeng broke the deadlock inside the first minute and Weatherly got his first Cogenhoe goal five minutes later. Coventry pulled one back, but Parkes made it 3-1 in the last minute of the first half. Obeng put the icing on the cake with his second of the afternoon on the hour to give the Cooks a good confidence booster before Tuesday night’s NFA cup semi-final at home to Kettering Town. The first half wasn’t memorable in the slightest as we showed the styep two side a little too much respect, but the Cooks dominated the second and should really have won it in the ninety minutes, but it was to end goalless and we moved on to penalties. The Cooks netted all four of the ones they had to take and Bodycote again stood his ground as the {Poppies were dispatched 4-1 on spot-kicks. It ended 1-1 and ten aside at home to March Town United with the draw being the fair outcome on the day. Jack Friend had given the Hares the half-time lead, but sub Anderson’s effort was enough to earn the Cooks a point. Weatherly was the Cooks man to see red for a second yellow card, while Tyler Knowles was shown a straight red for the visitors.

Up next was a home game with in-form Eynesbury Rovers, but the Cooks put in a very good performance to pick up their second home win in the league as goals from Cichosz and Obeng put the Cooks two-up. They conceded a goal though and Purse stupidly got himself sent off in the aftermath, but the Cooks saw out the final few minutes with ten men to win the day. Another debutant came off the bench in this game as ex-Bugbrooke midfielder Dalton Leon made his Cooks bow. The KO Cup quarter-final saw the Cooks travel to play their old friends Deeping Rangers at Outgang Road, but it turned out to be a pretty dire affair that only really came to life late on. With Bodycote cup-tied, Stamford keeper Ben Heath (who had signed on dual-registration a few months earlier but hadn’t featured) donned the gloves. The home team took the lead around the hour mark, but Obeng stepped up to level late on and take the tie to penalties where the home team progressed 5-4 after scoring all their spot-kicks.

Biff was still busy off the field and his latest two signing were both to feature in the trip to Lutterworth Town with Kettering Town’s George Herbert starting in midfield (it was to be his only game for the Cooks as he moved to ON Chenecks and then Sileby Rangers the following week), while Cobblers youngster Tommy Curry came off the bench to give us a glimpse of what he had to offer, but it was a woeful performance overall that saw the home side boost their hopes of avoiding relegation with a 2-0 win. The midweek defeat in Leicestershire meant the trip to bottom club Long Buckby was another real six-pointer and despite a little blip late in the first half, the Cooks were devastating on the day and relieved their relegation fears with an incredible 8-2 away win. Waple-Moors and Curry had both opened their accounts for the club, but Buckby stunned us with goals from Charlie Whiteside (penalty) on 39 minutes and former Cooks player Emmanuel Gbejuade (44), but we still went into the break in the lead as Curry went straight down the other end to net his second. Obeng extended the lead early in the second half and Curry completed his hat-trick on his full-debut. The Cooks were now looking dangerous every time they went into the Buckby half and Barrett came off the bench to net twice, with Obeng getting his second to take the tally up to eight.

The UCL had one of their specials for us next as we hosted Histon on the Tuesday night and then travelled to their place four days later. The home game saw the Cooks finish with ten men after the harsh second booking for Weatherly, but the visitors were fully deserving of their 3-0 win on the day. Part two was looking like it was going to be a reverse of the first game as early goals from Gough and Barrett put the Cooks two goals up, but the sending-off of skipper Cichosz left us up against it once again and the Stutes hit back to earn a 2-2 draw with the equaliser coming in stoppage time. A home game against Newport Pagnell Town ended in defeat as Lawless and Watkinson were joined on the scoresheet by Ronayne’s 30-yard own goal. Debutant Ethan Lack, a former Cobblers youth team player who joined on loan from Kings Lynn Town, pulled one back with a header eleven minutes from time and a strong finish from the Cooks saw them throw everything at Martin Conway, but the Swans held on to win 3-1. A vital 1-0 home win over Easington followed with stand-in skipper Purse heading the winner on 56 minutes to give his side a deserved three points. By this point we had lost the services of Ansell who had been lured away by SSML D1 promotion chasers Rugby Borough whose checkbook is somewhat bigger than ourselves.

Two away defeats followed as Rico Duggan’s 87th minute goal gave Desborough Town a 1-0 win, whilst a trip to championship favourites Coventry Sphinx under their lights couldn’t have started much worse as we turned up in our grey away kit to play a team wearing sky and white, so telling the players apart was extremely hard to do, then Dylan Parker kept up his impressive record of scoring against the Cooks with the just three minutes on the clock. Callum Whiteside headed a second on 18 a few minutes after they had hit the bar and fears of a cricket score must have been going through the Cooks minds. It stayed at 2-0 at the break and the Cooks were a transformed team after the break and dominated proceedings, but sadly couldn’t make the breakthrough they so desperately needed and the late red card to Waple-Moors made the evening even more miserable for the Cooks. This was also to be the last time we saw Josh Adams in a Cooks shirt as he was to depart after the game. Desborough travelled to Compton Park just ten days after they had beaten us with a late goal at Waterworks Field and they topped the form tables at the time, but the team-of-the-month weight was very much on their shoulders and the Cooks deservedly beat them 3-2. It didn’t look good when Courtney Lashley lashed one home from outside the box on 5 minutes and they doubled their advantage four minutes shy of the hour. A purple patch swung the game in Cogenhoe’s favour though as Barrett, Gough and Hall bagged three goals in the space of ten minutes to give the comeback Cooks a great win.

We got our revenge over Bugbrooke too the following Saturday as Anderson’s second minute goal was enough to beat the Badgers on their own patch and this was followed up by a very good point at Wellingborough on Easter Monday, pretty much ending the promotion hopes of our local rivals. Former Cooks player Jack Bowen had headed the Doughboys in front early in the second half but Lack followed up to net after the penalty he had won himself had been saved. MK Irish ended our unbeaten run thanks to a late goal, a far cry from the nine-goal thriller in Fenny earlier in the season, but there may well have been an element of the Cooks players minds being elsewhere as our next game was at Sixfields Stadium as we took on Peterborough Sports in the N.F.A Hillier Senior Cup Final. We were staunch underdogs in this one with our opponents playing at step two with a very strong squad to pick from and having secured their status for another season a few games previous, they put out their strongest team in a bid to win this competition for the second year running. They played some superb football on the big pitch, but we battled hard to give them very little and trailed by just one goal at the break. As the game rolled on, the pressure started to tell and two quick goals put the game beyond us and a late rally saw the Turbines take the tally up to six which was rather harsh on the Cooks, but that is football and it was a great night out for everyone concerned with the Cooks, with everyone proud of the achievements of this squad. The final game of the season saw us host already relegated Rothwell Corinthians and we went on to complete our second double of the season with a 3-0 win. We had most of the attacking play but lacked that ruthless edge in their box and didn’t take the lead until the hour mark through Weatherly who was subbed off before play restarted with his replacement Waple-Moors then netting twice to finish off the season on a high.


A 12th place finish in the league, exactly the same as last season, but after flirting with the relegation zone for the first few months, it was good to end up closer to a top seven finish than the second from bottom place points-wise. It was the cups where we seemed to save some our best football for though with a cup final and a penalty shoot-out defeat away from another semi-final a decent showing from a very young squad, many of which were playing their first season in men’s football.


Jessi Obeng topped the scoring charts with 17, with Pharrell Anderson getting 9 and Bates in third with 7. Louis Barrett topped the appearances with 45, Jessi Obeng 42 and Pharrell Anderson third on 41. In fourth spot came utility man Alex Parkes on 38 with the latter filling in in numerous positions during the season, something which wasn’t unnoticed and appreciated by myself.

Full list of 2022/23 Appearances and goal scorers from all competitions below.




Full list of games played in all competitions listed below.


UCL PREMIER SOUTH 34 10 8 16 53 58 -5 38
FA CUP 2 0 1 1 2 3    
FA VASE 3 2 0 1 6 6    
NFA SENIOR CUP 4 0 3 1 2 8    
LEAGUE KO CUP 4 3 1 0 10 2    
TOTAL 47 15 13 19 73 77    



Player of the Month awards;


August – Ben Gough

September – Jessi Obeng

October – Luke McDonald

November – Luca Purse

December – Will Bates

January – Kyle Ansell

February – Perry Ronayne

March – Ash Bodycote

April – Alex Parkes


End of season Awards;

Supporters player of the season – Ash Bodycote

Players-player of the season – Ash Bodycote

Manager’s player of the season – Jessi Obeng.

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